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Monday, February 19, 2018


Longanizas Made by Author
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ar. mirkas, kroush mahshiei (stuffed intestines; mahshi, anything that is stuffed), Eng. sausages, salted meat. The Spanish word is derived from the Latin salsio, to salt.

The Berbers claim they introduced them into Spain long before the hot dog was invented in Frankfurt. The Romans, however, could have introduced them as they ate sausages. Apicius gives recipes for sweet or strong sausages. Recipes for Spanish sausages have varied little over the centuries consisting of chopped lean or fatty pork of pig.

Today, Spanish sausages are seasoned with white pepper, paprika, nutmeg with salt and local variations such as basil, sugar, garlic, coriander and/or cumin. In the Middle Ages, Spanish sausages contained minced meat mixed with garum, pepper, coriander, lavender and cinnamon as seen in the Anón Al-Andalus recipe for “mirkas.” Hispano Muslim and Jewish sausages were made with lamb or other meats except pork. Spanish Christians in general made pork sausages but Anón/Grewe provides recipes using fowl, lamb and goat.  Medieval Jews and Christians added wine before stuffing the mass in intestines.

The Author with
Sausages made by her 
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Sausages include chorizo (red pork sausage), longaniza (white sausage), morcilla (blood sausage) and salchicha (spiced sausage, in which ingredients vary according to the place where it is made). Of these there are various types: raw, bland and hard and regional variations. Sausages can be cured or smoked to last for a long time without having to be refrigerated. Formerly, as today, sausages are hung or preserved in ceramic jars. They can be boiled, fried or eaten raw.

 [Anón/Grewe. 1982:IIII:65; Anón/Huici.1966:1:15-16; Apicius/Flower. 1958:20:II:I:4:63:II:IV:69:II:V:1-4:69-71; Apicius/Liversidge. 1958:30; Castro. Alimentación. 1996:177:240:253 etc.; García Sánchez. 1992:149; Gitlitz. 1999:210; Pers. Memories. Slaughters Mostoles. 2000:2001:2003; Sanz. 1967:10; and Serradilla. 1993:63-66:70-74:91]

For a recipe for sausages by the Medieval Spanish Chef see blog titled "picado" published May 29, 2017.

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