Originally Posted by pohaku
I'd be interested in hearing about Russian charcuterie. There is an immigrant community here in the Twin Cities and at least one small store specializing in Russian foods, including sausages and other preserved meats. I've had some really great fresh pork sausage from them. I'd be interested in knowing more about the types of sausages and other preserved/smoked meats. Recipes are a bonus of course, since I dabble in sausage making as well.
Nice thread concept. Thanks!
Thanks for your interest! :)
Russian charcuterie date back to XII century. A scroll dated 1140 AD says that an orthodox church lecturer (we don't know his name) and a guy named Ilia have supplied unknown person with sausages. :) Some kinds of preserved meats are mentioned in a lot of old manuscripts, including famous "Domestic Order" ("Domostroy") written by priest Silvester in 16th century, but unfortunately no one recipe has survived.
There is an opinion that German immigration to Russia that took place in 18th century has greatly improved russian preserved meats and sausages. I belive that it makes sense and there are some evidences that in 18-19th centuries best charcuterie stores in St. Petersburg and Moscow were owned by germans. It seems, that russian habit to buy already cooked sausages date back to this period.
During Soviet era government has spent a lot of effort in order to standardize and improve technologies related to preserved meats and sausages making. In 1960-s there were more than 100 types of fully standardized smoked sausages only. Due to my age, I had no chance to taste them by myself, but people say that they were of a very good quality. :) On the other hand, traditional names and origins of these meats have almost vanished and some types of meats were named with artificial names like "Doctor's", "Tourist's", etc.
Soviet preserved meats industry has declined since 70-s, when USSR faced with serious problems in meat production together with a demand of rapidly growing population for meat products. There was some progress since 90-s, but industry didn't reach Soviet standards yet and market was flooded with meats and sausages of a poor quality. As a result, people's interest to home-made sausages has dramatically increased.
I think that the most popular types are following:
1. Kolbasa. Usually large sausage about 15-20 inches long and about 1,5-2,5 inches in diameter. Made of pork, beef, spices and sometimes with an addition of some strong-flavoured alcohol like brandy or port wine. Usually fermented and cold-smoked. By the way, sometimes people in US write "Russian kielbasa" that is completely wrong. :) "Kielbasa" is a Polish word, correct Russian word is "Kolbasa". :)
2. Boiled kolbasa. Quite similar to Italian mortadella and probably of Italian origin. Made of emulsified meat, eggs and milk. Most popular brand is "Doctorskaya" ("Doctor's").
3. Hams. Actually, there in nothing special here. A lot of unique types of hams are mentioned in 19th century literature, but it seems that they didn't survive. As for me, I could not find any trustable information on this matter. Hope I'll manage to do this one day. :)
4. Sosiski. Small thin pre-cooked sausages probably of Austrian or German origin, made of emulsified meats and quite similar to Frankfurters or Viennese.
5. Kolbaski. This is regular fresh sausages. Probably, most popular type is "Ukranian" that is made of pork, fat and some garlic. When long Ukrainian "kolbaski" are hot- or cold- smoked, they become "ukrainian home-made kolbasa". :)
6. Salo. Very popular home-made food made of pork back fat, cured with salt and sometimes smoked. Some people even make "salo" that is brined, salted and fermented with aromatic leaves and herbs in special oak-wood chests.
If you're interested in particular type of sausage, I think that I can provide a little bit more detailed information, including ingredients and basic technology.