Well, it's New Years, or it was just last week, so of course I had to make cotechino, the traditional Italian New Years sausage. I've made it before, and iIreally didn't change the formulation much, but i did make some changes to the process.
|Ingredient||Quantity(g)||% of Meat+Fat+Skin|
|Pork shoulder meat||745||35|
|Pork belly (about 60/40 fat/lean)||745||35|
|Pork Skin (fatless)||625||29|
|Black pepper (cracked large)||3||0.14|
|White pepper (ground fine)||3||0.14|
As you can see the formula is nearly the same as last years. I increased the pepper and a few spices just a little, and decreased the salt. Last year I cooked the cotechino in a vacuum bag, and it was just a little salty. Since this year I would be doing the same, I decreased the salt a touch.
I read somewhere that someone recommended cutting the meat into strips when grinding instead of in chunks. This makes it easier for the grinder to "pull" the meat through the auger. It also makes for less work cutting the meat, so hey, i'll try it!
Belly and shoulder cut into strips.
Closeup of belly and meat. Why? Because everyone loves pork belly!
The meat and belly were ground through the large die on the Kitchenaid grinder, 1/4".
The skin was cleaned of fat and cut into strips as well. This year i only boiled it for about 5-8 minutes, versus the 20 last year, and it was plenty soft for the grinder.
I ground the skin alone through the small Kitchenaid die, which is 3/16".
Here you can see the skin ground through the 3/16" die, and the belly and meat through the 1/4" die.
The spice mixture.
The spice mixture was mixed with the ground meats and skin. I did this by hand as the mixture didn't it in my Kitchenaid bowl. If you do this, make sure not to overmix and cause the fat to smear. Mix it enough to be sure you have good spice distribution.
I put this mixture in the freezer to re-chill it for about 30 minutes.
I then reground the mixture through the 1/4" die.
Closeup of the reground mixture. I wanted to see if I would get a nicer texture by grinding twice, with better dispersion of the fat, less chunky, so to speak.
I ran out of casings, so instead i used plastic wrap, shaped it like a log, and wrapped it tightly. Seemed to work fine, especially because it was cooked in a vacuum bag.
Cotechino, served with lentils, New Year's Eve. Very tasty. I didn't cook it long enough though. I cooked it for 2 hours at 200 degrees, it needed at least another 1 hour to properly melt all the skin into gelatin. I think it needed more time because it was a much larger diameter than my regular cased ones.
Still, very tasty though. Flavors and salt were right on.