Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Other Romanian Pork Products

"Everything But The Squeak"
In the previous post we looked at the main cuts of pork that are most commonly used in Romania cuisine, but as any Romanian will tell you, some of the best products are those that are made from the offal or other less frquently encountered parts of the animal. A lot of these are not for the faint-hearted and some are, dare I say, an acquired taste.
One of the most popular times of the year for many of these is the Christmas holiday period when many Romanian families who keep pigs in their smallholdings will slaughter them and put together many different treats from its various parts. Some are to be eaten soon after slaughter, others are frozen, smoked, or salt-cured for later consumption.
Siorici /sho-rich/ – Pork skin. It is sometimes added as an ingredient to sausages, sometimes fried till crispy, but more often just softened and eaten as is.
Slanina /sla-knee-na/ – The thick layer of fat between the meat and the skin. Slanina is preserved by salting and smoking, sometimes with paprika. It is eaten in slices, obligatorily accompanied by a couple of fingers of home-made palinca (plum brandy). It’s often added to sausages and slices are sometimes put between pieces of leaner meat on skewers for grilling.
Jumari /ju-mar-i/– Pork scratchings. The fat of the animal (slanina) is cooked until the fat renders out. The remaining crispy pieces are salted and eat as a treat, often sprinkled with paprika.
Untura /oon-two-ra/ – Pork dripping. This is the fat that results from the rendering of the slanina when making jumari. It is used instead of vegetable oil or olive oil in the countryside when making stews or fried dishes.
Urechi de porc /or-rec-ee de porc/ - The ears. Some people will eat these as a delicacy but others use them in piftie (see below).
Picior de porc /pitch-or de pork/ - The trotter. This is most commonly use for piftie. The trotters are boiled for several hours and this helps to create the gelatine.
Piftie de porc /pif-tee-a de pork/ - Pieces of pork and some vegetables and herbs in aspic, usually made by boiled up the trotters, along with, sometimes, parts of the head and ears. The meat can be just from the trotters or other pieces from other cuts can be added.
Sunca /shun-ka/ and Jambon /jam-bon/ - The salt-cured, smoked (usually) and air-dried meat from the ham (pulpa)of the pig.
Costita de porc /cos-teets-a de pork/ - These are the cured, smoked, and matured ribs of the pig, usually with a thin layer of fat on them.
Kaizer /kay-zer/ – Another cut of salt-cured meat from the belly of the pig, usually this a thin layer of fat on it.
The following are the organs that are most commonly used in other pork dishes, or just cooked on their own (especially the liver and kidneys). They are principle ingredients of some of the various sausages made after slaughtering a pig.
Rinichi /rin-nik/– The kidneys.
Inima /in-ee-ma/- The heart.
Plamani /pla-mun-i/– The lungs.
Ficat /fi-cat/ - The liver.
The next few are all types of sausage consisting of different cuts or offal.
Toba /toba/ – Offal sausage, something like a pig haggis. The tongue (limba), liver, kidneys, ears, heart, and sometimes some lean pork, are boiled, chopped, stuffed into the bladder or the stomach and sometimes smoked.
Lebar /lay-bear/ – This sausage, probably of Saxon origin, is made by boiled up the liver, spleen, and lungs with some aromatic herbs, garlic and wine. It is then stuffed into the large intestines.
Carnati de casa /car-natz de ca-sa/ – These are the regular pork sausages we are more used to in the UK. There are different kinds and different zones will flavour them with different ingredients, garlic and paprika being the most common. They can be of differing length, the shorter ones being frequently referred to as carnaciori /car-na-chor-ri/. Others are gathers up into a spiral shape.
Caltabosi /cal-ta-bosh/ – This sausage is another one made from the offal of the animal. Pieces of ear, head, heart, kidney, lungs, spleen, skin, fat, and meat are boiled up with some herbs, the liver added, and then rice. It’s all then minced up and stuffed into intestines.
Sangerete /soon-jer-re-te/ – Black pudding. The blood of the pig is salted to aid curing and stuffed into the intestines.
I hope this gives you some idea of the variety of pork products that are available in Romania. I've always felt that knowing what something is will more likely tempt you to try it, otherwise a different country's cuisine can seem alien and daunting. I can't claim to have tried all of these myself, many of them are not available in regular supermarkets (or if they are, they are commercial mass-produced versions which probably disappoint). The ones I have tried, mostly thanks to friends with relatives in the countryside who still slaughter and produce them in the traditional way, proved to be very tasty (except, perhaps sorici, which I wasn't too keen on).

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