Painho de Portalegre (Portalegre smoked sausage)

From Cookipedia

Painho de Portalegre

IGP Painho de Portalegre is a Portuguese smoked sausage which consists of salted meat (fresh fat from Alentejano pigs, in pieces exceeding 2 cm with crushed ungerminated dried garlic, sweet pepper and pepper paste. The casing is of dried natural pig's intestine. The sausage is cylindrical, tied with cotton thread at both ends and measures 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 25 and 40 mm in diameter. Cut, the sausage reveals a perfectly adhering, slightly marbled content. It is has a pleasant, smooth or delicate taste, slightly salty and sometimes slightly spicy. It has a pleasant, unique, slightly smoky 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 used 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 Painho 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 meat products produced in the Portalegre area is attested by a reference in a parish record of 1750.

Method of production: The leg, shoulder, loin and top loin meat and hard fat obtained from the slaughter of Alentejano pigs reared as described above are cut in the traditional way ("miga"), seasoned (using pepper paste), stuffed and smoked, so acquiring the appearance, colour, taste and aroma characteristic of the Painho de Portalegre. Processing is carried out in a natural environment in accordance with local, correct and consistent practice and local wood is used for smoking.

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 Painho de Portalegre its special appearance, taste and aroma and its unmistakable links with the area.

Gastronomy: IGP Painho de Portalegre must be stored at a temperature of between 5°C and 15°C. It can also be conserved in extra virgin olive oil such as for example Azeites do Norte Alentejano (North Alentejo olive oil) DOP . The sausage can be eaten as it is or used as a main ingredient in many of the local traditional dishes.

Reference: The European Commission