We have been looking forward to making Chorizo for some time, inspired by Rich Stein’s programmes and latterly by a laid back approach to the art from Mark Sargeant on Saturday Kitchen. The final catalyst was a call from Mike at Coppice House Farm who rang to say he had some excellent Glouster Old Spot reared in the Rivelin Valley. We took a whole piece of shoulder which Mike had boned and rolled and the stage was set.
As with a lot of things, especially Mark’s recipe, it all seemed very simple on the surface. However, experience has taught us that an interesting adventure would lurk not far below the surface of this endeavour!
Although we have a good commercial mincer I bought a small mincer with sausage making attachement from sausagemaking.org from whom we also purchased natural casings. I love the “lingo” attached to these things. The invoice description for the casings was, “Hog Casings – Amount: Hog casings Quarter Hank (25 Yards) £6.90. At 9p a foot this did’nt sound too bad.
As we discovered there are many nuances of skill and conditions required and once you start delving into the topic its fascinating to learn more about the art.
Doing the deed.
We followed Mark’s recipe quite closely except for one deviation which in hindsight could be quite significant. This was by substituting Moss Valley streaky bacon in place of the pork back fat. The changing of the balance of salt having done this may become a factor in the drying and curing process. After mincing we simply added all the other ingredients and gave it all a good massage by hand. Now for the fun bit as the new mincer with sausage making tube attachment was brought into play. The hog casings were unfurled onto the tube after an appropriate soaking in water – once we got used to using them it this was quite simple. Not so simple was the filling as you can see by our all fingers and thumbs approach below:
Once filled into suitable lengths we knotted the ends and stood back to admire our work. Being typical first timers we then started to ponder where we would leave the chorizo to cure. Mark Sargeant’s receipe said simply leave in a cool dry place, in fact he had said he hangs them up in front of a window at his home – must have a more understanding wife than me! This not being an option I then thought of Reece at The Urban Pantry. True to form as a devoted foodie Reece was very happy to loan his cellar so sausages and cloths horse in hand I hung them under his Crookes shop.
Now starts a waiting game of a minimum of a month according to Mr Sargeant. As I write we are one week in and we have news from Reece that a mould is appearing – this is of some concern and definetely starts the more detailed understanding of the art involved. Initial research is starting to take in the need to understand humidity, air flows and temperature and whether acidic washes or brine washes are required. Welcome to the start of the learning curve. We will keep you up-dated.
Coincidentally we had the pleasure of meeting Mark Woodward and his wide Sarah at Green Diections yesterday. Their farm as well as being an inspiring venue for weddings and conferences uses wind power and ground heat to save 20 tonnes of carbon a year in addition to their livestock and food growing. In a brief chat Mark told us that he makes a whole range of charcuterie including chorizo from his Tamworth pigs. We look forward to learning more and hopefully getting the opportunity to visit again and learn more from Mark.
Green Directions taken from across the valley