Saucisson Sec de Campagne

A matured saucisson sec is one of the most delicious examples of French charcuterie. Farmers’ wives still produce these salami-type sausages in country districts. A friend who makes them several times a year stores the sausages in wood ash until they are ready to eat. When a small notice appears on the corner of the farmhouse telling you they are for sale, I dash across to buy one straight away. They travel well for picnics, but are also good served thinly sliced as an hors d’oeuvre with olives.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg( lb) lean shoulder of pork
  • 340 g(12 oz) hard back fat
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon quatre-épices
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon saltpetre
  • about ½ m(20 in) large intestine

Method

Mince the meat, dice the fat finely and mix with the meat, garlic, salt, peppercorns, quatre-épices, saltpetre and sugar. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix everything together well for 4–5 minutes so that the spices flavour the meat.

Test-fry a teaspoonful if you wish to check the taste; this sausage should be highly seasoned.

Attach one end of the intestine to a tap and rinse out well with warm water. Tie one end with string and fill the casing with the pork mixture, using a wide funnel and a rammer, packing the meat in tightly. If you find any air pockets, prick the casing with a fine needle to release the air.

Tie both ends of each sausage with string. Hang the sausage in a dry place, with a constant temperature of 25°C (60°F), for 4 to 5 days. Move the sausages to a cool, dry place for 1–2 months. Then, if you wish, store the sausages in wood ash for a few days; finally brush off the dust and hang the sausages in a cool, airy place until you wish to eat them. Cut in very thin slices for serving.

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