Early last month, rumour was that Zehrs had pork leg and shoulder on sale. Not many people would get excited about this type of thing, but I rang up my mom from work and let her know it was sausage making time.
We headed over to Zehrs and stood in line with the dozens of other Italians, Croatians, Polish and every other cultural group who heard about the deal through the grapevine. Some said it was too warm outside to cure the meat, that you need cold dry air to make it work. Others were giving us tips and tricks on what types of seasonings they used or how they went through the process. It was kinda like this weird camaraderie of sausage making people from all over the world.
Now it’s not very often that my family gets into the whole sausage making ordeal but once in awhile we like to get (as I like to say) “a little ethnic”. If you’ve never bought an entire leg of pork before, let me tell you, it requires a strong stomach to cut that thing up. But never the less, I did it, and just put myself in a happy place so I wouldn’t be traumatized for life. I have enough of those types of memories from childhood that could keep me in counselling for life, don’t need to be adding another one to the mix.
Once the hard part was over, we ground up the meat and added our spices. Everyone adds something a little different to their recipe. This time around we added wine, orange zest, fennel, garlic, black pepper and for half of them chilies to give it a little kick. After that you put them in the casings and string them up in a cold cellar.
Five weeks later, they’re dry and jarred and we now have enough sausage to last us at least a year!
This year we also decided to make prosciuttini, which are smaller versions of prosciutto.
Those won’t be ready until at least mid-summer. So until then we have frozen and dried sausages that we use for everything from antipasto to flavouring pasta sauce.