Friday, December 30, 2011

Vegetarians beware.

If you are a vegan, vegetarian, PETA member, or just generally weak in the stomach when it comes to raw meat and its production, read no further (seriously).  I decided to write a post on "capciola" making, after I spent the afternoon at my nonna's (Italian grandma). For those that don't know (and I truly feel sorry for you if you are missing out on this little piece of heaven), capicola is a Calabrese cold-cut made from pork shoulder or neck, and then dry-cured whole. Capo means head, and collo means "neck of pig", for those wondering about the name origin.  All in all, this is a deliciously salted meat that tastes amazing on crackers, in sandwiches, or just eaten plain straight from the slicer.  In case anyone is interested in ever making their own homemade salumi meats, or just curious to see where it comes from, this should hopefully satisfy your questions.

Step 1:  Buy boneless pork capicola butt from your local butcher shop or grocery store. Take them home, cover the capicola evenly with salts and store in cool place for 24 hours.

Step 2: Season and spice capicola with paprika, crushed chilli peppers, whole black pepper corns (a few)

Season the capicola 

Step 3: Stuff the spiced capciola butt into the casing. We use natural casing, meaning it is fully edible, has no artificial preservatives or additives, made from the intestines of pigs, sheep, cattle, and goat. Kiiind of gross, but if you think about it, it's really the most natural way to go (this is the only casing permitted for organic sausages). It allows the smoking and cooking flavours to permeate the casing and really seep into the meat.  Artificial casing is made from collagen, cellulose, and sometimes plastic (yuck).  That red tube is called a "stuffer", and makes it easier to slide the meat in whole.

 Step 4: Tie up the cased meat with netting, again using the stuffer.

Step 5: Ta-da! All done. Now, let them hang in a dry room for one week, and then transfer to a cooler area (like a cantina) for about 5-6 months. 

I can show you our finished product in a few months, but this is generally what capicola looks like after curing.
Capicola is a great addition to charcuterie boards, paired with hard Artisan cheeses, grapes, and a freshly cut baguette. Mmm charcuterie boards...more on those later.



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