Salamis and Sausages
The best sausages and salamis are produced in Upper Molise where the classic tradition of pork butchering is still maintained. The soppressata has a great reputation, above all at Castel del Giudice, Capracotta and Agnone, where excellent smoked prosciutto is also to be found; at Montenero di Bisaccia, a ventricina salami is produced which is similar to the one from Abruzzi and is certainly not less spicy. At Sessano, special pork liver sausages are produced, «frascateglie» in the local dialect, which are similar to the mazzafegati and the fegatazzi of the bordering regions. They are most widely eaten accompanied by polenta.
A particular type of sausage is prepared at Rionero; it is flavoured with fennel and preserved in fat.
The cooked sausage is widespread throughout the territory; the processing of the dried sausage (made from meat and liver) takes place according to a precise ritual: the raw material is minced, pressed into a paste, packed into the special intestines and then cooked, dried and seasoned which all goes to giving the mixture a very particular flavour.
This name is used to describe capocollo or coppa. The characteristic which makes the mulette different from many other similar hams is the absence of pepper which is, however, generously substituted by chilli pepper. The most sought after mulette are those from the countryside around Macchiagodena, in the mountainous area half way between Isernia and Campobasso.
PAMPANELLA FROM SAN MARTINO
This is a singular product, so indissolubly tied to its place of production as to borrow its name. It cannot be considered a sausage or salami, but it is nevertheless an example of pork meat preservation. The ribs of the animal are covered with a mixture of dried sweet pepper, finely chopped garlic and the ever present chilli pepper. The pieces of meat are put in the hot oven for at least an hour and are then seasoned with salt and vinegar and preserved in earthenware containers.
The best are found at the artisan workshops in Ferrazzano, Rionero Sannitico and Ururi. The pig’s thigh, after having been trimmed and salted, is washed with white wine which has the task of eliminating the excess salt and of defining, together with the abundantly used chilli pepper, it flavour. At the termination of this first phase of the processing, the hams are smoked and then placed in cool and well aired rooms for seasoning. The seasoning lasts for at least twelve months.
Sanguinati are characteristic of the area around Campochiaro and are destined for home consumption: they are made from small pieces of solidified pigs’ blood which are cooked in salted water and mixed with breadcrumbs, orange peel, sultanas, parsley, chilli pepper and garlic; a courageous combination which has very ancient origins.
This is a singular example of a Molise salami which is prepared using pure pork meat. The mixture is obtained from the leanest parts of the animal. While being processed, a strip of ham fat is placed inside the large sausage-shaped salami, so that when the salami is being sliced, a star or cross shape appears which certainly has a propitiatory significance.
This is principally produced in the countryside surrounding the town of Montenero di Bisaccia and is identical to the product of the same name from the Abruzzi region. It is a finely chopped mixture of pork with the addition of rosemary and plenty of chilli pepper. Its preparation requires the use of parts of the thigh, the shoulder and the loin with a certain percentage of pancetta; this is all flavoured with salt, pepper, red chilli pepper and wild fennel seeds. It is then stuffed into casing, tied and strung up to season for a minimum period of three months. It is served as an antipasto together with other slice cold meats and salamis.