"Pimentón ahumado (smoky Spanish paprika) is regarded as a natural food preservative by many Spaniards. They say a combination of the natural chemicals infused into the peppers as they dry over the fire and some compounds in the peppers themselves act as antibacterial agents. That is why so many Spanish embutidos (sausages and cured meats) are made with pimentón ahumado. Morcilla de calabaza is traditionally a pumpkin and pork sausage made with a lot of salt, stuffed into sausage skins and hung to cure from the rafters. We've changed this recipe ever so slightly to make a rich, sweet and spiced pâté that is delicious on toasted bread and offers a real taste of the food from Extremadura." You'll need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead.
- 1.5 kg Jap or kent pumpkin, seeds removed, cut into 5cm pieces
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 head of garlic, separated into cloves
- 300 gm pork back fat, chilled
- 1½ tbsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 30 cloves, heads only, ground
- 1Combine pumpkin, onion and garlic in a saucepan, add 200ml water, then cover and cook over low heat until pumpkin is tender (50 minutes-1 hour). Remove lid and cook until most of the liquid evaporates (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and drain off any remaining liquid. When cool enough to handle, remove and finely chop the onion, then place in a bowl. Squeeze cooked garlic cloves from their skins into the same bowl, add pumpkin and 1 tsp sea salt and combine well. Place a double-layered square of muslin in a bowl, pour in pumpkin mixture and tie the cloth with string. Hang in refrigerator overnight, suspended over a bowl to drain. The mixture should yield just under 1kg of pumpkin pulp.
- 2Finely mince the chilled back fat with the mincing attachment of a food processor or a hand mincer (see note). Combine drained pumpkin mixture, paprika, oregano, cloves and 3 tsp sea salt in a bowl. Add minced fat and mix together well. Place in a 700ml serving bowl or dish, such as an earthenware cazuela. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (24 hours).
- 3To serve, spread a little on toasted bread or crackers and enjoy with beer or light red wine.
Note Alternatively, ask your butcher to mince the back fat for you. This recipe is from MoVida Rustica: Spanish Traditions and Recipes by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish and published by Murdoch Books ($59.95, hbk) and appeared in the October 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. In editing these recipes for publication, we have made minor changes to bring them into Gourmet Traveller style.bring them into Gourmet Traveller style.