Need and creativity can lead a person’s mind to come up with delicious recipes from ingredients that seem uncombinable or even unedible! In that spirit, with this week’s I·ATE post we invite you to discover how to cook entrails in a non…Hannibal way! Meet haggis, zarajo, chinchulín and kokoretsi!
Starting our savory journey, first stop is Scotland! In Scotland, one of the national dishes is haggis, a savoury pudding stuffed with sheep’s innards, oatmeal, onions, salt and spices (like black pepper, coriander, mace and nutmeg) and then cooked in a sheep’s stomach. Today it is more commonly prepared in a synthetic sausage casing.
Although haggis is considered a Scottish dish, its origin could be French, as the word “haggis” may derive from the term “hacher” which means “to chop up” or “to mangle”, but it could also have Roman or Scandinavian origins. Haggis was typically a peasant food ideal to use all the pieces of meat such as kidneys, lungs or intestines and it provided energy to work on the fields.
Another type of peasant dish, which was common in medieval England but now it is rarely eaten, is chitterlings (also called chitlins or chittlins). This dish is traditionally prepared with the small intestines of pigs, but in some variations the intestines of cattle or other animals are also used. Chitterlings is well-known in the southern USA as the dish eaten by slaves who couldn’t afford to waste any parts of the animal whereas now they can be considered a Southern delicacy. To prepare it, the most important thing is to clean it thoroughly before cooking it until it is tender for at least 2 or 3 hours with a large amount of water, vinegar, bay leaves, onions, potatoes, green or red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. They are commonly served with hot sauce.
Spanish gastronomy is rich in dishes based on lamb intestines, with preparations varying from region to region, which are often served as an appetizer or tapa. The zarajo, a traditional dish from Cuenca, are prepared by marinating lamb intestines and rolling them on a vine branch. They are then fried, roasted or grilled. Similar dishes are the madeja from Zaragoza, prepared by rolling the intestines on a piece of lamb mesentery and a stalk of green garlic, and the embuchado and patorrillo from La Rioja. In an embuchado, lamb intestines rolled in the shape of a skein, while in a patorrillo lamb or goat intestines are rolled on the leg of the animal. Madrid also has some traditional dishes such as the gallinejas, that consist on lamb intestines and other innards which are fried and acquire a spiral shape.
In Latin America you can find a similar dish called chinchulín, which are grilled small intestines of pork, lamb or veal. Depending on the country the dish has different names. In Ecuador it is called “tripa mishqui”, in Columbia, Argentina and Uruguay chinchuli, whereas in Venezuela it is called chinculla and in Chile chinchule. For the preparation of the dish Ecuadorians use mostly the small intestine of pigs or lambs, whereas Argentinians, Chileans and Colombians prefer to use the small intestine of calves. Chinchulín can be bought as street food sold by street vendors and it will always be an indispensable part of a real “parrillada” (barbecue). It is as well part of regular menus of most of the restaurants. The ingredients to prepare chinchulín are: tripa (small intestine), garlic, ground cumin, packed fresh cilantro leaves, “Manteca de Color”, salt, black pepper and water. In order to transform the small intestine into a crispy delicacy you cut it into little pieces, mix it with the remaining ingredients and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours. Then you take the mixture (reserving the marinade) and bake it for approximately 30 minutes, and finally you grill it over a hot fire basting with the marinade. Colombians prepare chinchulín as an appetizer. First they season and boil the small intestine for 30 minutes, afterwards they cut it into little pieces and fry it until golden. They typically eat it with plantain chips or “humitas” . Chileans instead serve chinchule grilled or pan-fried accompanied with boiled potatoes and “Pebre de Cilantro.”
Finally in Greece, you will be certainly introduced to kokoretsi (κοκορέτσι) whether you are invited in big family (and friends) meals or you happen to be there around Easter and you are attending a traditional Easter meal! On the contrary in Greece, kokoretsi is not considered suitable to be also a street food because of the proper
environmental conditions it requires to be served. In general, it is preferable to taste kokoretsi homemade or in tavernes that specialise in its preparation because it is a difficult dish that requires time and high hygene levels in order to be the same time delicious and safe. Despite the fact that kokoretsi is now considered as one of the traditional and highly representative Greek Easter dishes, the cooking methods used were known to the ancient Greeks since five thousand years ago. For example, as recorded in the works of Homer, for the preparation of, that era, kokoretsi, they marinated the lamb’s intestines in vinegar, water and honey. Still nowadays, the vinegar-based marinade of the intestines is the first step for its safe preparation because the vinegar functions as an antiseptic and dehydrate most of the fat of the intestine. The traditional greek recipe of kokoretsi requires lamb intestines, lamb lace fat, sweatbreads and the liver, lung, and heart of the lamb. For the final result, after cutting the parts in medium-large squares, you have, with the sweatbreads, to pass them in turns through a short metal spit and then wrap the intestines around the meat in order to cover and tighten them at the edge of the metal spit. The lace fat is added on top in the end in order to secure a juicy result for the kokoretsi! Similar delicacy to kokoretsi is gardouba(γαρδούμπα) or gardoubakia (γαρδουμπάκια) a smaller variant of kokoretsi we could say. You may taste gardouba cooked over charcoal like kokoretsi, or roasted in an oven ora pan. Its name probably comes from the Italian caldume.
And in your country? In your region? Do you have similar haggis / kokoretsi recipes? If yes, how do you call it?
Have a nice weekend with our mouthwashing linguistic discoveries and enjoy!
Written by Iris Rinner – Terminology trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, BA in Modern Foreign Languages and Cultures from the University of Sassari and MA in Specialized Translation from the University of Vienna, and Serena Grementieri – Terminology trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, BA in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation and MA degree in Specialized Translation at the School of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Interpreting and Translation (ex-SSLMIT) of Forlì, University of Bologna, and Clara Gorría Lázaro, Translator, terminologist and Terminology Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament and Katerina Palamioti, Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament
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