I am fascinated with 'Nduja. 'Nduja is a spicy Calabrian spreadable salami made with copious amounts of red pepper. A while ago I sampled some of Boccalone's 'Nduja and wasn't super thrilled with that particular product.
After much research and salivation over the subject of this creamy red salumi, I have been tossing around the idea of attempting to make it myself at home. Since Franken-Fridge (my cobbled together meat curing chamber) is operational I thought I would begin to experiment with the 'Nduja theme a little bit and give a sort of version a go.
For actual, authentic 'Nduja it is necessary to procure some actual Calabrian pepper (Sausage Debauchery is prob. the source I would use). I didn't get around to purchasing any of the Calabrian pepper (because I am lazy) so I decided to improvise and make a sort of pseudo-'Nduja with a local ingredient. I happened to have a bunch of Utica Grind red pepper on hand and I thought that might be a pretty reasonable substitute for the Calabrian stuff. Due to the use of this ingredient I am calling my bastard creation "'Ndjutica"in honor of the fair city of Utica.
I used about 1000 grams of fatty pork belly, 100 grams of the Utica Grind, 50 grams of sweet paprika, 28 grams kosher salt, 3 grams Prague #2, and for the culture I used Bactoferm T-SPX. Note that this is about half the amount of hot pepper that some recipes call for. I am in experimental phase here so I went a bit conservative.
Traditionally 'Nduja is cold smoked for quite a lengthy period... But I got lazy again. I only just cold smoked a bunch of hams a couple of weeks ago and today I did not feel like tending a marathon cold smoke session (for only one measly chub of salumi no less...). I added a teaspoon of liquid hickory smoke instead, don't judge me. To tell you the truth, I am more interested in the process than the end result with this version so I can refine my methods for future attempts. I am more interested in the final texture and to see how the Bactoferm worked and am not going to get bent out of shape over using a couple lame charcuterie short cuts.
I ground the meat fine (2x, fine plate) and mixed to bind with all the seasonings and culture. I stuffed the mixture into a medium diameter collagen casing and tied it off a bit.
Currently the 'Ndujtica is incubating in the oven with the light on and a bowl of salt water to maintain some humidity. After 24 hours the chub will go into Franken-Fridge for probably about 6 months. Hopefully it turns out good so I have the confidence to spring for the real ingredients for my next attempt. I think a really well done version of 'Nduja would probably end up being in my top 5 favorite foods. Fat, spice, and funk that you can spread on other stuff. What is not to like?
Between 'Nduja and Rolf's Teawurst, I seem to be in a spreadable sausage craze lately. Don't ask me why. There is just something about a smearing a luscious, funky, fatty meat butter that gets me going. I could live on the stuff. So hopefully this experiment works out. I will let you know.