A dish made traditionally after the matanza at christmas or for carnival…a winter feast. A robust, hearty dish very typical and popular in Galicia:
Grelos – these are turnip tops, you can substitute this with cabbage but it is not the same without these bitter winter greens.
touciño – this is like salted pork belly or pancetta but in a big piece, not chopped up
costilla – salted pork or beef rib
cacheira – half a pigs head – this is optional!
You can add any salted meat that you can get to this dish really and also chicken
Put a big pan of water on the stove and add the salted meat and the chickpeas (the chickpeas are kept together during the cooking process in a linen bag). Bring the water to the boil and cook for a couple of hours till the meat and chickpeas are tender but not disintegrating. Remove them from the water and set aside. Now add to this same water the peeled potatoes and the chorizo (the chorizo should not boil for more than 20 minutes), boil til cooked. In a separate pan using some of the same stock from the meat cook the grelos till tender. Drain them, fry some garlic in olive oil and use this to dress the grelos.
Take some of the stock from the meat/potatoes/chorizo and add this to the chickpeas that have been set aside, they are now ready. Then it is just a matter of cutting up the meat and putting everything on a plater.
Galicians tend to like their meat fatty, i think this stems from the need to fuel up for the harsh winters and all the physical labour that such an agrarian landscpe required…It is not refined cooking but what it may lack in aesthetics it more than makes up for in flavour.
Any stock that is left over is unbelievably tasty, you just need to cook a little vermicelli pasta in it and you have a delicious sopa de fideus – pasta soup.
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The matanza continues…(like i say it’s raining, what else is there to do??). We make chorizo sausages. Not just with dis-guarded parts of the pig that don’t belong in any of the joints that are portioned out by the butcher, we put in choice parts like the loin and the shoulder. We have a small mountain of meat to chop up, this is an artisanal product and everything is done by hand. The ratio of meat to fat is about 65% meat to 35% fat. Then it is very simple…
Garlic, salt, sweet paprika and chilli powder are added and that is it. It is all mixed up and left to marinade for 2 days.
This mixture is called zorza and it already smells wonderfully like chorizo. After day one you take a little of the mixture and fry it to taste it and adjust the seasoning accordingly. One more day of marinading and the zorza is ready to be made into chorizo sausages.
I kind of like this process, after getting over the obvious rude bit…it takes some skill to fill the skins just so without bursting them, and then each individual sausage is tied with string. Making chorizos like this is a very labour intensive process, our fingers are raw from the tying off part by the end, but it is very satisfying. In the end we produce around 500 sausages.
The chorizos are now hung to cure around an open fire-place (the lareira) in a well ventilated room…
Perks of the job, with the matanza comes the pleasure of the choicest of cuts for your lunch, here the pork loin is simply fried in olive oil with some salt and garlic and a few slices of apple thrown in for good measure. Simple and delicious:
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