Morcela de Assar de Portalegre (Portalegre roasting black pudding)
IGP Morcela de Assar de Portalegre is a Portuguese, smoked, blood sausage, consisting mainly of fats (from the head, neck, belly and back fat) and pig's blood from pigs of the Alentejo breed, with the addition of salt, ground dried ungerminated garlic, cumin, sweet pepper and, occasionally, wine from the Portalegre region. The casing may be made from the small or large intestine of pigs only. The sausage is 40cm long, horseshoe-shaped, individually made, with a cotton string tied or twisted around the ends. It is black, shiny, of a firm consistency, with an unbroken skin adhering closely to the meat. Its diameter varies between 20mm and 45mm. Its cross-section reveals a homogenous mass, perfectly bound, dry and black. Its taste is distinctive, with a predominant flavour of garlic and slightly smoky. Its fat is shiny, pinkish white, aromatic and has a pleasant flavour. Its consistency varies depending on the feed and the percentage of acorns in the pigs' diet.
Geographical area : Given the organoleptic characteristics of the product, the soil and climatic conditions required and the local, fair and consistent methods used, the geographical area of manufacture is naturally confined to the municipalities of Alter do Chão, Arronches, Avis, Campo Maior, Castelo de Vide, Crato, Elvas, Fronteira, Gavião, Marvão, Monforte, Nisa, Ponte de Sor, Portalegre and Sousel, in the District of Portalegre.
Proof of origin : Morcelas de Assar de Portalegre may only be produced in approved premises in the geographical processing area mentioned. The raw material is derived from pigs of the Alentejo breed, raised in the open air, under extensive or semi-extensive conditions, in an agroforestry system (basic feed being grass and acorns) in the oak forests of the Alentejo region. A system of monitoring is in place which ensures control of the entire production process. As early as 1750 reference was made to these products, attesting to the reputation enjoyed by the pork products produced in the Portalegre area.
Method of production : The soft fats, obtained in cutting the carcases of Alentejo pigs reared in the conditions described, together with the blood of Alentejo pigs, are subjected to a process of traditional cutting ("miga"), mixing of blood, seasoning, stuffing and smoking in the course of which they acquire the presentation, colour, flavour and smell characteristic of Morcelas de Assar de Portalegre. The processing is carried out in a natural environment in accordance with local, fair and consistent practice.
Link : The region of Portalegre is characterised by its particular micro-climate, creating special conditions for the production of sausage products (cold, dry winters). Given the readily available supply of Alentejo pigmeat, based on the special features of the diet of these animals, the people of Portalegre have developed special ways of preserving the meat so as to enhance its particular flavour whether by a simple form of spicing using regional products or smoking using local wood. The Morcela de Assar de Portalegre has its own characteristics of presentation, taste and aroma which link it unmistakably to the region of Portalegre.
Gastronomy : IGP Morcela de Assar de Portalegre must be stored at a temperature of between 5°C and 15°C. It can be eaten as it is, roasted, fried or boiled. It is used as an ingredient in many of the traditional local dishes, the most famous of which is cozido à portuguesa. It is also often eaten as a starter or as an aperitif.
Reference: The European Commission