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Embutido, the guest that can not miss at your table

The Spanish pantry has treasured these products for centuries and that is something. So this Christmas sharpens the knife and not only with your brother-in-law.

Add a quality sausage to your Christmas menu. © Alamy

Excellent national dishes there are many. We take out the paella by flag. The potato omelette is our flag bearer of the national team. The stew heats our palate in winter and the salmorejo refreshes it in summer. That if an octopus feira reminds us that we are lovers of the marine product and a good roast suckling pig that There are gastronomic traditions that we are not willing to abandon.

But if there is a Spanish product to be proud of in each cardinal point of the peninsula - and of the islands, let's not forget - that for which to be able to take out breast (and loin and shoulder and leg and even the viscera), is the sausage. I do not know why it is difficult for us to understand that the sausages, the smoked, the cured, the spaced, the seasoned, the entripated ... they have ceased to be an efficient way to preserve a food to become exquisite products (or gourmet, as you prefer to call it) that everyone wants to serve at their table.

The Italians (alas! The Italian merchants) have understood for years that not only pasta lives abroad and they export like nobody their bologna from Bologna, their ham from Parma or their salami from Genoa or Milan.

With our cured ham (which is strictly not a sausage, but must be on this list for obvious reasons) we are putting the batteries: Spain has just signed an agreement to export it with bone to China. But we must diversify our love chacinero.

This Christmas and, as a purpose for the new year, we invite you to take heavy artillery from the provincial pantries and Tempt your diners with the best sausages in your area. Its aesthetics may have little to do with staging and deconstruction, but if it has been part of our diet since ancient times, it will be something, right? Sharpen the knife, think of an attractive presentation and invite him to your table without qualms because It is the guest that never fails.

Among the appetizers of this year you can not miss the Spanish sausage. © Alamy

CHORIZO

Whether horseshoe-shaped or candle-shaped, chorizo ​​is one of the best known traditional sausages outside our borders. Its typology depends on the ingredients with which it is manufactured and the healing time.

The most appreciated, without a doubt, is that of acorn-fed Iberian, which is usually made with Iberian prey, pen and secret so as not to have to add any type of fat. Then it is marinated with herbs, salt, garlic and paprika. The latter, almost always, D.O. La Vera to guarantee its quality and that light smoky touch that the home of oak or oak wood gives when the red peppers are dehydrated. Then, the ideal is that the sausage of each sausage is done by hand, one by one and in natural gut, and that they are kept in warehouses or dryers for up to five months and without healing accelerators. The cita de Bendita Extremadura is excellent and the Ham de Monesterio comes in a mini size.

Another type of chorizo ​​is that of Pamplona, ​​which had beef in addition to pork and that you will recognize by its greater width, its cut in the form of a grain of rice and the whitish exterior that the flora leaves on the skin. Try Pamplonica's.

Three are the cantimpalos sausages, with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), which are produced in Segovia: string, in one piece and with a cure of at least 21 days, achorizado, which is presented in a string tied and formed by several sausages , and cular, cylindrical and double healing. To know which is the best of the year you have to go to the Cantimpalos Chorizo ​​Fair, which is celebrated in the month of April.

Those of Asturias and León usually smoke and dry in the cold and, in the latter province, there is a spicy one only suitable for daring palates, I recommend that of Embutidos Rodríguez (which has its own livestock), that of Ezequiel, with a shop in the center of León, and Entrepeñas, one of the best known.

Cantimpalos sausage in the Rusticum online store. © Rusticum

SAUSAGE

Cousin-brother of chorizo, sausage is a sausage based on lean pork, bacon, salt and spices such as nutmeg, cloves or black pepper. The firmer, sweet and intense is, again, the Iberian acorn (buy Arturo Sánchez's) and the most consumed, Vich's (Vic Llonganissa), which has a Protected Geographical Indication and has an elongated sausage shape.

