Eleni Georges from My Family Food Diary has generously offered to share one of her cherished recipes for you to try at home.
“Sheftalies are a traditional Cypriot sausage made with simple ingredients and cooked over the charcoal. This recipe is very special to me as it was shown to me by my dear friend Vasiliki, passed to her by her mum Eleni who lives in Cyprus,” says Eleni.
“I met Vasiliki when she came to Australia with her partner for a few years while she was completing her Masters. We instantly clicked and our love for Cypriot cooking was one of the reasons. We would organise days where we would be basically cook traditional food like sheftalies, gemista (stuffed vegetables) or daktila (lady fingers). Our friends would then gather to enjoy the food cooked, followed by listening to live music played by Vasiliki’s partner. Such great memories!”
1 kg pork caul fat see notes
¼ cup vinegar
4 small brown onions, finely diced
1 large bunch of parsley, 60 sprigs, finely chopped
3 kg pork mince
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs dried mint
30 ml white wine
2 tbs salt
1 tbs black pepper
1. The first step is to prepare the caul fat so that it is cleaned properly and that there is foul smell. Wash it in a large bowl with plenty of water several times. Then add enough cold water to cover it, as well as the vinegar and let it soak for 15 mins or until there is no more nasty smell.
2. In the meantime prepare the mince mixture by finely chopping the parsley and onion. Both of these need to be chopped small enough so that they combine easily with the mince and there aren’t large chunks when you are biting into the sheftalies. You may choose to brown off the onion before adding it to the mixture, to help digest it better but it is not something i tend to do.
3. Once the parsley and onions are chopped, add them with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands until everything is well combined.
Wash the caul fat, strain any excess water and place it in the strainer over a bowl. Keep it aside and have it ready to use to roll the sheftalies.
4. Scoop 70 g (a packed ⅓ cup) of the mince mixture and form a 9-10 cm long sausage shape (see notes). Place the sausage you have just formed on a tray and continue to do the same until all the mince mixture is finished. If i am making these with someone else, one person usually makes the sausages while the other wraps them into sheftalies.
5. Before you start using the caul fat you need to check it. If the caul fat has any holes in it do not use it to wrap the mince, otherwise the coating may tear apart. Also if the caul fat veins are too thick I tend to not use it, as they may not render (melt) well when cooked.
6. Grab a piece of the caul fat carefully and spread it out on a board or your clean working bench. Place the mince log on the edge of the caul fat and then roll it 1.5 times around, folding the sides in as you do. The caul fat will stick together and once it cooks it will render and will hold the sheftalia well. Use a sharp knife and cut off the caul fat surrounding the sheftalia.
7. Repeat the process until all the mince is wrapped. If any caul fat remains then you must throw it away.
8. Place the finished sheftalies on a lined tray and put them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. If you are not cooking them that day then place them in the freezer well wrapped. I only freeze them if I find fresh caul fat to use. Otherwise, if the caul fat is frozen to begin with, I always cook them on the day and I do not freeze the caul fat again.
9. To cook the sheftalies we tend to fire up the charcoal. The sheftalies should be cooked slowly, not too close to the fire, so that the inside cooks before the outside burns. Instead an even brown colour should form. Otherwise you may choose to heat a grill pan on a high heat cooking each side for 10min or so.
- You may require a bit less caul fat than that but just to be safe get one kilo in case the caul fat has holes through it or has thick membranes, which you’ll need to remove. Often 1 kg of caul fat requires 5 kg of mince meat but there are a lot of sheftalies produced with that amount. So unless you will be cooking that many sheftalies at once, then the caul fat will be wasted.
- Unless you are cooking them another way, they need to be long enough to pass through the charcoal forks/double skewers but not too long that they are falling off as the charcoal forks spin.
* For more delicious recipes, visit http://myfamilysfooddiary.com/