As I mention above, you can use a variety of meats here, plus either pork fat or beef fat. You do need either pork skin or waterfowl skin (duck or goose) to make this a real cotechino. Keep in mind this recipe works as a ratio and can be scaled up. Where I use grams, that indicates a place you need real precision.
500gramslean pork, duck, venison, etc.,cut into chunks
3gramscuring salt no. 1
2teaspoonscoriander seeds,or 1 teaspoon ground
6allspice berries,or 1/4 teaspoon ground
1teaspoonblack peppercorns,or 1/2 teaspoon ground
1/2teaspoonground white pepper
1/4cup white wine,chilled
Start by simmering the skin until it is very tender. Simply simmer the pieces -- remember they will need to ultimately fit into your grinder -- for about 30 minutes if it's duck or goose skin, and 1 hour (or more) for pork. You will know they are ready when they are fragile, easily torn. Set them on a plate or baking sheet to cool completely.
When everything is cool, mix all the ingredients except for the wine together. Set this in a covered container in the fridge overnight. This step helps the sausage bind to itself later, but if you are in a hurry you can skip it. I don't recommend that, though.
The next day, grind everything. I prefer a medium grind (6.5 mm die), but this is up to you. I've seen cotechino with a finer, 4.5 mm grind, as well as a mixture of grinds.
Add the wine to the mixture and with your (very clean) hands, knead and mix it for about 2 minutes, until it forms a cohesive mass you can pick up without bits falling off it. You will also see a sort of white film on the edges of the bowl you are mixing in. That means you are ready.
Stuff your sausages into the beef middles, or whatever it is you are using. If you are using beef middles, chances are you won't be able to stuff them tight initially. Just stuff them as best you can, aiming for individual links about 10 to 14 inches long. They will compress when you tighten them in a moment, so you want the links longer now than they ultimately will be. If you are using hog casings, just stuff as normal. Either way, leave long "tails" of unfilled casing on either side of each link.
When you have your series of individual sausages, loosely stuffed, you now need to compress the mixture in the links. Do this from either side, expelling as much air as possible. You will have big air pockets, most likely. Take a sausage pricker or a needle you sterilized in a flame to pierce the casing at the air pockets. Now gently squeeze the link to fill that air pocket. Now tie off one end of each link. Repeat the process of squeezing and removing air pockets.
When it comes time to tie off the other end of the links, you want to be diligent about removing air pockets -- and you want to tie it off with a loop you can hang your links from. I use kitchen twine for this.
Hang your sausages in a cool place for a few hours if you are not using curing salt, and up to 3 days if you are. You won't likely need to spritz them with water unless your humidity is very low, like under 50 percent. But if it is that dry, spritz the links with water once a day.
When you are ready to cook, fill the largest stock pot you have with water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Add a handful of salt; you want the water to be salty. Poach your links in this at the steaming point, around 160°F, for 1 hour. Remove and cool completely.
You can eat your cotechino this way, or you can sear it, casing on or off. Either way you eat cotechino in slices.