Cotechino

Makes 2kg of sausages

If you haven't already got Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Meat Book, then go out and get it. Even if you don't use the recipes for curing, even if you don't cook, it is a good read and could inspire you to start living the self-sufficient good life.

Cotechino is a large, rich Italian pork sausage made with as much rind and fat as lean meat. You cook it by boiling, and it's usually served in slices with lentils. As Hugh says, the factory-made cotechinos are generally pretty good but, if you're the have-a-go type, they're not that difficult to make. This recipe comes via Hugh from the legendary Mauro Bregoli. When he owned the Manor House in Romsey, Hampshire, he was a guru for gastronomes who wanted to get stuck into the Italian way of finding, making, cooking and eating food. Mauro was a mushroom gatherer and a master of the art of Italian sausage making.

For your cotechino, choose casings according to the shape you want your sausage to be. Ox middle casings (5-10cm wide) for a salami style cotechino so you get slices, or ox bung (about 15cm) for a haggis style sausage, if you want wedges. You'll also need butcher's string.

1kg fairly lean pork shoulder
400g back fat or fatty pork belly
600g pork rind
50g fine salt
10g saltpetre (optional)
1 glass of red wine
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
A good pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
A good pinch of ground mace
1/2tsp dried thyme
4 dried bay leaves, ground up

First soak the casings for about an hour in a large bowl of water, then rinse them thoroughly to get rid of the salt and run the tap through their insides to flush them clean.

Ideally, you should finely dice the meat and fat by hand into petit-pois-sized cubes. If not, mince it coarsely or get the butcher to mince it for you. The pork rind must also be finely chopped by hand as a food processor probably couldn't cope with it. Now combine the chopped and minced meat with all the ingredients in a large basin, mixing thoroughly with your hands.

Using a sausage machine or food-mixer attachment - or, if you have neither of these, by forcing the meat through a funnel - fill the skins until you have sausages about 25cm long, tightly packed. Double knot your cotechino at either end with the butcher's string, then hang it in a dry, airy place, such as a draughty outbuilding or covered porch. Or the fridge, if yours happens to be big enough. Make sure they don't touch each other. They are good for boiling any time after about 5 days but perhaps at their best at around 15-20 days. By about 40 days they will be pretty dry and hard. If you want to keep them any longer, wrap them in clingfilm and refrigerate for another month or so. To keep them for longer still, freeze them.

To cook a cotechino, completely immerse the sausage in a pan of fresh, cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer thin ones (stuffed middles) gently for about 11/2 hours or 21/2 hours for fat ones (stuffed bung). Cut into thick slices and serve with the sauce.

for the sauce

2 large or 4 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped thyme leaves
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1tbsp olive oil
250g cannellini beans or similar, cooked
500ml chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently cook the shallots, garlic, thyme and carrot with the bay leaf in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes without colouring, giving the occasional stir. Add the cannellini beans and chicken stock, bring to the boil, season and simmer on a medium heat until almost all the stock has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'