‘Vasco-navaro chistorras,’ ‘chorizo criollos’–great homemade Spanish sausages
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My best friends Myleen and Colleen Huenefeld were restaurateurs in Madrid, as far back as I can remember. They got the knack for it from their parents, Tito Charles and Tita Andita, who was a super cook.
Among the many delicious treats Tita Andita used to make was her ensaimada. It was softer than clouds, topped with European-style butter, sugar, and generous gratings of good aged Dutch edam.
The Huenefelds owned the famed Filipino restaurant Sulu along Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid. The establishment did not just serve delicious Filipino food, but also wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth misono steaks.
The siblings are epicures who know their food; they love to eat, and they eat well. Every meal is a serious pleasure, always well-planned and thought of. “We eat only the good stuff” is their usual quip.
So when they decided to come to the Philippines and try their hand at starting a business, it was inevitable that they would focus on the one thing they loved: food.
Myleen took pains to master the art of chorizo-making at the Taller de las Tradiciones, Valdemanco, Madrid. But she didn’t stop there. For months, she visited her Spanish butcher, Carlos Diaz Santos, who taught her all the secrets: how to choose the right meat; how to cut it to the right size for grinding; how coarse or fine the grinding should be. After many months of one-on-one sessions, Myleen and Colleen had absorbed everything they could. All they needed to do was to keep making chorizos.
They had a few challenges when they first got to Manila. The Huenefelds said the pork was different, so adjustments had to be made. More difficult was having to communicate with our local butchers. But that was way back then. Now, it’s a different story.
I have a penchant for the vasco-navaro chistorras—a thin, tasty, quick-cured chorizo. I can have them for breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner. They’re juicy and so flavorful.
The Huenefelds’ version of this sausage is to-die-for. I eat it with a bit of its oil drizzled over sinangag, and, of course, with a fried egg or two. Oh, man!
Myleen’s chorizo criollos are just as good, if you’re a fan of the Argentine variant. It is herbed, seasoned and spiced, and makes for a juicy bite—a great flavor-packed sausage. It’s perfect for waking up the buds, and excellent for picnics and grilling over an open fire!
Myleen and Colleen are currently curing their chorizos to add to pocheros, lentejas, callos, and other well-loved Spanish recipes.
I am equally impressed by the manner in which the sausages are made. The two work in a highly antiseptic environment, complete with caps, gloves and masks. Their chillers are immaculate. One can eat off the shelves and the floor of their walk-in chiller. No flies, no roaches, no dirt.
All their homemade sausages are done with great care for detail and quality in their sterile sausage kitchen-lab. All ingredients, except the pork, and perishables such as garlic, are imported from Spain. They don’t skimp on anything at all. Which is why their products are simply delicious.
Myleen suggests you slice your chistorras to about an inch. In a pan with a bit of olive oil, fry them gently over low heat. Do not overcook. For the criollos, she likes them best grilled. But if you can’t do that, cook it as you would a longganisa, in a bit of water, then, when the water evaporates, fry in a bit of olive oil.
I took the liberty to ask Santi’s Deli’s Othmar Frei for his wine recommendations. He picked two Spanish wines that go well with the chorizos: Bodegas Fernandez Rivera Dehesa La Granja 2003, and Bodegas Valduero Arbucala Esencia Joven Toro Tempranillo Toro 2007.
These tempranillos are easy drinks, with berry and licorice hints that compliment the flavorful chorizos. They’re strong enough to cleanse the palate yet mild enough not to overpower the chorizo. Together, they make a good pair. Both wines are available at all Santi’s outlets.
Myleen has observed that, in Manila, many like drinking sangria over wine, straight up. Here, she shares her sangria recipe:
Slice one orange, one apple and half a lemon in cubes.
Make syrup with ½-cup white sugar and ¼-cup water.
You will also need: Spanish red wine, 750 ml; add 20 ml of Cointreau, Martini rosso, gin, cognac.
Mix red wine and liqueurs with syrup. Add fruits and lots of ice.
Now isn’t this a hearty way to celebrate Spain’s 2012 Euro Cup win?
To order chorizos, call 0917-5248270, 0917-8116267.
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