[Edited and expanded by Danette St. Onge on March 29, 2016.]
There are several different types of charcuterie called "soppressata" (meaning "pressed down") in Italy. Some are dry, cured salamis, which are usually pressed during curing, hence the name and the slightly flat shape, while the Tuscan version is a large, uncured, cooked sausage.
The version that has become most well-known in the U.S. originates in the Veneto region and is no longer pressed, so it's doesn't have a flattened shape, but is round, like most other salamis. This recipe is closest to that version.
The meat in soppressata is not as finely ground as in some other salamis. It should have large, distinct chunks of fat and meat, so use a coarse grind on your meat grinder.
- Black peppercorns
- 6.6 pounds (3 kg) of pork meat -- a combination of loin and other lean cuts
- 1 pound (500 grams) lard (a block of fat)
- 1 pound (500 grams) pork side, the cut used to make bacon
- 1/2 cup grappa
- Sausage Casing
Grind the the herbs and spices together in a mortar and pestle.
Then clean the meat well, trimming away all traces of gristle, and chop it with the lard and the pork side. Put the meat through a meat grinder and transfer te ground meat to a large bowl.
Mix the spices and salt into the meat and work the mixture well to distribute the spices evenly, then mix in the grappa too.
Wash the casing well in vinegar, dry it thoroughly, and rub it with a mixture of salt and well-ground pepper.
Shake away the excess.
Fill the casing, pressing down so as to expel all air, twist the ends of the casing shut, and tie the salami with string. Hang for 2-3 days in a warm place, and then for a couple of months in a cool, dry, drafty spot and the soppressata is ready.
Very important note: Proper temperature and humidity control are important to avoid making contaminated sausages. Please refer to the following links and your local food-safety authorities for additional tips on the correct process:
- http://www.sopressata.org/ - The website of a homemade soppressata-making community.
- http://ifoodblogger.com/homemade-sopressata/ - A very detailed entry on making your own sopressata.
- http://www.panoramitalia.com/en/food-wine/article/tips-perfect-homemade-sausage-soppressata/1764/ - Another detailed article on homemade soppressata.
- http://www.scordo.com/calabria/homemade-salami-soppressata-soupie.html - A guide to making Calabrian-style soppressata at home -- this kind is pressed.