We, Ukrainians, have a complicated history with our Polish brethren. When Polish arrogance meets Ukrainian hot-headed craziness, the results are unpredictable. On one side, now there is no closer ally for Ukraine than Poland: when a bear comes to the den, wolves forget about their squabbles…On another side, we’ve been killing each other in the remote and relatively recent past with madness that would now qualify to be called an ethnic cleansing. I grew up listening to such stories, witnessed by my father’s generation. Just 10 minutes’ drive from my town, there was a Polish village on the shore of a beautiful river. In my days, there were only a few people who moved to live to its the empty houses – not many survived the brave boys who were killing anything that smelled polish.
Comrade Stalin in his infinite wisdom, tender soul, and care for all human beings – he was taught well the “history lessons” in an Orthodox seminary – decided to fix it once and for all by his typically humane method: mandatory mass deportation. Ukrainians who happened to reside for millennia on the lands now given to Poland were put in railroad wagons and sent to us ( my both neighbors were from this category), and Polish population went to take their houses or somewhere to Gdansk. Few from both categories ended up in Siberia, of course….but that’s another story.
Around 20 miles from my town, close to the southern edge of Pripyat swamps, there is a village, Kupel’, which became an exception. For various reasons, most poles there were allowed to stay. Some did, some did not. Hence, in my “rayon” ( a rough equivalent of a county), Kupel’ became the only one place with polish “feel,” culture, and cuisine.
As it happens, my sister-in-law lives on the edge of that picturesque village. In Fall 2012, I went back to my old country, overseeing the Parliamentary Elections as an international observer\monitor. Afterward, my brother-in-law took me through some…a challenging road to Kupel’ for a day. And what a day it was! I even went to some mushroom hunting. To my dismay, I quickly discovered that although I dream about it often, I’ve totally lost all my skills to find some porcini…After an evening of eating the “real food,” cooked in the wood fired brick oven, I was gifted with few kilos of dried porcini. The topic of how I got them to the States through the customs shall remain to be unexplored in this post. Upon arrival, the mushrooms were vacuum-packed, stored in a fridge, and treated as a family’s treasure. One does not have to use a lot of decent dried porcini to make a significant impact on any dish – just a sprinkle of the “dust” raises the desire to believe that there is a God …
So…after all these boring tales –to these porcini sausages! In the honor of the origins, I bestowed upon them the name of “Kupel’ski Hand-Cut Sausages.”
September 9th, 2015: Beef (round tip) – 2346gr; pork butt – 4539gr = total 6985gr, 100%; diced and mixed with 2.6% sea salt and 0.25% cure #2. After two days beef went through 2mm grinder, pork was just hand-cut (around 1 -1.5 inch). Mixed with : dextrose 0.5%, BP 0.7%, Juniper 0.25%, Poivre du Sichuan 0.3%, cardamom 0.01%, T-SPX. Then 0.5% of dried porcini powder was added, blended with one cup of brandy. After a day in the fridge, I’ve stuffed the forcemeat into hog middles, fermented for 3 days under some press, and cold-smoked (pecan with some hickory) for five days. Then, the Curing Chamber until November 13th. Weight loss: 53%. I know…it’s a lot even by my standards. The taste is good, as for the texture and “look” (it is a hand-cut sausage, after all), you be the judge…
By June 2017, I still have few remnants of this sausage. The main mode of utilization took a form of shaved pieces on top of a pizza.