Boubari sausages, which are made all over rural Greece as a part of the pig slaughter tradition “Choirosfagia”, have their roots in ancient times and in the making of “hematies”. “Hematies” are precursors of sausages. Their consumption was forbidden during the early days of the Byzantine Empire. Nowadays, we come across this type of sausage in many parts of Greece by a different name such as “maties”, “boubari” or “babo”, which are the names of the local specialties. Ground wheat groats, known as “bligiri” in greek, were added in “aimaties” instead of rice that is used today. So, we chose to add ground wheat groats instead of rice in this traditional recipe, as well. I’m sharing with you a brief summary of the historical information about “Boubari sausage”, after reading the book “Sausages and salt-cured meat products” by our friend George Karagiannis, who is our partner in our Youtube channel. This book provides essential knowledge for making sausages and other salt-cured meats through the 250 recipes from all around Greece. It’s true that lamb or mutton offal is more popular than pork offal, but back in the day, they didn’t throw away any part of the meat, not even the bladder. They used to inflate it and use it as a ball; I’ve kicked a ball like this. Those of you who are about my age (55+) and come from a rural area, you have definitely played football with the so-called “bubble”. It was a shame to throw away any part of the animal; they even kept the gall and used it as a medicine. That’s why when we were little and refused to eat all the food on our plate, they would tell us it’s a sin (shame) to throw it away. This matter has many extensions that I won’t be addressing now. However, it’s a part of our culture, and exploring our traditions makes us better and wiser. Food should be a part of this exploration, as well. Let me conclude by sharing something that our friend George Karagiannis writes in his books “Our gastronomic tradition and culture are inseparable”. I would like to add that it’s our debt to preserve our culture.
Boil a large pot of water. Once you bring it to a boil, blanch the offal. Leave the offal in the hot water until foaming. Then, discard the hot water and rinse the offal with cold water. When it is completely cool, cut it into very small pieces - dice size. Then, finely chop all the herbs and vegetables. In a stone mortar, crush all of the spices along with the salt.
In a large, wide pot, add the olive oil. When it is fully heated, add the onion and cook it until it softens. Then, add the chopped offal and stir well until lightly browned. Pour in 250 ml of white wine. Remove the pot from the stove and add the spices while stirring.
Soak the groats for half an hour. In a large bowl, add the spinach, the leek, the soaked groats, and the herbs. Mix and add the mustard. Wash the intestines thoroughly and stuff them with the mixture. You need to be careful not to overdo it, though. Tie each end of the filled sausage casing and place the sausage in a clay baking tray, on top of grapevine twigs.
After you have prepared the sausages, preheat the indirect wood-fired oven for the cooking session. In the fire chamber, place kindling and thin pieces of dry hardwood on top. Light the fire and add thicker pieces of dry hardwood on top. When the temperature reaches 200⁰C/392⁰F approximately and the fire has burnt down to embers, it’s time to cook the boubari sausages. Use a fine needle to poke holes in the casings to allow the steam to escape. Place the clay baking tray in the oven’s upper chamber and cook for 1.5 hours, approximately. Before placing it in the oven, you can mix two tablespoons of mild mustard and two tablespoons of olive oil and coat the sausage casings.
It’s served warm. It’s an excellent appetizer to pair with your wine and to share with your friends. Happy cooking with your friends!