It rhymes with burrito, and it also looks like one when still wrapped. What could it be?
If you answered, “Embutido!”, you’re so right that you can’t get any more right.
Embutido is, in blanket terms (no pun intended), sausage in the countries influenced by Madre España, with the exception of its Pacific island child: the Philippines, in which embutido is steamed meatloaf and longaniza is an embutido. (I hope you enjoy word play as much as I do, dear reader.) Some recipes call for baking the cylindrical-shaped meat instead of steaming. In my case, I used sous-vide to cook the seasoned ground meat by first shaping it in a plastic wrap, then wrapping foil over it. Sous-vide is a cooking method that involves sealing the food in tightly-sealed plastic bags and requires a longer cooking time than usual because of its below normal cooking temperature.
For faster cooking, go with either steaming or baking. Steaming begins at 100°C/212°F under standard temperature and atmosphere conditions. Keep in mind that depending on the cooking method you choose, the taste will vary and also the texture: moist vs dry. However, baking grants you a meat log (embutido is not exactly a “loaf”, is it) that’s a bit caramelized. Quite tasty if you ask me.
Sous-vide particularly makes for a juicier result. Because sous-vide is generally around 60 °C/140°F, it’s important to consider USDA’s recommended cooking temperatures for meat and to keep a thermometer handy in order to check the meat’s internal temperature. I kept my water below simmering point, but still higher than the typical temperature used in sous-vide. When it comes to cooking meats, I tend to be cautious.
Embutido requires some creativity from the maker as the various recipes out there always include different types of aromatics along with vegetables and fruits, and even chopped sausages and whole eggs. As the maker, you can either keep it simple and use your favorite seasonings and spices, or go all out and do a version of turducken using all ground poultry, of course.
1 lb ground meat
1/2 cup minced onions
1/4 cup diced bellpeppers
1/4 cup raisins
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
dash of paprika
If baking, set the oven at 350°F. If steaming or using sous-vide, begin heating your water to reach the recommended temperature. Mix all the ingredients together and set aside. Tear out 4 sheets of plastic wrap and 4 sheets of aluminum foil about 12-inch width. Prep the wrappers by placing a plastic wrap sheet on top of a foil sheet. Repeat three more times. On top of the plastic wrap put a quarter of your mixture and form the meat mixture into a log. Tightly wrap the mixture with the plastic sheet and tuck the ends. Repeat the wrapping method with the foil. Repeat three more times. If you prefer a smaller shape, size your wrappers to 6-inch width and form about 1/8 of the mixture for each wrapper. To cook, sous-vide, steam, or bake.
Smile and serve with your favorite condiment.