Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The next project: Figatellu!
Spurred on by the unmitigated success of ‘project saucisson’, for my next trick I’ve decided to take the French theme provincial...
When I was on holiday in Corsica last summer we munched a lot of this smoky, porky, earthy sausage called figatellu – apparently an island speciality and something I’ve never seen anywhere else, let alone in the UK. So I’m harbouring this ambition to become the only man in Britain to be making his own figatellu (or at least to be able to delude myself that this is the case and tell this lie to my friends, who won’t care enough to go to the effort of proving otherwise).
Figatellu eating in Corsica last summer

The problem with being a trail-blazing wannabe figatellu-maker is that I’m not party to a great deal of info about this apparently rare sausage:
Firstly, and sadly, I don’t know any Corsican housewives, and not even resourceful housewife-magnet, sausage assistant and all-round ‘ideas’ man ‘Dr’ Simon Pick could think where I’d find one.
Secondly, the internet – usually reliable for turning-up at least a socially retarded blogger with strange hobbies (ahem) – has also let me down. And not just for recipes, but even for basic information (no, Wikipedia, I did not mean ‘Figarellu’ – the Venezuelan politician and engineer, or ‘Tellu Turkka’ – the Finnish fiddler and contemporary folk singer!).

The first image that came up when I 'google image'-searched 'figatellu'

The second image tha came up when I 'google image'-searched 'figatellu'.....that's a bit more like it

...So I’m going to have to make it up as I go along. Yes, I may die of botulism or – worse – produce a foul-tasting abomination of a sausage. But on the plus side, if it does come out well I will be able to bask in the glory not only of execution, but of creation!
Here’s what I know about figatellu:
·         It’s smoky
·         It’s garlicky
·         It contains pig’s liver
·         It’s thin (chipolata-like)
So I’m going to apply these principles to my basic saucisson sec recipe and see what happens: I’m going to go for a meat mixture of half pork shoulder (including 20% fat) and half pig’s liver, which will be stuffed into sheep casings (thin). Flavourings-wise, it’ll get a good hit of garlic and white pepper as well as a splash of red wine (I’m going on a hunch here, but it’s also there to lower the pH of the mix and discourage bacteria growth). Then the usual pile of salt, cure#2 and bacteria starter culture for the curing process. My flavouring theory is ‘keep it simple’, as the real uniqueness comes from the next stage: the smoking...
For this I’ve acquired a nifty new cold smoke generator. I’m yet to unleash it on my sausages, but from what I’ve seen it’s a really good piece of kit: it stands alone and can be placed in any makeshift smoking vessel (inkeeping with my ‘Womble’/tight Yorkshireman approach to equipment, my preference here will be a hi-tech cardboard box). I’ll be using chestnut dust....sadly not shaved from a Corsican forest, but hopefully imparting a similar flavour.

Cold smoke generating contraption

So that’s the plan. Liver-mincing and cardboard box burning update to follow...


  1. The cold smoke generator looks good, I had no idea those small doodads existed. I've been wanting to try my hand at German knackwuerst but it needs to be smoked to get the proper effect. Now, I wonder if the missus will mind me sticking one out on our balcony...

  2. It's a really simple contraption Max, but seems to work from my early experiments and has got great feedback in online forums. Only £30 too - the manufacturer's called proQ. The major benefit is that it doesn't require a constant flame, so you can use any old vessel for the smoking - the website suggests putting it in the bottom of a lidded barbeque in place of the coals and lying the stuff to be smoked on the grill.

    ...will let you know how it works on my sausages.

  3. Here's a recipe for Figatellu:


  4. My proQ cold smoker arrived yesterday, sadly I have nothing to smoke. I picked up a galvanised dustbin incinerator to use it in from Aldi for £20

  5. Fractal Angel, thanks for the link. It confirms a lot of my hunches, although the addition of cloves is interesting - I will definitely have a go at that. I must say though, it's not the most scientific of recipes - I will still have to follow my basic saucisson sec recipe for amount of curing salt, drying time etc.

    Max, nice work on the smoker, and good thinking on the dustbin incinerator - keep me posted on how you get on. Having posted this figatellu blog I've realised, sadly, that I'm not going to be able to actually make it until the second week of June....so you might use your proQ in anger before I do, so can give me some tips! :)

  6. Have you had a chance to have a go at your figatellu yet?

    1. Hi Max! For one reason or another I haven't got round to it, but I'm going back to London in an hour or so and provided there's a packet of bactoferm in my postbox (which there ought to be!) I am back on the sausage-making trail this weekend!!

      I'm going to hit the butchers in the morning to try to get hold of some pig's liver for figatellu. If not I think I'll just knock-up another batch of saucisson sec....maybe chuck an interesting flavour or two in there...

      Been checking out your blog mate - salami looks awesome!