Friday, July 15, 2011


At the start of each Charcutepalooza challenge there is always some kind of a search. There might be a certain cut of meat, a special herb or spice, or some kind of casing made from a particular part of one animal or another that you’ll need to find. You’ll have to think of where you might find whatever it is, and then go out looking for it, seeking it out and asking around. It’s a treasure hunt, and it’s fun.
I live in an area where people from all over the world have chosen to come to live, where they have kindly set up shop with all kinds of goodies from far away lands. We also have easy access to rural butchers and markets, which are just a nice drive in the country away. But even here the likes of sheep casings and beef bung are hard to come by. So, after some unsuccessful seeking, I went online, because nowadays there’s always the internet. And boy can you find bung on Bing!
After a bit of online research I was set to order both sheep casing and beef bung. But to have online shopping to work, you have to actually order whatever it is you want. Since I didn’t order right away, between all of the this and all of the that I was doing it just didn’t happen. Then I started to think that maybe I didn’t need beef bung after all.

I was pretty sure that with plastic wrap, string, cheesecloth, and a serger I could fashion a wrapping that would hold a mass of emulsified meat, ice, and fat together long enough for it to poach into a nice mortadella.

The recipe from Charcuterie, The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing has detailed instructions for grinding and mixing the sausage emulsion, specifying exact temperatures and procedures to follow.

Keeping all the parts and pieces cold was tricky: the ice machine is temperamental, the refrigerator way too full, and the food processor a mini.

I basically kept to the recipe, though I cut the Kosher salt by half, skipped the mace and doubled the nutmeg, used fresh minced bay leaves, and added some beautiful little olives that Jenny brought back from Trento, Italy for me. It’s a fine tasting recipe, though the flavor of the meat is very mild against the fat and next time I think I’ll try it with a little more meat and a little less fat.

I was worried that if I used only plastic wrap it might come apart in the poaching water, so I thought I’d use plastic wrap as an inner casing, and use fabric to make an outer casing. The weave of my cheesecloth seemed too loose, so I stitched a scrap of muslin into 24”  tube with a 6” diameter.

Mortadella wrapped in the plastic inner casing and the cloth outer casing, tied with kitchen twine and ready to go…

Still in one piece after poaching it slowly…

Chilled and sliced…

Ready to be used in sandwiches 

and salads,

to be put in a meat pie,

and rolled into turkey.

Next up: recipes for Mortadella Pork Pie and Mortadella Rolled Turkey Breast


  1. MoM,

    Your mortadella looks beautiful! Can't wait to try some.

    I've never dusted the outside of my turkey rolls with flour. Does that help with browning the outside or help hold the juices in?


  2. Thanks! The flour helps with the browning and it also helps to keep it from sticking to the pan.