Cerdo criollo negro gigante
This is a local breed, whose ideal habitat is the undergrowth of forests. Up to this day it is mostly bred in small farms (chancheras).
Like all South American pig breeds, it stems from black pigs brought by the Spanish after the Conquista, but in Ecuador the pigs have larger dimensions than in other countries (it is called “gigante” for a reason). It has a black coat with long, thick bristles and a short grunt. These pigs replaced the meat of the native wild peccary, which are similar to pigs but belong to a different family (tayassuidae) in local cuisine. Spanish pigs have adapted to different South American climates and environments over time, and the resulting breeds still make up a large share of the country’s heritage breeds. However, as is the case in most of Latin America, they are increasingly replaced by imported ones, especially from North America, like the American Yorkshire, Duroc or Jersey, with leaner meat and suited for breeding in big farms with the use of hormones and antibiotics.
Once, the consumption of pork was limited to festivals, a luxury reserved for important events such as weddings and thanksgiving feasts. Nowadays, the meat is used in many everyday dishes, like fritada (pork stewed with water, orange juice, cumin, garlic, onion, salt and pepper), hornado (oven roasted pork) and many soups. The lard is used to make mapahuira, a condiment used in a variety of preparations. Originally, lard was the most common fat in local cuisine, used also in the preparation of breads and rice.
Ecuador inherited many ways of preserving pork from the Spanish colonizers; among them ham and sausage production.
This information was processed from the publication «Atlas del Patrimonio Alimentario de la Provincia de Pichincha», by Javier Carrera, Claudia Garcia and Catalina Unigarro, from June 2014, promoted by the Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio del Ecuador, by Valeria Merlo