My Citizens, now that we are entering the Autumnal season I am gratified to feel the chill return to the air and the leaves enrobing themselves anew in the noble colors of scarlet and gold! TFD – the Pasha of Preservation Himself! – must now turn his all-seeing eye towards the traditional activity of the season in generations past: sausage making! Few recipes delight the palate more than this delicious version of a sausage enjoyed throughout the Balkans region but with a specific recipe to Bulgaria – sudzhuk!
As noted in an article from inlife.bg on the subject:
The first evidence of the mass production of this delicate product is from the year 1538 during the reign of Sultan Suleiman I the Magnificent, who granted the Pasha of Rustem the right to own lands and collect taxes on the production of sujuci in Rahovich-i-gebra, the present-day city of Gorna Oryahovitz.
In 1861, sudzhuk from the region was awarded a medal at the International Exhibition in the Italian city of Turin. Strong local traditions in the production of dried sausages and appetizers are also noted by the well-known Austro-Hungarian ethnologist and traveler Felix Kanitz, who did not fail to reflect on this in his book “Danube Bulgaria and the Balkans” in 1882.
An advertisement from the 1911 of the works of the upper-Aryakh family, Nedev Sudzhuk, was found in the Bulgarian Almanac, which speaks about the popularity of the product from time to time. Thus, unnoticed over the years, a food product has become in a unique way a symbol not only of Gorna Oryahovitsa, but also of the region around it.
There are many different versions of this sausage on the market, but the most delicious is the home-made sausage made from fresh meat at home, according to old recipes.
Citizens, if you want to get your start with home curing, I strongly recommend you invest in a good digital hygrometer to properly measure humidity and moisture levels – this is an excellent one. A full and outstanding primer on how to make salami at home is required reading before you begin – this tutorial is excellent.
The traditional sudzhuk is not inoculated with any starter cultures as it simply uses the endemic and unique blend of different molds that exist solely in the Gorna Oryahovitsa region (Penicillinum and Aspergillus).
To replicate that microbiome, we will use a starter culture in this version, one that closely replicates the microbiome of North Bulgaria – specifically, this one.
The sausage is flavored with a combination of cumin, black pepper and Summer savory. Savory is a strong pepper-flavored herb that plays an important role in Bulgarian cuisine where it is known as chubritsa. You can buy excellent-quality ground Summer savory here. You can purchase the proper casings for the sausage here. Dextrose for sausage making can be bought here.
My version of this sausage is truly delicious and I truly hope you enjoy its delicious flavors and the satisfaction of making your own! 🙂 Enjoy it with a starter of Bulgarian ‘snow-white’ salad!
Battle on – the Generalissimo