Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Carnea de porc

"Popular cuts of pork"

 The pig in Romania is certainly an animal from which you can use everything except the squeak, and the Christmas period is the pig’s crowning moment (if you can call being slaughtered for food such). The supermarkets mostly only sell the more popular cuts of pork but there are many smaller stores popping up around Bucharest where more traditional and lesser known pork-based products can be found. Even some of the larger supermarkets have jumped on the ‘traditional local produce’ bandwagon and have started supplying similar products.

As a foreigner in Romania I’ve always thought it would be useful to have a guide to some of the cuts of pork and the products made from them (and to know what goes in them). I’ve never found one so I thought I might as well post my own guide. I’m not a butcher by trade nor an expert, so if you spot any omissions or errors please feel free to comment so I can correct the guide.
Firstly, let’s begin with the regular cuts of meat:
Piept de porc /pee-ept de pork/– this is the belly. It usually consisted of the ribs, the flesh, a layer of fat, and the skin. Some of the supermarkets with sell it ‘fara grasime’ which means ‘without fat’. There’s still plenty of fat in it, so don’t worry, but they’ve removed the thickest fatty strata and the skin. Belly is great in many dishes – it grilled well on skewers, roasts perfectly, and can be minced up to make sausages or meatballs.
Ceafa de porc /cha-fa de pork/– this is a cut from the back of the neck. It generally comes in thick steak-like slabs. It grills very well, having fat marbled through it, and it can also be cut up into chunks for stews.
Cotlet de porc /cot-let de pork/– The cutlet usually comes from the upper part of the rib area. Cutlets are usually bone free and quite low in fat (comparatively speaking, of course). They are good on the barbeque, but can be a little dry, so I recommend a good marinate. They can also be hammered thin and turned into schnitzel. Look for the antricot /an-tree-cot/ (from the middle of the back) and the vrabioara /vra-bee-wah-ra/ (near the rear).
Muschi de porc /mush-key de pork/– This is the muscle from the rear part of the spine, the tenderloin. It’s very versatile and can be chopped and fried or grilled. I generally like to keep it whole and roast it, perhaps with a coating of herbs and spices.
Pulpa de porc /pull-pa de pork/– this is the ham or the thigh. It can be used for various cured meat products but is commonly considered the best cut for a friptura (thick-cut steak). Cooked on the bone at a low temperature in the oven, the pulpa is an excellent joint for roasting too.
Fleica de porc /flay-ka de pork/– another cut from the belly of the pig, towards the rear legs. The supermarkets commonly sell it in strips and due to its fatty content it’s quite good for chopping and frying or mincing into meatballs or sausages. It’s often found smoked (afumata).
Rasol de porc /ra-sol de pork/ – the rasol is the hock, part of the legs, and can be called rasol din fata (front hock) or rasol din spate (rear hock). Supermarket cuts tend to be sold in laterally-cut slices with a circle of bone in the middle.
Spata de porc /spa-ta de pork/– This is the cut of meat from the top of the front legs of the pig, the pork shoulder, and is quite versatile. It can but cut into chunks for a stew; minced up for sausages or meatballs; de-boned, rolled and stuffed; or marinated and roasted whole.
Coaste de porc /quas-te de pork/– These are the ribs and are very often smoked in Romania (coaste afumate). A favourite cut for roasting, grilling, and barbequing.
Ciolan /cho-lan de pork/– actually a leg bone rather than a cut of meat but some restaurant will advertise a ‘ciolan de porc’, which usually means a large leg joint, something like a hock, probably slow roasted and maybe smoked.
(Next post – other pork delicacies)

1 comment:

cat said...

Cotlet de pork is also known as pork chops.