Liver sausage with honey - Salsiccia di fegato con miele
This very unusual sausage is produced in the inland areas around L’Aquila, and particularly in the Sagittario Valley between Anversa degli Abruzzi and Scanno. It is made from pork with the addition of honey and cooked must, which act as natural preservatives and prevent oxidisation.
All the offal is finely chopped by knife, taking care to remove the hard and gristly parts of the lights and cartilage. The cheek is minced, and the pleura roughly chopped. Chopped garlic and chilli pepper are then added, followed by the honey and the must syrup, in the proportion of 10-15% of the total weight of the meat. The mixture is left to rest so that the flavours can mingle while the fat is removed from the intestines, which are then washed in water several times and dried carefully.
The casings are slowly filled with meat, ensuring air does not enter the stuffing, then the sausages are tied with kitchen twine, ensuring the sausages are pierced or pressed manually to avoid small air bubbles being trapped in the meat.
Ripening is performed in two stages: stage one is in a warm place, near a fireplace or other source of heat; stage two is in a cool, dry place.
Since the Middle Ages it has been customary to preserve meat and this has become as refined art. In Apicius’ dissertation De Obsoniis et condimentis sive de arte coquinaria, a recipe book of preserves, there are descriptions of how to cure fresh meat in honey, whilst pork skin, loin and belly are preserved in vinegar with mustard, salt and honey.
A local tradition says that this product was introduced to Abruzzo by the Dukes of Acquaviva, who had learned the method from Venetian merchants who had arrived from the north of Italy (Source: ARPO, Anversa degli Abruzzo)
Liver sausage in honey is very tasty and in the past, when a far less ample range of food was available, given the financial difficulties of many, it helped to break the monotony of diet during winter.