Tag Archives: sausage

“El Bulli” and “Linguiceira”

14 Apr

Last week, during a trip to the most wonderful island in this world, the Isl. of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil were the city of Florianópolis is located, I had the privilege of receiving two fantastic gifts from my two brothers-in-law, Rodolfo and Reynaldo (they’re not so bad after all).

1. Rodolfo has a daughter, Julia, who happens to live in France and to be a very close friend of the acclaimed Chef Mauro Colagreco.  Mauro Colagreco is the chef de cuisine of Mirazur, a modern restaurant set in  Menton, on the Côte d’Azur right at the Italian border. He earned his first Michelin star in 2007. In the same year Gault Millau, the French restaurant guide, named Mirazur newcomer of the year (Révélation Gault Millau de l’Année).  Chef Colagreco was born in the La Plata province, Argentina, and after travelling throughout Latin America arrived in Paris to cook with the finest chefs, like Bernard Loiseau at La Côte d’Or, Alain Passard at L’Arpège and Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénee.

Well, Chef Colagreco and my niece Julia went to Spain for a visit to the 3-Michelin star Chef Ferran Adriá and his world-famous “El Bulli“.  There, they received, from the hands of Chef Adriá himself (and I like to imagine him asking Chef Colagreco to give it to me as a personal sign of his appreciation for this most amazing blog) a copy of “Un dia en El Bulli” (A Day at El Bulli).  Guess I don’t need to add anything else, except maybe for a special thanks to Mauro and Julia.

A Day at El Bulli (The Veuve Clicquot Ponsirdin was a most welcomed extra)

2. Reynaldo was in Itajaí, a city colonized by Portuguese from Madeira and Azores Islands, were he was introduced to a “linguiceira”, or “chouriceira” as it’s called in Portugal.  “Linguiceira” is a clay pot specially designed to prepare “linguiças” (sausages).  He thought of me and immediately brought one home, which now happens to be at my kitchen.

The “linguiceira” is a plain round clay pot with a kind of clay grill at the bottom.  You have to place some alcohol (ethanol)  in it (bellow the grill of course), place your sausage on top (I prefer a smoked sausage similar to the German “Mettwurst“), and last but not least, light the fire. As the alcohol burns it heats up the sausage, which releases some of its fat which then feeds the flames (they are blue at the beginning, turning red as fat starts to burn). After a few minutes you are ready to have a wonderful snack (we had it with some Pita bread and Veuve Clicquot while talking about El Bulli and Chefs Colagreco and Adriá).  The sausage, produced in Pomerode (the most German city in Brazil), was rather similar to the “Holsteiner” variety, typical of northern Germany.  You can have an idea of the whole process observing the pictures bellow:

Starting of the process - burning alcohol placed at the bottom

Stage 2 - Fat released from the sausage starts to burn

Time to turn it around

Enjoy it!

German sausage, prepared in a Portuguese way by Brazilian cooks, and eaten with Middle Eastern bread and French champagne while enjoying a Spanish book . Can anything else be more Borderless?????

Linguiceira

Die Wurst

15 Dec

Food conservation, since the most ancient times, has always been a problem, as it was (and still is) the single most important way of assuring a continuous and adequate food supply for an ever-growing population. One very old method for preserving meat is the preparation of sausages, which by 500 BC were already known in China, Rome and Greece. This history probably had its beginning when man learned that salt could be used as a meat preservative (the word sausage itself is believed to come from “salsus“, the Latin word for salt).

Presently sausages can be found either fresh or cured. Fresh sausages can be conserved for shorter periods of time, being usually kept under refrigeration. Cured sausages, which can be cooked or dried, however, can last much longer. The curing process can involve a variety of techniques and agents, such as salt, smoke, nitrates, nitrites and even sugar.

Germany is, I believe, the champion of sausage making, and thus no trip to this country would be complete without a visit to a “Wursthaus”. Guess the pictures speak for themselves.

Buying "Wurst" at "Schlemmermeyer", downtown Heidelberg/Germany

"Wurst"...

More "Wurst"...

More "Wurst"...

And more "Wurst"

The state of “Santa Catarina“, where I happen to have been born, still exhibits very strong signs of a 19th century European immigration, the vast majority of the population being descendants of those European settlers. Among these are the Germans, which started to arrive in 1828, and have formed large colonies. Even today, in some areas of the state, towns exist where over 90% of the population is composed of German descendents, and the German language is fluently spoken. No wonder German tradition, including the preparation of sausages, is still much alive in these areas.

During my last trip to Florianopolis, the capital of Santa Catarina state, which itself was founded by Portuguese, I had the opportunity of visiting an open-air market, where “colonos” (people from the original German and Italian colonies) come to sell sausages, cheese, bread, and other products prepared at home or at small family owned factories.

