Do you 'nduja or sobrassada?

Animal or vegetable which is which? answer below

I say sobrassada, some might say 'nduja ( pronounced en-DOO-ya).
So is 'nduja sobrassada? Absolutely not. 'Nduja and sobrasada are similar products in terms of texture, but their heritage and flavour profiles are different, with 'nduja hailing from Italy, and sobrasada from the Balearics.

What is unquestionable is that  'nduja is the "sausage of the moment”. 'Nduja sausage is a food phenomenon, taking off all over the world on the rocket fuel of its spicy flavour, spreadable texture and culinary versatility.
It’s one of those foods where the first taste amazes you. The fermented flavour of Calabrian chilli has something of the tabasco sauce about it, but married to a meaty, rich pork flavour. Spicy 'nduja is the charcuterie in vogue, so hot right now. It’s a spicy, cured, soft sausage from Calabria likened to “‘flaming liquid salami,’ ‘spicy pork butter’ and, from one heartfelt fan, ‘the spreadable Italian love child of pepperoni and French rillettes.' Sounds great, but it made me think of a similar sausage that the Thespian told me about, when he returned from a press trip to Majorca some years ago, called sobrassada. It’s actually native to Majorca, but has spread all over the Spanish coast. It’s also soft and spreadable like ‘nduja, but made with piquillos and paprika instead of chillies. They must be related, right? Turns out, (reportedly) 
that the best sobrassada comes from the Soller valley in Majorca, and some of its original inhabitants (15th century) were from Calabria. Since chillies weren’t discovered by the Europeans until they found the New World in the late 15th century, the sausages in their current form couldn’t have existed when the Calabrian colonists arrived in Majorca. However, there is most likely a connection. I love discovering stuff like this.So finally after all these years I set myself a challenge.Never having tasted Sobrassada before but seen some pretty unappealing specimens on supermarket shelves, I set out to make my own home made sobrassada spread. First of all having checked the labels on some of these products I found they were full of additives colourants and enhancers.I already had the upper hand by knowing exactly what was going into my sobrasada.Having been put off  tasting sobrassada by the thespian who frowned upon it, the second part of my experiment would be to make a plant based version of it using the same ingredients but finding a substitute for the chouriço and then taste test the two.My substitute would be sundried tomatoes.For both versions I threw every spanish flavour known to man at it. So here is how I did it......

My traditional sobrasada incorporating Chouriço

Sobrassada spread
Recipe makes 10 portions approx.
1kg Chourico Dulce, diced small
1 cup Marcona almonds
1 cup manchego cheese, grated
4 piquillo peppers
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika 
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 cup(s) cold water

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse to combine until smooth and creamy. 
Add cold water as needed for smoother spread.

Plant based version substituting sundried tomatoes

Plant based sobrasada
For this recipe I omitted the manchego cheese and used cashews in place of the almonds

100 g sun-dried tomatoes  dried or preserved in oil in a jar )
70 g cashews
100 g piquillo peppers / roasted red pepper or jarred red pepper 
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup shallots, chopped
20 g extra virgin olive oil
1tsp Red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Tsp Dried Oregano 
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

If using dried tomatoes not the jarred variety allow 30 minutes soaking time in boiling water
drain the water before adding to the blender.Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and process until you achieve asmooth consistency.

THE VERDICT: My thoughts were confirmed that the sundried tomato when used as a substitute provided the smoky flavour given by the chouriço in the first version.The traditional sobrassada is very rich and strong in flavour due to the fat content in the chouriço whereas the tomato based version is lighter on the palate although still carrying a very similar and distinctive flavour.Surprise surprise and I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but just by a narrow margin the vegan or plant based version won the day.
Animal or vegetable? 
The one on the left is the traditional version and the plant based one is on the right


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