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'Each family has their own secret ingredient'07-09-2011
Teresa Oates, author of Mangia! Mangia!, recently hosted our Homemade Calabrian Salami & Sausages public workshop and shared recipes passed down through generations of her Calabrian family. The secret ingredient? Home-grown red peppers slow roasted, peeled and puréed to a bright red paste. Workshop participants ranged in age and experience; some had never made sausages before, others had and were looking for expert tips to improve their results.
Teresa wrote Mangia! Mangia! with good friend Angela Villella in an effort to preserve the unwritten recipes of their migrant Italian families. They spent many years sourcing the recipes from their food-wise elders to ensure traditional family recipes and methods are recorded for generations to come. Teresa spoke of time spent in the kitchen with her mother working out exactly how much salt is ‘just enough' and what ‘until it feels right' really means.
The whole group went through the process of sausage making, from breaking down an 8 kg piece of pork leg, mincing with various types of machinery, adding spices and flavourings, filling the casings and finally the cooking techniques. Throughout the process she shared lots of tips and troubleshooting tricks including:
- the ideal coarseness of the mince
- tying techniques (and what to do if the casing splits)
- how to control mould on curing salamis (with red wine of course!)
- smoking sausages to cure them in warmer climates
- storage of salamis once cured
- recipe ideas for fresh sausages and cured salami.
We used a range of machinery, from a domestic muscle-powered mincer to an industrial-style mincing machine and filler. This demonstrated the advantage of industrial machinery but also that it's all possible to make sausages from scratch at home with a bit of dedication and elbow grease! Teresa chatted about the various cuts of meat to use and the best coarseness for the ideal salami and sausages.
Throughout the morning one of the highlights was Teresa sharing stories of her family's sausage-making traditions - spending the whole day cooking in the garage with the extended family ... each person with their own very important role to play ... sneaking taste tests when mum wasn't looking ...
Participants helped create a traditional Calabrian salami and three different types of fresh sausage: red wine & black pepper, cider & fresh apple and a spiced chilli mix with her family's secret ingredient - capsicum purée! The sausages were then cooked up and enjoyed in true Calabrian style with plenty of bread, a glass of wine, roasted capsicum and a fennel & orange salad. Bellissimo!
Teresa is hosting two more public workshops at our Learning Centre this year - An Italian Spring Feast and Southern Italian Sweets. We look forward to welcoming her back to learn more about traditional Calabrian cooking, enjoy some delicious Italian treats and hear more wonderful family stories!
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