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The Iraqi Family Cookbook

The Iraqi Family Cookbook
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Basturma-Iraqi Breakfast Sausage باسطرمة عراقية


This is a special sausage that we made during winter. These sausages were made by the Armenian community living in Iraq.  They hang it in the deli shops. We made it at home, and had the whole family  in the kitchen spending hours to prepare this delectable sausage. We ask the butcher to grind the lamb and beef together. Sometimes we used to grind the meat at home. We also purchased beef casings (Sandaweelat) from the butcher shop. We put the meat in a big bowl, add lots of chopped garlic, Arabian spice, Cumin and salt. We mixed it well and put it in the refrigerator for a day or two for the flavors to blend together.
Then we stuffed the casing with meat while pressing on the filling to remove air pockets. We tie the ends and lay the basturma on a table. We placed a board on top, and placed heavy bricks on top of the board to flatten the basturma. After a few hours, we hung the basturma in the cellar away from the sun, with the window open to dry the sausage. The drying process takes a week to 10 days. Then we store the basturma in the refrigerator. It makes a light dinner or a nice brunch. I made this basturma and hang it in the garage. Make sure to peel the casing off before frying it.
 I use a shortcut now. I prepare the filling and shape the meat into an oval and put them in freezer bags and store them in the freezer t o use whenever needed. Here is an easy recipe for basturma.
½ pound ground lamb
½ pound ground beef (80% lean)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arabian spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon oil for frying
Put all the above ingredients in a bowl except the oil. Knead the mixture for 5 minutes to make a soft paste. Cover in a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Remove from the refrigerator. Take half of the mixture in your hand and shape it into an oval. Place it in a freezer bag and make sure to remove the air from the bag. Place it on a flat surface in the freezer. When you need to use the basturma, take it out of the freezer the night before and place in the refrigerator. The next day, it will be half frozen, but easy to cut.
Heat oil in the pan and sauté the slices for five minutes on each side. Crack some eggs over and cover the pan for 2 minutes until the eggs are set. Sprinkle Arabian spice over the eggs and serve it with bread.