Making sausages

pork sausages

Pork sausages

INGREDIENTS (makes about 42 sausages):
2kg shoulder of pork (magro de cerdo)
500g belly pork (panceta)
400g rusk/sausage seasoning mix
600g water

Mince the meat and fat using a 5mm mincer blade.

Using your hands, work the fat well into the meat. Butchers say that you will need to work the mixture until your hands ache, then until your arms ache and then until your shoulders ache. This process is important, however, for the texture of the sausages.

Sprinkle over the rusk and seasoning mixture, add the water and continue working with your hands. At this stage, you can then pass the mixture through the mincer a second time to ensure a more uniform texture.

sausage meat mixture

Sausage meat mixture

If you are using natural casings, you will need to soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes and then run cold water through them to rinse them thoroughly. Once they are soft and pliable, feed them onto the mincing nozzle.

Fitting hog casings onto nozzle

Fitting hog casings onto nozzle

Make the sausages. It is easier to make one long sausage first and then form this into individual sausages later.

You can either link the sausages into groups of three to form a string of sausages or squeeze and twist each individual sausage. Spread out the sausages on a plastic tray in a single layer and freeze. Check after a couple of hours that they haven’t stuck together and then bag.

Finished pork sausages

Finished pork sausages

Pork stew

NOTE: If you are using dried butterbeans, you will have to soak them overnight. You can add any vegetable you have to this stew according to what’s in season (courgettes, carrots, aubergines, etc.).

NOTE: You should only start timing the stew once the pressure cooker has reached pressure.

INGREDIENTS (serves 6):
pork ribs, cut into pieces
4 or 5 medium potatoes: 2 grated, 3 cut into chunks
250g dried butter beans, soaked overnight
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic
2 green peppers, roughly chopped
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
a pinch of chilli pepper
olive oil
salt and pepper
stock or water

Heat some oil in a large pressure cooker and fry first the onions, then the green peppers and then your other vegetables until soft. Add the tomatoes and fry for another couple of minutes and before adding the pork and potatoes. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Cover well with water and bring to the boil. You will probably need about 1.2 – 1.5 litres of water/stock. The beans will absorb some of the water so it is important that you have enough liquid in the pan. If you bring the mixture to the boil before putting on the lid, you can see whether you need to any more liquid. Generally speaking, there needs to be about an inch of liquid above the level of the stew.

Cover the pan with the lid, engage the mechanism and bring to pressure.

Once the pan has reached pressure, cook for 30 minutes before turning off the gas.

You can either let it return to normal pressure or run it under the cold tap to lower the pressure quickly.

DO NOT OPEN THE LID UNTIL THERE IS NO LONGER ANY STEAM COMING FROM THE PAN.

White bean and potato stew: potaje de alubias blancas y patatas

One of the best things about Spain are the stews that cooks and chefs prepare. Each region has its speciality and while Madrid is famous for its cocido, Asturias has its fabada. This is one of my favourite types of dishes and a good substantial meal in itself in the winter months.

We ate this round at our neighbour’s house and I tried to replicate it a while later.

INGREDIENTS:
250g white beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes
green peppers, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely
leeks
a ham bone
a white knuckle bone
2 bay leaves
chorizo, sliced

Fry the green pepper in some oil in the pressure cooker until soft. Add the onion and leeks and fry for a further couple of minutes before adding the tomato.

Add the remaining ingredients and cover with plenty of water. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Close the lid and bring the pan up to pressure. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and boil for a further 10 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly.

Making morcilla de cebolla

 

morcilla4

Morcilla is Spanish black pudding made with onions. In Spain the killing of a pig is called the “matanza”. The usual thing to do immediately after the pig has been killed is to make some “embutidos” (sausages). The most common Spanish sausages are normally morcilla, chorizo and butifarra. In this post we are talking about morcilla. When a pig is killed it is normal to sever the blood vessels in the neck to allow the blood to escape. The heart keeps beating for a few seconds and it is possible to to collect the blood in a bowl.
The first few minutes are important in the processing of the blood. A pinch of salt added to the container to be used for collecting the blood will help stop the blood coagulating. You then need to very gently stir and squeeze the blood with your fingers until the fibrin forms together into a mesh after about 15 minutes. If you squeeze out and discard this clump of fibrin mesh, the blood can be kept in a container overnight and it will still be completely liquid the next day.

One pig will produce about 4 litres of blood. In order to make the black pudding, it is necessary to prepare 100kg of onions – two and a half 40kg sacks’ worth – and that’s one hell of a lot of onions. Luckily the onions you use are very big, not too strongly flavoured and perfect for morcilla. cebollas2The onions are peeled and then roughly chopped. It took about 4 hours to cook them once the cauldron had come to the boil. They needed to be stirred from time to time to stop them sticking to the bottom. cebollas1Once the onions are quite tender, they are put back into the sacks and drained overnight on racks with boards on top to get rid of any excess water. By the next day, they have changed colour completely and turned a dirty brown colour.

Now the fun begins.

The onions are finely chopped in a food processor. The first time we used the Magimix but were slowed down by having to stop and empty it after each batch so for the second one we used the coarse mincing blade on the Kenwood Chef. This was perfect and as you could leave it running, it didn’t take nearly as long.

The chopped onions are put back into the empty cauldron and then the other ingredients are added.

morcilla1 large loaf of bread “pan de hogaza”, thickly sliced
3 handfuls of cloves of garlic, peeled
2 plates of shelled almonds
1 string of dried red peppers

To prepare the ingredients for the morcilla, heat some oil in a large frying pan and then fry the slices of bread in batches until golden. Leave to cool and then break into pieces. Fry the red peppers in the same pan, cool and then tear into pieces. Fry the almonds in some oil in another frying pan. Remove to a plate and then fry the cloves of garlic.

Mince all of these cooked ingredients into the cauldron.

To buy the spices you need, you can assemble them yourself but it is by far easier to go to a specialised shop – a Casa de las Matanzas. There is one in the San Agustín market in Granada. All you need to do is tell them how many pigs you are killing and they will prepare the spices for you depending on whether you want to make morcilla or chorizo. A typical, traditional morcilla de cebolla spice mix includes oregano, aniseed, cinnamon, spicy paprika (or sweet paprika depending on what type you want to make), black pepper and cloves.

spicesYou then add the blood and mix well:

morcilla1For making morcilla, it’s best to use beef casing. These are stronger than the thinner hog  or sheep ones. Fill a bowl with cold water and squeeze some lemon juice in, adding the halves of lemon as well. Soak the casings until they are nice and soft and separate them out from each other. Run tap water through them. Cut into pieces and tie one end with a piece of cotton string. Hang each piece of casing over the side of the bowl so they can be easily picked up later.

The traditional embutidora or sausage filler is used to fill the black puddings.morcilla2

Each one is tied off at the other end …

morcilla2… and then pricked all the way through about 7 times with a thick needle so that they don’t burst or float when they are cooked:

morcilla3

They are then cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes. Again the cauldron was used and the morcilla were placed in the boiling water with their strings towards the outside of the pan so that they were easier to fish out. Each morcilla was then hung on a pole. They need to be dried for 24 hours before being put into the freezer and but can then be left to dry in a cool place for a couple of months until they are totally dry. This is a photo of them having dried for a day or two:

morcilla5