To them who have sampled Russian sausage, or kolbasa, the taste may not be significantly different from other sausages from around the world. Kolbasa can be smoked, cured, or raw; also the filling may vary. During the earlier days, it was made from animal blood that then the Orthodox Church banned the believers from consuming it. Today, seasoned minced meat is the common filling of Russian sausage. So, if it is not the taste, then what makes Russian sausage different from others?
Kolbasa during the Soviet time
It is no secret to anyone that not a single product in Soviet society had such social and cultural significance as sausage. It was not just a product, but a kind of symbol of the Soviet system. A sign of prosperity during the years of total deficit, the reason and the most frequent reason for nostalgia for several generations of emigrants, a full-fledged theme of the most diverse forms of folklore and even literary works.
Russians who experienced their childhood during the Soviet time know that their sausage is the tastiest. Cheap food was needed by hungry Russians in the 30s. Anastas Mikoyan went to Chicago to fulfill the order of the party and government – there was the most advanced sausage production at that time. Soviet officials looked at the local meat processing plant and ordered the exact same. However, the sausage recipe was already developed in Moscow.
The revival of Russian sausages took place when the Soviet government was firmly established in Russia. Namely, in April 1936, the People’s Commissioner of the Food Industry Anastas Mikoyan signed an order for the production of new meat products: Doctor’s, Amateur, Tea, Veal and Krakow’s, Dairy, and Hunter’s sausages. Some recipes were developed anew, others were restored from the old days. It is noteworthy that Doctor’s sausage was specially created for patients who have poor health as a result of the Civil War and royal despotism.
The recipe for amending people’s health was verified to the smallest detail: 100 kg of sausage should contained 25 kg of premium beef, 70 kg of semi-fat pork, 3 kg of eggs and 2 kg of cow’s milk. For 70 years, GOSTs have changed for this sausage, and more than once: the war and the Soviet deficit affected. The first varieties of Soviet sausage differed in meat quality. In the “Amateur” and “Doctor” it was of the highest grade. In the same years, more than 20 large meat processing plants were built – in Moscow, Leningrad, Semipalatinsk, Engels, Dnepropetrovsk, Sverdlovsk and other cities, equipped with the most modern equipment for that time.
Doctor’s Sausage and GOST
Something that makes Russian sausage distinctively different from others from around the world is the standard it has. During the Soviet time, GOST was a must to be applied to the mass production of goods consumed by the people. It is a set of standard developed by the government to make sure everything distributed across their territory was of the same quality.
Doctor’s sausage has its own background. At the Mikoyan meat-packing plant in 1936, it was developed with the participation of doctors and approved for the production of sausages – by the GOST standard. Unlike other sausages, this type of sausage should contain minced meat consisted of lean beef and pork, with a minimum of spices, fat and salt. In addition, minced meat for doctor’s sausage was double chopped and ground very carefully. The sausage recipe was suitable for those who suffered from liver and stomach disease, as it could be easily absorbed. The sausage was at first given a proud name “Stalin”, but they caught on very quickly and renamed it “Doktorskaya” or Doctor.
This type of sausage comes from the city of Uglich. It was there, at the beginning of the 20th century, that the recipe for the production of this original sausage was developed. Amateur sausage is a classic cooked sausage of the “A” category. The minced meat is evenly mixed and contains pieces of bacon, the size of which should not exceed 6 millimeters. The calorie content of boiled amateur sausage is 301 kcal per 100 grams of product.
Its composition must include beef, pork and selected salted pork fat. Various additives can be present in it to give the sausage elasticity and juiciness, together with a coloring fixative sodium nitrite and ascorbic acid to prevent carcinogen from forming. The manufacturer must indicate this on the label. The current GOST R 52196-2011 contains the following data on the composition of Amateur sausages: pork, beef, water, table salt, granulated sugar, and spices (black pepper, nutmeg or cardamom).
This cooked sausage has a lot of kilocalories. And the presence of fat is above average, namely 28 kcal. There are a lot of proteins, about 12.2 and absolutely no carbohydrates – only 0.1 grams per 100 grams of product.
Just a part of the sausage included a certain amount of tea leaf, by then it was used as a spice. When tea dust was added to the coarse grinding, the sausage became somewhat darker, but its taste did not change much.
In Soviet time, tea cost very decently, and the fact that it was part of the sausage made it more elite in the eyes of the buyer. So, it was possible to sell it with higher price. According to GOST 1970, tea sausage belonged to the second grade; the length of the loaf should not exceed 50 cm. It should have been straight, with two transverse dressings in the middle.
Now you know what makes Russian sausage different from others; the standard it carries from the Soviet era when GOST was first applied. It has made the original recipes of all types of kolbasa happen from the first place and become the signature of the Russian sausages.