Chouriço Mouro de Portalegre (Smoked Portalegre spiced sausage)
IGP Chouriço Mouro de Portalegre is a Portuguese smoked sausage consisting of finely ground and salted pieces of meat, fat and guts (heart and kidneys) from Alentejano pigs plus crushed ungerminated dried garlic, sweet pepper and pepper paste, sometimes with caraway seeds and white wine from Portalegre. The casing is of natural beef intestine. The sausage is horseshoe-shaped, twisted or tied at the end with cotton thread and measuring up to 30 cm. It is reddish-black, shiny and semi-hard; the case is unbroken and adheres closely to the content. It is between 20 and 45 mm in diameter. Cut, the sausage reveals a perfectly adhering, marbled content, shiny and with a variety of colours depending on the types and proportions of raw materials used. It is has a pleasant, smooth or delicate taste, slightly salty and sometimes slightly spicy. It has a pleasant unique aroma. The fat is shiny and pearly white, of pleasant smell and taste. The consistency varies depending on the feed and percentage of acorns eaten by the Alentejano pigs.
Geographical area: The taste of the product, the soil and climate required for its production and the local, correct and consistent methods mean that the geographical area of production is restricted to the municipalities of Alter do Chão, Arronches, Avis, Campo Maior, Castelo do Vide, Crato, Elvas, Fronteira, Gavião, Marvão, Monforte, Nisa, Ponte de Sor, Portalegre and Sousel in the district of Portalegre.
Proof of origin: The Couriço Mouro de Portalegre may be produced only on authorized premises situated in the geographical area outlined. The raw material comes from Alentejano pigs reared extensively or semi-extensively in the open air under hill conditions (feed based on grass and acorns) in the Alentejo. An inspection system ensures that the whole production process can be traced. The fame of the cooked products produced in the Portalegre area is attested by a reference in a parish record of 1750.
Method of protection: The meat, fat and guts obtained from the slaughter of Alentejano pigs reared as described above are cut in the traditional way ("miga"), seasoned, matured, stuffed and smoked, so acquiring the appearance, colour, taste and aroma characteristic of the Chouriço Mouro de Portalegre. Processing is carried out in a natural environment in accordance with local, correct and consistent practice.
Link: The region of Portalege has its own micro-climate providing special conditions for the production of cooked meats (cold dry winters). Because of the constant supply of Alentejano pork resulting from the particular conditions under which these animals are raised, local inhabitants developed special techniques for preserving it and developing its particular taste either by using very simple flavourings based on regional products or by smoking with local wood. This gives the Chouriço Mouro de Portalegre its special appearance, taste and aroma and its unmistakable links with the area.
Gastronomy: IGP Chouriço Mouro de Portalegre must be kept at a temperature of between 5°C and 15°C or it can be preserved in olive oil. It is eaten as it is or as the principal ingredient in many traditional local dishes.
Reference: The European Commission