Process

Making fresh sausages

Why do my sausages taste so good?  Simple. I use only the best ingredients.  
I chose New Zealand free-range Murrellen pork (www.murrellenpork.co.nz) from Ashburton because of its incredible texture and flavour. For the Chorizo and the Malagueña, the other most important component is the Spanish paprika (capsicum annum) known as pimentón in Spain. This gives these sausages their characteristic flavour and colour. I blend my own using both a mild sweet paprika and a smoked hot paprika from Muñoz y Pujante (www.munozypujante.com). My fresh sausages have no gluten, dairy, nitrates or preservatives.

I do all the processing myself. To give the sausages their distinctive chunky texture, I mince the pork just once then immediately mix the other ingredients in by hand. This allows the flavours to merge slowly and gently- a process that continues overnight as the mixture is rested. Now comes the fun bit. I load up my Spanish sausage maker with casings, put in the meat mixture and become a one-man sausage factory, forming each and every sausage. They are then left to hang to further enhance the blend.

 

How to use my fresh sausages

Fresh chorizo is different from cured chorizo. It needs to be cooked, as do the Butifarra and Malagueña. Treat them as you would a fresh sausage: grilled, fried, barbecued. Careful not to overcook them though, 7 or 8 minutes in the pan, medium heat, is usually enough. They are extremely versatile products and very tasty. While Butifarra is a classic, milder pork sausage, both Chorizo and Malagueña can be thrown in a soup or stew to add a touch of spice. They will both zing up a pizza or a pasta dish and are very happy combined with rice in any way. My daughters love my Chorizo or Malagueña tortilla and our friends enjoy eggs and chorizo in the pan (ous al plat) or on the barbecue for breakfast.  
But the proof is in the eating and when I sent some Chorizo to renowned NZ chef Peter Gordon, this was his enthusiastic email response:

“The chorizo was delicious – really tasty, moist, great texture and very authentic. My head chef at dine, Bernard (Bernabe), cooked it last night and we really liked it. It would be great to (…) use it on one of our menus in Auckland, as well as any other smallgoods Mariano makes. If I see any of your product I’ll eat it.” – Peter Gordon (19 Nov 2009)

I hope you enjoy experimenting with the recipes and please send me any other ideas you have!

 

Mariano’s cured meats

Once I had successfully created and launched three fresh sausages I set myself the task of crafting and perfecting a couple of my favourite cured meats. The advantage of these products is that they have a longer shelf life, and can be eaten as they are or used as an ingredient in a cooked dish. They are the perfect companion for tramping, fishing, or any outdoor pursuit, as well as your children’s lunchbox, as they don’t require refrigeration and provide an extremely tasty snack or accompaniment. The curing process I implement follows the Spanish tradition where temperature and humidity are monitored in a controlled environment; there is no external smoking treatment. As this is a natural process involving raw meat, preservatives are added in order to avoid health risks to the consumer. Once again, the process starts with the highest quality free range Murellen pork, minced just once and combined with traditional Spanish seasoning. The correct amount of pork fat is necessary and must be visible in the mix; this keeps the finished product rich and juicy. Once prepared (each one by my own hand), they will be left to hang in the curing room for up to two weeks, to complete the curing process. These products are small and can therefore be cured faster than other similar smallgoods. The hanging time allows the ingredients to blend, the flavours to mature, and the consistency to reach the required state: not too dry and not too moist. Time and patience ensure that these cured smallgoods are tasty and succulent.