Sheftalia AKA Cypriot Sausage

So after getting my hands on a lot, and I mean a lot of caul fat, you probably wondered what I was going to do. And so did I at that point, as I wasn’t prepared for the road side delivery. Yes, I did in fact leave work and make a shady, if meat can be shady like that, exchange on the side of a road. Then, out of nowhere I had an idea. With an appetizer based food party/contest on the horizon, I thought why not take a crack at making crépinette*. The short and sweet of what that means, is that I’d be making a stubby sausage (pork in this case), which would be wrapped in caul fat instead of a casing. Turning to my ever-growing supply of both books and bookmarks, I stumbled onto a recipe from Cyprus which sounded quite pleasant. So there I went and here they are. Sheftalia in all it’s glory.

After I started to google sheftalia, I couldn’t help but find recipes which varied quite a bit. Needing to take some sort of stance at the end of the day, I decided to stick with ingredients that I saw were pretty consistent; onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and pork. With the recommendation of a good friend, I threw in pine nuts which I toasted much to his dismay. 🙂 I should mention that I softened the onion as well and let it cool alongside the nuts. Once everything was mixed together, I rinsed me room temperature caul fat and then soaked it in warm water to make it manageable. With a knife near by (not the bread knife you see, it just ended up being there), I slowly pieced together sections that were large enough to easily prepare my fatty treats. The roll and pack was quite easy and the entire sausage stuck to itself in a natural manner which made for a lick-free seal. 😉

I put the sausages into the fridge for about an hour to firm up. Heating a pan somewhere between medium and medium-high, I seared all four sides of the sausages for two and a half minutes each. What turned out is below the cheese picture. Which in case you are wondering, is what I brought along to the party for additional snacking. The La Tur was awesome with slices of fresh bread and I recommend stopping by Everything Cheese for pickup. But enough of that, back to the pork. The thinner sections of caul fat basically rendered into the pan or into the meat, while the slightly thicker sections crisped up like chicken skin. The fat encased sausage looked beautiful! Looks can be deceiving as we all know, so I had to sample a few of these goodies with Sarah and we weren’t disappointed. Smooth pork flavour with just a hit of parsley and toasted pine nut made it an enjoyable sausage without worrying about someone not liking any of the essential ingredients; ie, the caul fat.

Cheese For The Party

Knowing I was going to be judged on presentation, I made a bed of tzatziki and carefully laid my sheftalia into the plate before sprinkling with fresh parsley and finishing with a squirt of fresh lemon. As we drove off to the party, I wondered how it would go over. Laying next to an assortment of bacon wrapped treats, dips, pot-stickers, oysters, I decided that what my pork sausages lacked in beauty, it made up for in taste. A solid third place, with a lot of compliments around the juiciness and texture. On an experiment like this, I’ll take 3rd place out of the 20 or so dishes, 9 times out of 10! What a night.

*The word Crépine is French for “pig’s caul”

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