If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Catalonia, you’ll know their local chefs have a superpower. The ability to turn simple ingredients into a masterpiece. They rely heavily on local Mediterranean ingredients, including tomato, garlic, eggplant, fish, cheese, and olive oil. But if there’s one ingredient that’s revered by the locals, it would have to be botifarra (butifarra), a type of pork sausage stuffed in hog casing. It can be prepared using a traditional combination of seasoned pork and spices, but it is acceptable to use other meat with the pork such as beef.
Botifarra can be made fresh, and it is often served as an appetizer, chopped into fine slices. Its appearance is commonly ivory white on the outside; if it is allowed to dry, it turns a shade of gray. It is an appealing looking meat with a shiny, vibrant pinkish-red colored meat.
Makes: 8 sausages. Preparation time: 30 minutes
- 1 ½ lb pork belly
- 3 lb beef
- 6 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup red wine
- Add the pork and beef to a freezer for 30 minutes to chill then cut into pieces small enough to fit into the meat grinder.
- Grind the pork through a 3/8” plate and the beef through a larger 3/8” plate and catch the meat in a large bowl.
- Add salt, pepper, and spices to the meat and mix with hands until evenly distributed. Pour in the wine and mix until combined.
- Take a small spoon of the meat and cook in a skillet on medium heat until cooked through. Taste test and, if necessary, add more seasoning.
- Use a sausage stuffer to feed the meat into 35/38mm hog casings. Cook immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Useful facts about Botifarra
- Other ingredients such as rice, tripe, and truffles can also be added to botifarra to create unique versions of the original.
- Botifarra is the only traditional-style cooked sausage product that is cured by the addition of salt.
- Soledad, a small town on the Caribbean coast of Columbia, is best known for its love of botifarra in a dish called bollo de yuca.
- A popular Catalan dish is botifarra amb seques which incorporates the sausage with white beans. Catalan Escudella i carn d’ olla is another traditional Catalan cuisine which is a simple dish comprising boiled meat and vegetables.
- Ancient Romans used to produce botulu and lucanica sausages – it is believed that botifarra is based on one of these original recipes.
Varieties of botifarra
- Negret (aka black botifarra): blood from a pig is boiled and then added during processing to give the sausage a much darker appearance.
- Blanquet (aka white botifarra): this version is popular in Lerida, Catalan. No blood is added, but it contains offal used to make head cheese.
- Botifarra d’arròs: a standard botifarra which contains the addition of boiled rice.
- Botifarra d’ ou: A popular dish eaten on Fat Thursday, this sausage contains egg.
How to cook botifarra cassoulete
- 6 eggplants
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 botifarras
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ cup grated cheese
- Preheat oven to 390F.
- Slice the eggplants in half lengthways and place them on a lined oven tray. Drizzle with oil, season and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the casings from the botifarras and fry in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of oil. Cook until the meat is cooked through.
- Remove the eggplants from the oven once they’re cooked scoop out the flesh into the pan with the sausage and cook for 2 minutes. Discard the leftover skins.
- Add the butter to a saucepan and heat on medium until melted then add flour. Whisk until combined then add milk, salt, and pepper. Continue to whisk occasionally until the mixture is free of lumps and thickens.
- Pour a layer of béchamel into a suitable sized dish then add the eggplant and sausage mixture. Add the rest of the sauce and then top with cheese.
- Place your dish on the top rack of the oven and broil (grill) until the cheese turns a delicious golden brown. Serve immediately.