This time I’m not going to give out a recipe, but an experience…In this ocassion I’m learning how to make this delicious spanish product which we so often use from two of my students. One from Usagre (Badajoz, Extremadura), the other from Cabezas del Pozo (Avila, Castilla y León), so two ways to make the same thing. Each learnt from participating from childhood in their town’s “matanzas” (pig slaughter’s). So, this post is dedicated to them…thank you for all you’ve taught me!!!
In Usagre, they used “cerdo ibérico” but since they didn’t cure the hind legs to make ham, all that meat was used for the chorizos. Whereas in Cabezas del Pozo, white pork was used and since the ham was cured to make “jamón serrano”, only the “paletillas” (front legs) and the “falda” (lap) meat were used for this purpose. Also, in the latter white wine was added to the meat, whereas in Usagre only the essential “pimentón”, salt and garlic were used. And this is just about the ingredients…the techniques also differ!I think it’s fascinating how each makes “chorizo” so differently. Though considering no two people make tortilla the same way…it shouldn’t surprise me at all!
The best part about the time we spent making it is how it brings people together…I’m not too keen on the idea of participating in the slaughter (in fact, as a kid I watched one, and was so horrified I could even perceive the smell of that day in the photos my brother took…the only one in the family who could watch!) but the labours after that are a time for everyone to get together, it’s a special event…with the eating & drinking that follows!;) These two days felt a bit like that, a time to enjoy, to talk around the table, each with a job to do from a chain. It’s been so much fun and the second time, Teresa (the one from Avila) even managed to bring 20kg of proper meat for the task from her town…with the “pimentón”…very hot this time, perfect!!
The chorizos are done over two days, the first day, the tripes (these were natural veal ones) are cut to the right size, tied up (well, here again different methods…one tied one side before filling, the other did it after filling, we ended up prefering for ease to tie them up…maybe because we are not experienced!) and soaked overnight. Also, the meat is seasoned with the salt, pimentón, garlic and wine and left to macerate.
The tripes are sold by length in a largeeeee bundle. Here the girls are trying to get hold of it and then cut it up into the desired size.
They ended up being generously long the first time, so the second time Manoli (from Usagre) watched over the sizing to make them smaller!
Then, the thread is cut up too and tied to one side, and finally all is soaked in water and a bit of vinegar (they have a very particular smell!!basically you can smell they are natural tripes!!)
The same day, the minced meat…which shouldn’t be too finely minced. The first time it was too small, we fixed it the second time…this is how it should be!
The “pimentón”, the salt, the mashed garlic and the wine are all weighted out..
…And added and thoroughly mixed in, well, rather kneaded in! In 20kg of meat this is hard work!!
Big difference in colour, isn’t there? Here it all starts…
If it’s cool weather, “matanzas” are usually still in winter or at the end of it, so it’s cool and dry outside, the macerated meat can be left out to mature, otherwise (this second time) use the fridge!
The second day, the tripes are washed thoroughly…
Everything is ready…Here are two batches of meat, one with one, the other without to test which we liked best.
And finally, when everything is ready…"prueba de matanza”. That is, we get to try if the cooked chorizo meat is good or needs adjusting! The one with a bit of wine wins…Seems everyone likes it! No adjusting needed!!
So, let’s begin “embutiendo” (filling the tripes with the macerated meat). I present you the “embutidora”. Teresa brought this one which has been in her family for ages, it’s got so many stories to tell, and now one more!
Each tripe is pulled in, so that there’s no air in as the meat comes out.At the beginning the tripe is pinched with a needle to remove any air.And here it comes…our first chorizo is out!!!It looks so perfect, like the store-bought!
This is just the start of almost 3 hours!
But it went by sooo fast!
There was time for laughs…I even got “Miss Tripe 2011” posing :) (her idea!)
20 kg, 20 meters of tripe later…not bad!
So, time to clean up…
And with the left-over meat, I prepared the picadillo con huevos rotos, here’s the dish wrapped up for later use ;) and everyone takes home chorizos to cure or to eat fresh!
I cured two hanging in a cool room for 2 weeks and with the meat I prepared this picadillo…
For the picadillo (enough for 4 people)
500g of potatoes (choose a waxy type)
400g of macerated chorizo meat*
a bit of olive oil for sautéeing
extra oil for frying the eggs (it can be used oil)
* Before I learnt how to prepare chorizos, I learnt from my parents in law how to prepare the “picadillo”, I did it to taste, but use like for chorizos about 20g of salt and paprika (sweet or hot, to taste) per kg of meat, plus a bit of mashed or grated garlic, and optionally oregano. Ideally prepare this the day ahead.
So for this rustic super simple but suppppeerrr tasty dish, chop up the peeled and washed potatoes in small pieces and stir fry it covered until soft and slightly golden outside with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
You could certainly deep-fry the potatoes but this way I save up oil and just use one pan!
Remove the potatoes onto a dish and add the meat with a bit extra oil. Mash and break apart the minced meat pieces as they cook, or they’ll just be a big conglomerate. This is the like the way “Migas” are prepared (which will come)
When ready, add the potatoes back in so they soak up the tasty chorizo oil!
Remove onto a dish…
I then, clean up the very same pan and fill with some oil for frying the eggs and heat up well. Fry the eggs, remove excess oil and place over the previous mix, break the eggs up to mix and serve…
In the back the two cured chorizos.
Tasty, comforting, filling…it’s worth a try!If not the chorizo, definately the picadillo!