Vic Salchichón from Casa Riera Oredeix is ​​made in the historic building of Plaça dels Màrtirs de Vic and with the same traditional method since 1852: only female meat from their own farms, bacon, sea salt and black pepper. its Drying process of up to half a year is so artisan that temperature and humidity are controlled simply by opening and closing windows to control the effect of the climate of the Plana de Vic on sausages. It also has a variety of Payés sausage that is characterized in that the casing is coated with a layer of natural pepper that gives it a very special spicy flavor.

Ah! And, please, never confuse with the fuet. I think it is something that we all have clear thanks to the ads of Casa Tarradellas, but just in case, remember: the fuet is much thinner, more fatty, does not usually carry pepper and its healing time is much shorter.

Vic sausage from Casa Riera Oredeix is ​​made and dried in the Plaça dels Màrtirs building. © Casa Riera Oredeix

LOIN

"When there is no tenderloin, everything like", the saying goes, but, if there is, it can be stuffed (with white pigs), Iberian bait, field bait or Iberian acorn. The pasture charra, and more specifically the region of Guijuelo (D.O.), is the most optimal healing scenario for the Iberian loin thanks to the winds coming from the nearby mountains.

In Julián Martín they spice up the whole piece before curing it six months with Jaraíz de la Vera paprika, salt and natural spices and thus get a 100% Iberian acorn loin silky, juicy, veined and very healthy, because, in addition to the pigs being fed with acorns in the field, it hardly contains fat and its ingredients are completely natural.

Too Jabugo's Iberian loin is much appreciated It comes from a good family! Bet on the 100% Iberian pig loin cane from Sierra de Jabugo, with a cure of between 80 and 90 days.

100% Iberian acorn loin from Julián Martín. © Julián Martín

DRIED MEAT

For those of us from León, the cecina is the (accompaniment) of our daily bread, however until recently It was a rather unhappy sausage in the rest of the country. Today we can say that his fame goes in crescendo Thanks, other things, to the improvement of its elaboration process.

The Cecina de León Protected Geographical Indication indicates that the only ingredients used must be beef and salt. What may seem like a very simple recipe, is actually a complex procedure It consists of six chronological phases: profiling, salting, washing, settlement, smoking (with oak or oak wood) and drying or curing. And more if it is done by hand during the coldest times of the year (from November to March).

The so-called 'ham of Entrepeñas' is made in the Leon town of Geras de Gordón, where thanks to the altitude and, therefore, the frequent frosts during the long winters, you get the perfect balance between the lean part of the meat and the delicate streaks of fat. It also sells a Reserve version that, instead of having seven months of cure, remains more than 12 months drying, and another more novel Beef D.O. certified Kobe which stands out for its refined marble and its extreme juiciness.

Beef jerky from Entrepeñas made with Kobe meat. © Entrepeñas

HAM

Sharpen your senses to find the ham with which to triumph this Christmas. With your eyes check the fat and color, with smell (through the cove) let yourself be impregnated with its aroma, with the touch check the healing, with pleasure enjoy the nuances of the piece ... And with the ear? Well, pay attention to the recommendations of the experts, that the mouth-ear is still the most effective when it comes to getting it right.

For example, in the last edition (2016) of the Food of Spain Award for Best Ham, in the Serrano category, the female aged Serrano ham of the ETG Jamón Serrano de Nico Jamones, S.L. "A quality, healthy and affordable product", This is how they refer to their serrano hams for "every day". The award-winning 100% Iberian acorn was Encinares del Sur, from the D.O.P. The Pedroches (in the north of Córdoba).

The rest of the Denominations of Origin of the Iberian Ham of Spain created by the Ministry of Agriculture are: D.O.P. Guijuelo (Why not a Joselito?, Who rightly proclaim themselves "the best ham in the world"), D.O.P. Jabugo Ham (the famous Cinco Jotas has been produced here since 1879) and D.O.P. Extremadura pasture (Maldonado Albarragena ham claims to be the first in the world with a DNA certificate: the Department of Molecular Genetics of the University of Córdoba has confirmed the racial purity of its animals).

The cut of the Iberian ham is almost as important as the quality of the piece. © D.O.P. Extremadura pasture

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