Manteca colorá and its relatives: Iberian pringue for a strong breakfast

The world is divided into areas where breakfast is sweet and those where breakfast is salty. A good part of Spain opts for the latter, and in particular there is a type of salty breakfast that reigns more in the mornings of Andalusia, Extremadura and other souths than Ana Rosa Quintana or Susanna Griso: the toast. Where there is or was a strong presence of shepherds and day laborers, the quintessential menu to start the day is based on this combination of toasted bread -if it’s a muffin from Antequera, better-, with extra virgin olive oil, optional tomato (in different versions: minced or whole) and Iberian sausage also optional, with the ham as the jewel in the crown.

However, in the southwest quadrant, in a kind of race north along the Ruta de la Plata that includes the provinces of Cádiz, Seville and Badajoz, there is a subgenre of toast that is not missing from the counter of any self-respecting bar. and that provides an important caloric boost to get through the day. They are toast with colored butter and its variants such as zurrapas, liver butter, loin in butter and cachuela (in Extremadura). this family of mommies calories, as powerful and explosive as Rosalía’s, is currently complemented by more modern industrial spreads such as ham spreads, which some brands are trying to extend to more general consumption by giving them a less aggressive appearance. All these products start from a common base: Iberian pork fried in its own fat and with its remains of meat or some organ, garlic and spices, among which paprika reigns, key in the west of the state. Put a bomb -of flavor- in your breakfast.

variants

The best known is lard colorá. It is normally served in bars or butcher shops to take home and the magic formula is simple: a lot of lard, preferably the one known as pella or the one that surrounds some organs, paprika, garlic and some oregano-based dressing. Everything is fried first and left to rest in the cold so that it can be spread on the bread. The second motomami It is the zurrapa, whose homemade recipe we already explained some time ago here and which is basically colored lard -or white, if paprika is not added- but with remains of some meat that has crumbled when fried in its own fat. She is the first cousin of the rillettes French. And it’s fried pork itself, yes.

Zurrapas and mantecas can be made from just meat or a combination of meat and liver. In Cádiz, only meat is usually used, and in Écija (Seville) and the south of Badajoz, this organ is also cut into very small pieces and also fried in lard. In the case of the cachuela from Extremadura, the idea is a combination of everything and with a flavoring of other spices apart from oregano, such as matalahúva, culantro -as coriander is called in the area- and even cinnamon. Depending on how large the pieces of meat or liver are, it is also known as broth, although as with all edible denominations, there are intense debates about it that we are not going to get into.

Third motomami It would be the loin in lard, which has gained strength in Vejer de la Frontera as a tourist attraction, where the product even has the name of an alley and an international day celebrated since 2015 (except during the pandemic). In this case it is the same colored lard, but with a piece of loin that is cut into a thin slice, a bit like meat. wick and that can be put both on toast and in sandwich format. This is a product also similar to lomo en orza, a classic in many parts of Spain.

not suitable for physical aptitudeor if

Lard and its similar products are products that live off of the extremely tawdry but certain phrase that they take advantage of even the gaits of the pig. Historically it has been used to preserve foods such as sausages and slaughter meats, when there were no electrical devices capable of producing cold. It should be noted that this type of food has a difference with sobrassada, which is leaner, with a higher proportion of meat and also with meat from nobler parts of the pig that in Extremadura or Andalusia would never be used for sausage.

According to Paco Melero, a butcher from Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz) and one of the area’s best-known producers of pork loin in butter and derivatives, colorá butter began to be spread on bread when, in the 1950s and 1960s, the use of refrigerators in the houses. Melero claims the importance of the product: “The key is not to use industrial shortenings”. The pella that he defends so much melts completely with the heat, unlike the bacon and other fats that are reduced until they are crispy -such as bacon or pork rinds, another star product that he also sells in his butcher shop-, but that is not disappear and that are important in other parts of Andalusian gastronomy such as appetizers or tapas. Another key according to him is to get the point of cooking, over medium heat, which can take up to two hours.

If you write the word “iberitos cap” on the fitness website Myfitnesspal, it explains to you that it takes 1.1 hours of running, 1.6 of cycling or 3.9 of cleaning your house like gold jets to burn the calories that are taken with 100 grams of this product. Moisés Cruz, manager and current owner of the Casa Cruz butcher shop in Écija (Seville), where they have been making butter for a few decades, clearly fights against this mantra of a strong and repetitive product: “Industrial pastries are worse”. The heir to this store took the recipe from his mother, renewed with an ingredient that he wants to take to the grave and that, like Melero, has craftsmanship as a strong point. The liver is chopped with a knife and sold directly at their market stall and also online.

Stage

The parishioners of la manteca colorá consume it mostly in bars. Paula Álvarez, Sevillian and editor of the blog Cosas de Comé, clearly differentiates between two types of consumers: those who are lifelong and those who advocate a reunion with tradition. “It is so important because the massacre was a turning point in the year. Meat was celebrated a lot and is deeply rooted because slaughter is a ritual in many areas, ”she explains. Now there is a profile of people who reserve her for special days and she, personally, fits more into this sector.

The icon

For many Andalusians, breakfast away from home is an essential part of the day for socializing. This comes from the time when the manijeros – foremen of the agricultural exploitations – went to look for labor in specific points and squares of the towns, and there the workers waited with breakfast for their bosses to arrive. It is what the latifundium has and not live attached to the workplace, as in the most typical smallholdings of the north or the Mediterranean. Manteca colorá is a very powerful symbol of Andalusian culture. It has been gaining importance in the collective imagination to the point of giving its name to rock-folk music groups and creating a drama when something fails, such as when they stole a shipment in a school in Cadiz a few days before the celebration of Andalusia Day on February 28. A crime that must be punished.

The celebration of that day in schools with toast made with a muffin has entered the subconscious of an entire socio-political generation to which this roll has begun to give its name, as the political scientist Javier Jurado explains in his latest book. In this school activity, the muffin is usually accompanied with oil and sugar, in what is known as “miller’s breakfast”, but in some centers such as the one in Cádiz, they are not fooling around and go to these traditional pringues.

In general, these spreads have a very homemade character and few big brands have dared to produce them. However, as an essential product to shape Andalusian gastronomy, some chefs are including it in recipes such as the case of José Calleja at Surtopía in Madrid, at La Malaje (also in Madrid), or in the brilliant meat mechá of the already well-known Casa Manteca de Cádiz or in the Sevillian Cañabota. In short, despite these small incursions into medium or high gastronomy, it still does not have the point of kitsch popularity that torreznos have achieved, for example, so the general halo that surrounds these products is that of a machote campero that drinks coffee in a cane glass. But we still have time to see the next Paquita Salas gobbling up some good muffins, and thus turning her into the next pop icon.