Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Top: Toulouse style sausage. Middle (longer sausages): Azorean linguiça

Normally, the linguiça should hang long enough to dry out - but a nice long grill time at low heat on the barbecue works fine, especially since I really don't have any place other than the refrigerator for curing sausages safely.

The Azorean linguiça, once dried out on the grill, had the right flavor. It was smoky, spicy and porky, yet not greasy. In the Azores, apparently the sausages would be fried in pork fat of an unknown depth - but they would start out a lot drier, too. These sausages really don't taste like store bought linguiça - they're not as greasy, and the wine gives them a different flavor profile.

The Toulouse style sausage was from a recipe I brought back from France that omits garlic. To keep things interesting, it uses quatre épices, wine and Armagnac mixed with herbes de Provence.

So, in case you want to try these things at home, here are the notes on how to prepare them.

Azorean Linguiça
  • pork shoulder (actually, the upper part of the leg), fat trimmed off and cut into 1/4' - 1/2" cubes.
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • cumin to taste
  • malagueta pepper to taste (you can substitute cayenne, or in my case Aleppo).
  • red wine, a liberal dose. You can use cheap stuff; just taste the wine first to make sure it's drinkable.
  • if it's not acidic enough, you can add vinegar or some juice from the malagueta pepper bottle.
  1. Combine all the ingredients and let marinate three days.
  2. Make a small patty with the meat and fry. Adjust seasoning for best taste. Repeat until you say, "Wow! This tastes great, but a little bit salty."
  3. Stuff the mixture into pork sausage casings. The sausages should be about 30 cm (12") long for authenticity - although I prefer 6" or so links. I used a heavy pastry bag and a sausage funnel for this, although the traditional method uses some quick thumb work.
  4. Smoke the sausages - preferably with hot smoke, so they dehydrate and cook during the smoking process. Cold smoke works, but you will need to cure or grill the sausages to dehydrate them. These were smoked for about three hours - that was enough to give them a nice strong smoky flavor. More smoke might have been too much, and turned them bitter. Info on the smoker here. This smoke from this device is not hot enough to cook the sausages - it's just for giving them flavor.
  5. If you're being traditional, render the fat out of the trimmings and fry the sausages in it. If not, grill them over low heat so they dry out without burning. 
Toulouse Style Sausages
  1. pork shoulder, same as for the linguiça. Cut into 1" cubes and chill.
  2. mix wine (white preferred, but red works) and Armagnac into the meat - about a cup of wine and a good dose of Armagnac.
  3. Add a decent pinch of quatre épices
  4. Add herbes de Provence - or fresh thyme
  5. Salt, pepper to taste
  1. Grind or process in small batches in a food processor with quick pulses so as not to purée the meat. 
  2. Make a small patty with the meat and fry. Adjust seasoning for best taste. 
  3. Stuff the filling into pork casings, hang to dry (cure) in the refrigerator for a day or two.
  4. Grill the sausages.

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