Salami conjures visions of cured, fermented, intensely flavored sausages dotted with bits of fat marbled throughout. Pork and beef typically star in traditional versions, but chicken’s mildness and convenience makes an approachable everyday alternative retaining the same satisfying texture once shaped and dried properly at home. Let’s unlock the flavorful world of chicken salami and enjoy the chicken salami recipe!
What Exactly is Salami?
These firm, smoked sausages hail originally from Italy among southern European regions where curing meats serves both as means for flavor boosting and preservation purposes in the days before refrigeration. Traditional salami consists primarily of mixed minced pork and beef seasoned aggressively with garlic, peppercorns, wine and paprika among other bold spices.
The mixture gets stuffed into casings then subjected to bacterial fermentation processes aided by specific temperature and humidity levels to achieve the signature tang and prolonged shelf stability.
Home cooks can mimic salami’s characteristic firmness and intense savoriness on a smaller scale with ground chicken forming the base instead of pork or gamey red meats. Leaning on spice rubs, wine and citrus juice along with salt to extract moisture from the interior meat mixture, then allowing it time to set wrapped tightly gives chicken salami its wonderfully concentrated, supple and sliceable texture.
Benefits of Chicken Salami
While traditional pork and beef salami packs huge flavor, it also harbors higher amounts of saturated fat, sodium, nitrates and other preservatives that grow increasingly concerning to health conscious consumers.
Using lean ground chicken as the vessel for your homemade salami means benefitting from significantly:
➢ Less Saturated Fat and Cholesterol ➢ More Lean Protein ➢ Fewer Calories Per Ounce
➢ No Nitrites/Nitrates Used ➢ Ingredient Transparency ➢ Ultimate Customization & Food Safety ➢ Lower Cost Than Commercial Products
Now let’s get seasoning and shaping…
Helpful Tools & Tips for Shaping Chicken Salami
Having the right gear helps streamline the process:
- Sharp knives to mince ingredients
- Food processor for pulsing meat
- Large mixing bowls
- Instant-read thermometer
- Kitchen twine
- Cooling racks
- Large rimmed baking sheets
Tips for Best Results:
- Partially freeze chicken to firm up before mincing
- Use thigh meat over breast meat for ideal fat ratio
- Mix in procuring agents gradually
- Chill dough thoroughly before stuffing casings
- Pack mixture very tightly into wrappings
- Dry uncovered in refrigerator first before ambient air drying
Chicken Salami Recipe
Follow this method for incredible homemade chicken salami sure to impress!
Foolproof Chicken Salami
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken (preferably thighs), partially frozen
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1⁄4 cup dry white wine
- 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Italian herb blend
- 4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Partially freeze chicken for 20-30 minutes until firm but not fully solid. Dice chicken into 1-inch cubes first. Working in batches, pulse cubes in food processor until very finely ground paste forms, about 2 minutes per batch.
- Transfer freshly ground chicken to a large bowl. Mix in all seasonings including salt gradually – taste testing for sufficient seasoning. Mix thoroughly using your hands until spices evenly incorporated.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with double layers of cheesecloth, leaving excess overhang around edges. Transfer chicken mixture atop cheesecloth and shape into a 6-inch log across the center.
- Wrap the chicken tightly by folding the cheesecloth overlap over top the log, pressing to compress meat into an even cylinder, then rolling inward from both open sides simultaneously.
- Secure log forcemeat tightly using kitchen twine tied at 2-inch intervals down the length of wrapped salami. Twist knot ends tightly.
- Place wrapped chicken salami onto cooling rack nestled over a secondary rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels to catch drips. Refrigerate uncovered overnight, flipping once halfway through.
- The next day, hang salami log or keep laying on fresh paper towel-lined trays to allow outer surface to dry at room temperature for approximately 3 days until exterior feels firm. Monitor for any mold development, wiping off immediately with vinegar if needed.
- For prolonged storage, wrap hardened ready-to-eat salami log in plastic wrap followed by zip-top bag removing excess air. Keeps fresh refrigerated for up 3 weeks. Slice thinly across rounds as needed for charcuterie trays or dish toppings.
Incorporate Wine, Citrus and Spices
Feel free to modify this basic chicken salami recipe by playing around with ingredient additions like:
- White Wine/Vinegar – Boosts tang
- Fresh Herbs – Rosemary, thyme, sage, etc
- Seasonings – Smoked paprika, garlic, onions, peppers
- Cheeses – Parmesan, cheddar, feta, goat
- Citrus Zest/Juice – Lemon, lime, orange
- Nuts/Dried Fruit – For textural contrast
- Cured Meats – Pancetta, prosciutto
- Sweet Elements – Maple syrup, honey
Blend a combination of savory, salty, sweet and sour components to balance into a dynamic chicken salami chorus of flavors.
Stuff into Prepared Casings for Authentic Salami Shape
While forming and drying the forcemeat mixture into logs wrapped tightly in cheesecloth works wonderfully, taking shaping a step further by stuffing ingredients into edible collagen casings before drying creates even more traditional salami aesthetics:
- Lean ground chicken (as above)
- Desired spices and seasonings (as above)
- 2 cups cool water
- 1 oz Prague Powder #2
- 1 pkg edible collagen casings
- In a bowl, dissolve Prague powder #2 curing salt completely into the 2 cups cool water. Submerge collagen casings into solution for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
- Pat casings dry. Attach one end to kitchen faucet and run clean water through gently to rinse interior.detach end, emptying water out fully.
- Transfer forcemeat mixture carefully into casing tubing using a funnel on opposite opening, leaving at least 2 inches unfilled at the end. Tie top closed while pinching air out.
- Tie salami rope on both ends then twist into links at 5-6 inch intervals. Prick any air pockets with sterilized needle or skewer.
- Hang salami vertically overnight above a tray before air-drying. Monitor for 30 days until exterior feels firm.
Troubleshooting Homemade Chicken Salami
Q: Why does my chicken salami taste bland?
A: Ensure using sufficient salt up to 2% ratio to total meat weight so flavors shine. Add extra spices, wine, garlic, citrus per personal preference too.
Q: What causes off or unpleasant flavors?
A: Rancid tastes result from fat oxidation. Use freshest ground chicken possible and minimize air exposure when working the mixture.
Q: Why does my salami remain too soft and moist inside?
A: Patience lets enzymes do their work! Allow chicken salami several weeks refrigerated to desiccate and firm up before slicing into.
Q: Is it safe to eat chicken salami without cooking?
A: Yes, because the acids and salt preserve and prevent pathogens from growing similar to commercial cured raw meats.
Homecrafted Chicken Salami – Preserved Pleasure
From traditional Italian-style dry cured sausages to creative ground chicken incarnations infused with global spices and flavors, crafting salami offers a fulfilling way to transform plain ground meat into exciting charcuterie tasty enough to showcase sliced thinly on epic grazing trays or chopped up to garnish vibrant dishes. Follow proper guidelines for handling and fermenting or drying times for superior safety and quality assurance with your homemade creations. Get ready to impress guests with your DIY chicken salami skillset!