Sausages at the market in Florianopolis/Brazil

More sausages at the market in Florianopolis/Brazil

More sausages, and some smoked pork ribs, at the market in Florianopolis/Brazil

More sausages, and some smoked pork ribs, at the market in Florianopolis/Brazil

And some more sausages from Santa Catarina/Brazil

Literally hundreds of sausages varieties exist (as you can easily figure out from the above pictures), a sample of which can be found at the Cook’s Thesaurus. If you have any interest on the subject, and would like to prepare your own sausages at home (why not?), I suggest you start by taking a look at “The art and practice of sausage making“, published by the North Dakota State University and freely available on the net. I’m quite sure the end result will be much better than most of the products you’re presently getting from your supermarket.

German Sausage on Foodista

“Churrasco”, the Brazilian BBQ

3 Sep

The most southern Brazilian state is Rio Grande do Sul, the larger part of which, as well as parts of Uruguay and Argentina, is covered by the pampas.  From these flat lands, with a vegetation which favours cattle raising, comes some of the best meat in the world.

Using this wonderful meat, the “gauchos”, designation of the South American cowboys as well as residents of the Rio Grande do Sul state, developed a particular way to prepare BBQ, here called “churrasco”:  plenty of meat, coarse sea salt as condiment and wood or charcoal fire.  If you season the meat with anything different from salt, or if you don’t use wood or charcoal, you can’t call that a “churrasco”. And this is not a matter of opinion, it’s the law.  And when I say the law, I mean it.  This whole thing is so important in Rio Grande do Sul that it has found its place in the state legislation (State Law RS no. 11,929/2003).

The Brazilian “churrasco” is equivalent to the “parrillada” in Uruguay and Argentina, also prepared by “gauchos”.

One of the most common beef cuts employed are ribs, which are slowly grilled, at times for more than 6 hours, resulting in a very, very tender meat that almost detaches itself from the bone.  Nevertheless, due to high fat content, the meat remains juicy and tasty. You can see here a young fellow preparing “picanha” (rump steak, I believe), another common cut (notice the fat and the amount of salt used).

Well, ribs are what I had for dinner last night over Renan’s house, a very nice friend who remembered me when he decided to prepare some “churrasco”.

The "churrasco" pit ("churrasqueira") with some pork sausages and the beef ribs

The "churrasco" pit ("churrasqueira") with some pork sausages and the beef ribs (note that the ribs are grilled with the bone side down, being turned only 10-15 min before serving)

The perfect rib after a couple of hours over the fire: very tender and juicy

The perfect rib after a couple of hours over the fire: very tender and juicy

Hope Renan keeps remembering me for quite a long time.

Beef Rib on Foodista

Just a snack – Away for a couple of weeks

17 Jul

Next week I’m leaving on vacation, finaly.  From the “little snack” below try to guess in which two countries I’m planning to spend most of the time .

Black pudding (blood sausage) and Gorgozola cheese

Black pudding (blutwurst, blood sausage) and Gorgozola cheese

We had that on a cold night, a few days ago, with a bottle of red wine and some fresh bread, and although it was really nice we decided to run towards summer with a couple of friends (Renan and Leila).

“Carreteiro”, a peasant dish from Southern Brazil

26 Jun

Last night I was invited for dinner at a friend’s house, on the menu “Carreteiro”, a traditional peasant dish from the state of Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil).  Carreteiro means carriege (or wagon, or coach) driver, and is presently used as a reference to the large truck drivers.The basic idea behind the dish is to keep it cheap, simple, easy and fast to prepare, but at the same time nutritious.  Something that even a wagoner or truck driver could do during a short stop.

The most traditional recipe calls for a dried beef (known as “charque”), as no refrigeration was available for these workers, but it can also be prepared with sausages.  Last night my friend used a smoked German style sausage (similar to “mettwurst“).

The other basic ingredient is rice, and thus it may seem similar to risotto.  Nevertheless, differently from its Italian cousin, the rice is left alone during cooking, so that starch is not released (truck drivers usually don’t want to spend their time stirring rice). The final result is a quite looser, but still moist, rice.  These days, with the risotto invasion, unfortunately there has been a tendency to make carreteiro and risotto look and taste more and more similar.   Even some strange ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce or ketchup have been added.  Diced tomatoes are added in some recipes.

Chop the sausages in small irregular cubes (around 0,5 cm).  In a cast iron casserole lay 2 spoons of oil (originally pork fat – “banha”) and fry for a couple of minutes some diced onion and garlic.  Add the sausage and fry it for another couple of minutes.  Then, add the rice, fry it for one minute, pour boiling water and salt to taste.  Now, leave the room!  Resist the temptation of stirring the rice like in a risotto.  Let the low heat do its job.  Leave the lid a bit open giving room to steam.  Add water if needed.  When ready (rice al dente) remove from the heat, close the lid, and let the carreteiro rest for another couple of minutes.  The cooking processes should take around 15-20 min.  Remember, no stirring.  As I’ve said, the rice should be loose but moist. Serve with freshly chopped parsley, spring onions and hard boiled egg.

As a side dish we had a green leaves salad with dried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.

Sausage "carreteiro"

Sausage "carreteiro"

Green leaves, dried tomatoes and mozarella

Green leaves, dried tomatoes and mozzarella

German Sausage on Foodista

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