There are several different types of charcuterie called soppressata (meaning "pressed down") in Italy. Some are dry, cured salamis, which are usually pressed during curing, hence the name and the slightly flat shape, while the Tuscan version is a large, uncured, cooked sausage.
The version that has become most well-known in the U.S. originates in the Veneto region and is no longer pressed, so it doesn't have a flattened shape, but is round, like most other salamis. This recipe is closest to that version.
The meat in soppressata is not as finely ground as in some other salamis. It should have large, distinct chunks of fat and meat, so use a coarse grind on your meat grinder.
- Black peppercorns
- Ground cloves to taste
- 6.6 pounds (3 kg) of pork meat (a combination of loin and other lean cuts)
- 1 pound (500 grams) lard (a block of fat)
- 1 pound (500 grams) pork side (the cut used to make bacon)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup grappa
- Sausage casing
- Grind the peppercorns and cloves together in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
- Then clean the meat well, trimming away all traces of gristle, and chop it with the lard and the pork side.
- Put the meat through a meat grinder and transfer the ground meat to a large bowl.
- Mix the spices and salt into the meat and work the mixture well to distribute the spices evenly, then mix in the grappa.
- Wash the casing well in vinegar, dry it thoroughly, and rub it with a mixture of salt and well-ground pepper. Shake away the excess.
- Fill the casing, pressing down so as to expel all air, twist the ends of the casing shut, and tie the salami with string.
- Hang for 2 to 3 days in a warm place, and then for a couple of months in a cool, dry, drafty spot, and the soppressata is ready.