Cotechino, like other Italian cured meats, combines pork meat with spices but with the extra distinctive element of using the skin (or rind) minced up with the mix. In addition, unlike salami, it must be cooked prior to eating and is often served fried with lentils. The natural sheep casings can be found at most specialist butchers or sausage-making suppliers.
- 1–2 full-length natural ox bung
- 2 kg old-breed free-range pork shoulder, skin off
- 1 kg pork skin
- 80 g (1 cup) grated pecorino cheese
- 6 purple garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp ground cloves
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 30 g pure sea salt
- 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- water or stock, for poaching
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Hanging time 3 hours
Resting time overnight (if frying)
Place the removable, sterilised parts of a mincer in the freezer for at least 1 hour before starting.
Soak the ox bung in cold water for 1 hour, then rinse inside and out. Thread onto the sausage nozzle and put on a plate in the fridge.
Remove the sterilised mincer parts from the freezer and assemble the mincer as per the manufacturer’s directions. Cut the meat and skin into pieces small enough to grind through the mincer. The skin will be the hardest part to mince, and you might have to put it through twice. Using a medium-size disk, grind the meat and skin into a stainless steel bowl that has been sterilised and kept in the freezer.
Combine the ground meat and skin, pecorino cheese, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne, cloves, nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Combine these ingredients extremely well by hand if you do not have a mixer big enough. Return to the refrigerator.
Set up and sterilise the sausage cannon. Fill the bowl of the cannon with the forcemeat. Be careful not to leave any air pockets in the mixture, as this will create air pockets in the sausages and you don’t want that. Attach the nozzle to the end of the sausage cannon.
Remove the mixture from the fridge. Start to pump the mixture out the end of the nozzle before you tie your sausage skin in a knot. This will also stop air pockets from happening. Tie a knot at the end of the casing. Slowly start to crank the cannon and fill the sausage. Make sure when you fill the sausage that it is packed tight, as it is easier to do this sausage one at a time.
Guide the casing out of the cannon as it fills, using your whole hand, onto a clear sterilised work surface. Once it has reached the desired length, stop and tie off the end. Then repeat the process until you finish the mixture. Hang the sausages for about 3 hours, then place in simmering water or stock for about 1–2 hours, or until the sausages float on top of the water. If you want to eat the sausage with stock, go right ahead but if you want to fry it, you will have to refrigerate overnight after it has been poached, for it to set. Then cook in a frying pan for about 5 minutes each side.
Use cotechino in Matthew Evan's cotechino with lentils or his bollito misto served with mustard fruits and salsa verde.