Mirandesa Sausage

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Mirandesa Sausage

In Portugal, inland travel and transport are made difficult by roads that wind around endless serre or hills-it can take up to three or four hours to travel a hundred kilometers. One can easily imagine what this distance meant for travelers 30 or 40 years ago, and the isolation and remoteness of Portugal’s interior explains the survival of numerous tradition local products and native breeds. Among Portuguese cow breeds, the Mirandesa is considered one of the most valuable and dates back to the Middle Ages. Most Mirandesa are raised on pasture that is occasionally enriched with hay, corn, oats and fava beans. There are over 800 breeders who raise Mirandesa totalling 4,700 head. Like the Mirandesa language, the second language spoken in Portugal, the cow is an important source of identity in and around Miranda do Duoro in the extreme northeast of the country. The medium-sized Mirandesa is characterized by the tuft of hair on its forehead, its dark coat, and large, wide horns. The best cuts of Mirandesa meat are used for assados, or grills, while less-desired parts and the meat of older animals are added to lean beef and pork fat from Bísaro pigs to make smoked sausage. Raised semi-wild, this heritage breed of pig is identifiable by its black spots and large dangling ears. To make Mirandesa sausage, beef is chopped by hand and combined with hunks of bacon. The percentage of beef vary from half up to 7O percent according to preference. The meat mixture is soaked in wine or in water with salt, garlic, bay leaves, and ground sweet and spicy peppers. After two to three days, the meat is removed, placed in pig intestine, and tied with a string. The chouriço, is then cooked over a wood fire, left to dry, and smoked for three to four days. Once it is completely dry, it can be eaten either raw, grilled or boiled.

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Production area:Trás-os-Montes region

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Cured meats and meat products

Nominated by:Fernando Sousa