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The long haired Mangalica is a breed of Hungarian pig known for its rich, marbled and delicious meat. Once a rare breed, today it’s experiencing something of a renaissance both at home and abroad. There are plenty of delicious ways to enjoy Mangalica pork: here are just a few.
One of the most common products created from Mangalica pork is the not-so-humble sausage. Flavoured with herbs and spices such as paprika, which lends a red hue, the mixture of meat and seasoning is wood-smoked and aged for a few months before being typically enjoyed alongside pickled vegetables.
Paprikash is one of Hungary’s most beloved, and most emblematic, dishes. There are a number of variations (chicken paprikash is perhaps the most popular) on this classic main course, which features a creamy paprika sauce poured over the chosen protein, accompanied by traditional Hungarian egg-noodle dumplings. Mangalica is a great meat for this dish, making for a truly Hungarian culinary experience.
Similar to lard, lardo is a delicious delicacy which consists of backfat cured with salts and spices. Thanks to Mangalica’s fatty quality, it produces an excellent lardo with a versatile range of uses. Enjoyed as it is, or cut into thin slices and eaten on freshly baked bread, it’s a popular way to create a tasty Mangalica dish that is perfect for snacking or as part of a larger meal.
Although Spain is the country most famous for cured hams, what many people may not know is that, as well as local pigs (such as those used to make ibérico), the Mangalica breed is also a popular option here. Bred and raised in Hungary, the meat is then sent to Spain for the process of air-curing, which takes around two years. The result is a richly flavoured ham best enjoyed at room temperature.
One of the best ways to enjoy this rare Hungarian meat is as part of an extra special roast dinner. Whether cooked fresh, or cured for a few days before, Mangalica is delicious when roasted and accompanied by a number of side dishes – typically mashed potato with onion and fresh bread.
No part of the Mangalica pig goes unused, and this counts for the blood as well. Fried up with onions and accompanied by bread, it’s the first thing to be eaten during traditional Hungarian pig slaughter festivals, during which teams compete to create the most delicious Mangalica products. After a shot of pálinka, the dish is usually eaten for breakfast to provide fuel for a day spent cooking.
An easy dish to make at home (but equally popular in restaurants around Hungary) Mangalica works well in a variety of hearty stews. To make things simply, it can be used in one-pot recipes along with vegetables, beans, potatoes and salami for a tasty winter meal. Paprika is often the seasoning of choice, adding both heat and spice.