Забележка: това блогиране е в отговор на въпрос в коментар, затова и е на английски. Предварително да уточня, че това не е точна и конкретна рецепта за луканка, а общи насоки в правенето на сушени колбаси от този тип. Ако ще коментирате, давайте на ингилизки, да не се налага да превеждам! Мерси.
Mary-Anne, this is a reply to the question you posted as a comment to another post.
There are plenty of different ways to make lukanka (and all the similar sausages, like nadenitsa, sudzhuk, babek, dyado, sushenitsa etc). I’m going to give you some general guidelines and leave the rest to you. Experiment a lot with small batches, until you find a mix that suits your taste.
You need three basic ingredients:
- ground (minced) meat
- casing – something to fill with the meat
It is usually made of 60% pork and 40% beef (veal, preferably). You can choose the meat pieces yourself or rely on the butcher. The main property you should note is the amount of fat in the meat. Usually you’d have a very clear of fat veal and pork with some fat in it. Or, if you get a clear pork, you’ll have to add some fat to the mix.
The other thing is how finely the meat will be minced. Most machines have some kind of setting, which determines the size of the pieces in the ground meat after the mincing. The finer the meat – the more the sausage looks “factory-made”. Home-made sausages are usually made of larger pieced meat – some people even cut the meat by hand into tiny pieces, instead of mincing it with a machine. When you snap (break in two) a sausage, the finer one will show almost even inner surface, while the other should have coarser structure and look more “organic”. But that’s entirely to your preference. Minced meat suitable for meat balls should be a nice start.
How much meat do you need? Well, usually, an average sausage should use up to 300 grams of minced meat. During the drying process, it will loose some of that weight. A nice amount for starters is 1 kg of minced meat, which will allow you to make, say, four differently spiced sausages.
The spices may vary a lot in different recipes. Some families in the country have their own “secret” recipes and proportions. The most popular spices are: salt, cumin, black pepper (ground or as whole seeds), red pepper (hot (made of chillies) or sweet (made of paprika)), savory, garlic, nutmeg, coriander. Here’s a sample proportion:
- 1 kg minced meat
- 40-50 gr salt
- 5 gr sugar
- 3-5 gr ground black pepper or 20-30 whole seeds, crushed, not ground
- 3-5 gr cumin
- 3-5 gr savory
The sugar is used for preservation of the meat. You can also use potassium nitrate, but that’s up to you, as some people wouldn’t want any nitrates in their food. It’s still widely used as an additive (E252) in Bulgaria, though.
I suggest to try different combination spices in each of your first sausages, until you find a proportion you like. Write that down and name it, say “Hot and spicy”, “Salty sausage”, etc.
One thing to note: some people like to add the spices in the process of mincing the meat, while others add them after that and stir the meat to get an even distribution. I prefer the former method, but you have to have a pretty good idea of the proportions, as if you add too much salt or any other spice, it’s impossible to “fix” that later. So you may want to have your meat minced and then gradually add spices, until you hit a taste of your liking.
Originally, we use natural casings – animal intestines, usually from a pig. They have suitable properties – they stretch quite a bit without tearing, they are porous, which helps the drying process, and they add to the overall taste of the product. Also, they are edible, so if you want to toss the sausage on the BBQ, you don’t need to peel it. I imagine that would be harder to get in the States, so you might as well use a synthetic casings. It’s less likely you’ll get the same taste and it’ll probably need a bit more experimentation to get it right, however.
Once you fill the casing, tie tightly both ends and let it hang in a cool, dry place. You also have to punch a few holes in the casing with a small needle, so the sausage can “breathe” in order to prevent molding of the meat.
Every day or two you have to roll it with a rolling pin, so it gets a flat shape. Another way to do it is to press the sausage between two flat objects with weight on top. For example. use two cutting boards and put something heavy on top. Keep the sausage pressed during the night and hung in the daytime.
Usually it should be dry enough to eat after 30 days. You could also eat it sooner, but fried or grilled or BBQed. I’m not going to discuss smoking the sausage, as well as alternative means of drying; this should get you started.
Well, that’s about it. I hope you find this post useful!