Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lucanian Ancient Roman Sausages

Our cooking club had an Ancient Roman Dinner, complete with Togas. My addition to the dinner was Lucanian Sausages. I used a Kitchen Aid Mixer with the meat grinder and sausage attachment. If you do not have the luxury of these appliances the meat can be ground in a food processor or finely minced by hand and the sausages can be hand stuffed using a pastry bag, though this method is not ideal. Natural casings were obtained at Hilo’s Sack n Save. We are fortunate to have a store that provides these casings, otherwise I would have had to order them online. My guess is that the large Portuguese population here uses a lot of casings for making sausage. Juniper berries can be found in the bulk spice section of most health food stores. They can also be sourced online. 

Lucanian Sausage Recipe 
This sausage was brought back to Rome by soldiers who had served in Lucania, located in the heel of southern Italy, probably around 200 B.C.

4 pounds pork shoulder cut in 1” cubes
½ cup of pine nuts
¼ cup black peppercorns
¼ cup pink pepper corns
3 tablespoons cumin seeds
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
30 bayberries or juniper berries (if available)
2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rue
2 teaspoons dried savory
1 tablespoon oregano
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup honey
sausage casings
  1. Grind meat using the large die on the grinder
  2. Toast pine nuts and set aside, be careful not to burn
  3. If you are using natural casings, they are preserved in salt and should be rinsed several times in water, including the inside. Do this by attaching the sausage filling ring to a length of sausage, then fill with water, then squeeze all of the water out. Then soak the casings in water for at least 20 minutes, finally rinse and place in a clean bowl.
  4. Toast the seeds, pepper corns and juniper berries, allow to cool
  5. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the seeds etc. to a rough consistency
  6. In a large bowl add the ground meat, the seeds, herbs, parsley, fish sauce, honey, salt and pepper.
  7. Using a 2-3 foot or so length of casing, push the casing over the sausage filling funnel on the sausage stuffer. Tie the end of the casing and secure with kitchen string. Have a large needle handy in case of air bubbles. If you get an air bubble, poke it. Run the machine on the #6 setting to fill the sausage. If you do not have a sausage stuffer, put a 1/2 inch plain tube in a piping bag and 1/2 fill with the mixture; do not put too much in at one time or it will be difficult to squeeze. Take the open end of the skin, pull it over the tube and push down repeatedly until the majority of the skin sits like a collar half way down the tube. Grip this with your finger and thumb and slowly release the skin as you squeeze the bag. Stop squeezing well before the skin runs out, leaving 2-3 inches of skin to allow for shrinkage. It will take some practice before you get this procedure right.
  8. I like to work with 2 foot sections of casing, filling it completely, but not too tightly, then twist each length of sausage into the size of sausage you want. In this case I was serving many people so I made smaller sausages. I also tied each twist off with kitchen twine because I was smoking the sausages and they have to hang for that.
  9. If you are able to smoke the sausages, tie them to the top rack and suspend in cool smoke for 5 hours. You can add a smoke box to a grill if you do not have a smoker. After smoking, grill the sausages briefly till the outsides are caramelized. 


Carolyn Jung said...

Love the togas! What a fun idea for a party. Those Romans sure were carnivores, too. ;)

Devany said...

Thanks Carolyn. We had to do a lot of research for this as we were limited to foods from 200 BC-400 BC!