Chefs don’t like to share their secrets. But in general they will easily share any information about the products they use. These are some of the criteria most top chefs apply to their way of operating …
- Nowadays, in Portugal, everything has to be produced locally.
- They all want ‘the best of the best’.
- Eco, natural, bio, purity, … is another credo.
- Luckely our meat meets all these criteria.
Some of the Portuguese top chefs have tried Mangalitsa meat and all of them agree that it meets their toughest standards. It is very human to compare new products to those already on the market and in this case the comparison with the ‘porco preto’ is often made. But chefs consider this another product, difficult to compare. In the same category at least, but … different enough to give Mangalitsa meat its own place.
Mangalitsa meat has a smooth but strong flavour, something to get used to. But once the flavour has conquered your palate, you’ll never forget it.
Don’t overcook it! As the meat is produced as pure as possible, you can eat it almost ‘red’. Overcooking means you’ll destroy the fat cells that are embedded in the meat and that will turn the meat dry.
This is how you should cook a ‘costeleta’, ‘bife da perna ou do naco’: cut it to a thickness of 1,5 to 2 cm (or even more), leave the bone on whenever you can, heat your frying pan, when it starts smoking lightly, put in the banha (for recipe see ….) until it starts sizzling. Gently bring in the meat (lay away) and fry for 30 seconds on each side. Take of the heat. Collect in a pre-heated oven on 80-100°C, and with a meat thermometer check the internal temperature. When it reaches 60°C, take it out of the oven, pan back on the stove, season and give it another heat blast, meanwhile basting (see …..) with the banha. 30 seconds is enough. Take straight to the table.
We know, it’s a bit more work than what you probably are used to, but it’s definetely worth the effort. In doing so, you will conserve all the goodies inside the meat and not fry it flat. Remember, because of the fat-infiltration, this meat is more sensible than others.
Don’t throw away the fat! It is very useful in all kind of preparations, even in desserts! A healthy alternative for butter or oil (read the ‘Fat Facts’).
Every chef will tell you that fat = taste. The Mangalitsa pig produces a lot of fat. Most of it around the meat, but on a cellular level, very much embedded in the meat. If you would taste a piece of unheated meat, like in charcuterie or in a cured ham, you will notice an almost inexplicable juiciness with every bite. That’s the fat cells releasing a tiny bomb of flavour.
Miguel Rocha Vieira, wellknown ‘Masterchef’ but also the consulting chef at Costes and Downtown Costes, 2 of the most renowned restaurants in Budapest/Hungary, each with a Michelin star. He visited our farm and tasted our meat and boldly stated that it tastes better than the Mangalitsa meat they use in the Budapest restaurants. That has everything to do with the way they raise and feed the animals over there, but it somehow told us that we’re on the right track.
The owner/chef of Taberna de Rua das Flores, André Magalhães, is a huge fan as well.