Lukanka - The Roman Discovery Capturing the World
Distinct in nature, cured kolbasa deserves a spot at your table.
While the preparation of cured kolbasa has become something of a ritual for many, lukanka and sujuk remain especially beloved on the Balkan peninsula. And though the production of cured kolbasa encompasses multiple stages, it’s vital that, even when prepared at home, the final product meets specific standards.
For those unable to imagine its taste, let alone exert the effort to produce their own, today producers of Meats & Deli offer a wide range of quality products which can even be purchased online: https://www.serdikabg.com/dried-meats
May the era of customer convenience long continue!
What is Lukanka?
Lukanka is a semi-cured kolbasa reddish-brown in color, recognizable for its typical flattened shape and “noble” white mold. Encased in cow intestines, the types of meat most often used in its production combine beef and pork; while the spices include black pepper, salt, and cumin.
Drying requires a cool and airy environment capable of creating the prerequisite conditions for its pronounced taste while, according to true craftsmen, a higher percentage of veal or game meat lends itself to quicker drying.
The local microclimate and microflora are also key, and the respective location may be used as a benchmark to authenticate its origins and quality.
Looking back in history, though, allows one to discover some interesting facts.
It turns out that this rich delicacy was conceived by the Romans, who called it lucanica, chiefly as a result of its distribution throughout the present-day state of Lucania in southern Italy. In fact, the delicacy’s rich quality is mentioned in accounts by notable authors like Cicero and Martial.
A first century cooking publication attributed to Apicius includes an individual recipe for the preparation of lukanka and sujuk. Interestingly, and aside from the established traditional methods, the recipe includes additions like boiled egg yolk, ground cedar nuts, and herb mixtures. A known gastronomist with an exceptionally fine taste, Apicious loved to experiment in the kitchen.
With greater urban industrial development and stricter norms, good practices and suitable guidelines for production little by little made their way throughout Europe.
Widely popular throughout Eastern Europe, it’s assumed that the Smyadovska lukanka - from the city of Smyadovo in the Shumen region - emerged from a classic Hungarian recipe.
The recipe, traced back to Hungarian and Polish butchers who in the nineteenth century opened a factory for the production of cured kolbasa, calls for a mix of pork and beef. Pork from the Eastern Balkan breed of pig is used while for the beef, cows or buffalo from the Iskar region of Bulgaria.
Preparation includes cutting the meat into smaller slices, cooling them for curing, and additionally portioning them with the respective spices. Next is the filling, draining, and drying. In contrast to other types of lukanka, a special cold smoking at an approximate temperature of 17 degrees celsius is used for a period of 3-4 days. Finally, the meat is pressed to give it its standard shape, and then dried for a minimum of a month and a half.