Advent in Hungary means not only the preparation for Christmas, but it’s also the season of pig killing. At this time of year the loud noise of gas cylinders resounds through the towns and villages, and culinary wonders are being born in the kitchens. One of those wonders, besides sausage, is hurka, which plays an important role in our everyday life.
Hurka is a kind of sausage filled in pig’s small intestines. In Hungary there are two main types of hurka: véres (blood) and májas (liver) hurka. Májas hurka is a mixture of liver, bacon, some fatty meat and rice. It may also contain heart and/or lung, and onions sautéed in lard. The main spices of hurka are salt, pepper and paprika. Marjoram is optional, if you like it, you can add it, too, to your hurka.
You don’t need to kill your own pig to make hurka at home, you just have to find a good butcher who can supply you with high quality pork parts. In our family we make hurka according to the following recipe, but please, consider it a suggestion, feel free to change the ingredients and quantities, depending on your notion and taste.
You need to obtain the following items from your butcher:
- 2 kg (~4 1/2 lbs) pork liver
- 1 pork lung (~1 lb)
- 700-800 g (~1 1/2 – 1 3/4 lbs) unsmoked bacon / pork fat (e.g. jowl)
- 300-400 g (~2/3 – 3/4 lb) fatty meat (e.g. shoulder)
- 800 g (~1 3/4 lbs) rice
- 2-3 big onions + 2 tbsp lard
- approx. 80-90 g (~2 3/4 oz) salt (or to taste)
- approx. 40-60 g (~1 1/2 – 2 oz) ground black pepper (or to taste)
- marjoram to taste (2-3 pinches) – optional
- 1 tbsp paprika
- approx. 5-6 m natural casings (small intestines)
Soak casings to remove salt.
Place liver, bacon (skin removed) and meat in a large pot of water and cook until very tender. It’s recommended to bind the liver with a piece of twine onto the loop handle of the pot because liver tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
In another pot cook the rice until tender. Drain and let it cool.
In a pan heat 2 tablespoons of lard and sauté the finely chopped onions until soft and slightly caramelized.
Once the liver, bacon and meat are cooked, cut them into chunks and grind them. Grind the sautéed onions as well. Season the mixture with paprika, salt and pepper, and you may add some marjoram too if you want. Mix them up with your hand until well combined.
Stuff the casings loosely otherwise hurka will split during cooking. Tie the ends of each link.
Place 1-2 or more hurka in a colander (quantity depends on colander’s size) and parboil them for 2-3 minutes in slowly simmering water. Take out the hurka and dip into cold water immediately. Transfer them onto wooden boards and in a cool place let them dry.
You can cook hurka instantly or the following day you can freeze them.