Finocchiona

An Italian pork and fennel salame from the Tuscan region. According to legend, it was invented when a thief stole a salami and hid it in a fennel field. When he returned to retrieve his sausagey swag, he found that the fennel had flavoured it beautifully. Probably not true, but a nice story nonetheless. Anyway, onto the sausages.

Ingredients

  • 1000g trimmed pork shoulder
  • 400g cubed back fat
  • 35g salt (2.5%)
  • 4.3g Cure #2 (0.3%)
  • 3.75g BP (0.26)%
  • 6.25g dextrose (0.44)%
  • 7.5g fennel seeds (0.53)%
  • 2.5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6g T-SPX starter culture in 12ml distilled water
  • 75ml Chianti
  • Beef runners (about 3ft in length or so)

 

Method

Put the beef runners into a bowl of water to soak. Change the water every so often. It needs a minimum of a couple of hours.

Trim and cube the shoulder meat into roughly 1″ chunks, then stick it in the freezer to partially freeze along with the back fat.

Put the mincer blades and some bowls in the freezer to chill too.

Mix the starter culture (T-SPX in my case) with the lukewarm distilled water and set aside to get going.

Open another beer and relax for a while.

Once the meat’s partially frozen, grind the shoulder meat through the coarse blade into a cold mixing bowl, then add the ground (or diced) fat to it.

Add the rest of the ingredients (including the T-SPX mixture), then mix everything all together thoroughly. I used my hands because I don’t have a paddle mixer. Just make sure everything stays nice and cold. Once mixed put it back in the fridge while you sort out the stuffer.

Rinse the beef runners thoroughly through, inside and out. Don’t drop them down the plughole.

Stuff the meat mixture into the runners, tie the sausages off when they’re about 12-18″ long, I made 3

stuffed
Freshly stuffed

Prick them thoroughly all over with a sterilised pin or sausage pricker, especially anywhere you see air bubbles.

Label the sausages with the exact weight of each one, then transfer them to somewhere warm and humid to incubate for 36 hours. You want about 80% relative humidity and about 75 degrees F temperature for fermentation. This gives the starter culture a chance to get well established. I put my sausages into a small wine fridge which was switched off.

Once that’s done, transfer them to your drying chamber, which meticulously maintains 12-15C and 75% Relative humidity. Or thereabouts. They’re ready when they’ve lost about 30-35% in weight. If you’re like me, you’ll look in on them daily to see how they are, and weigh them a couple of times per week.

I also inoculated these with some mould I harvested from a French (olive and tomato) salami my mum had brought back from France.

To harvest the mould, I cut an inch square piece of the skin off, placed it into a bowl of luke warm, previously boiled distilled water, added a little sugar, and left it out on the kitchen worktop overnight, covered. I then put this solution into a spray bottle, and sprayed the sausages with it. After a week I was excited to see some mould growing:

mould starting
Mould starting to show
mould starting 2
another exciting mould shot
hanging out
After a few weeks it has covered everything 🙂

I pulled them out of the chamber at 35% weight loss, which took almost exactly a month, they felt right and smelled fabulously cheesy

Finocchiona mould
Look at that sexy mould
Finocchiona slicing
Very pleased with the way these turned out
Finocchiona sliced
Keeping everything near freezing helped to reduce fat smearing
Finocchiona sliced
Finocchiona sliced
Finocchiona sliced
Finocchiona sliced

Overall I’m very pleased with these as they look the part and more importantly, they’re delicious. They have a little sour twang, with a hint of cheesy-ness, and when you crunch a fennel seed it’s perfect. Next time I think I might drop the fat percentage a touch, and increase the fennel a little. Otherwise they’re just what I was after. 10/10 will make again.

 

 

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