The Latin root of the Spanish word for sausage (salchicha), is the key to the importance that these little tubes of rich, spicy meat have always held for Spanish people. The root sal comes from salus, which means salted. Sausages were traditionally made by families at the end of autumn when a pig was slaughtered, cut up (fat and all), mixed with salt and spices and stuffed into its own intestines, then hung from the rafters and dried. The salt in those sausages — a thirst-inducing 3 per cent — helped to stop bacteria from spoiling the meat. One by one, the salchichas were taken down and incorporated into cocidos and other stews with salted pork and dried legumes. These stews sustained the family through the long lean winter. As the sausages in this recipe are to be eaten fresh, we have reduced the salt from the original recipe by half.
Soak the sausage casing in fresh cold water for 12 hours, changing the water several times. When ready to fill, drain well.
Coarsely grind the pork shoulder and pork fat in a meat mincer or using the meat mincing attachment to a food processor. Tip into a large bowl, add the salt, sugar, peppercorns and
Slide one open end of the sausage casing onto the nozzle of the sausage attachment of a food processor. Alternatively, use a sausage pump or commercial pastry bag. Tie off the opposite end of the casing with kitchen string, as you would tie off a balloon, then fill the casing with the sausage mix. Make sure the skin is not too tight or the sausage will burst when it is tied off. Carefully pull the sausage casing off the filling tube and tie off that end. Twist into
Cook within several days of making, or put the sausages in plastic bags and freeze for up to 1 month.
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