Cured meats and meat products - Bulgaria
Strandzanska baba translates to 'grandmother of Strandzha.' It is a traditional sausage unique to the Strandzha Mountains region of southeast Bulgaria, along the country's Black Sea coast. The name is associated with the shape of the sausage, which resembles an old bent woman. Along with other sausages from the region, it serves as a way to use and preserve an entire pig. Traditionally, the sausage is prepared with meat from the Black East Balkan pig, a breed closely related to wild boars. Strandzanska baba is a seasonal product with a shelf life of only about one week. It is prepared around the Christmas holidays from the lungs of home raised pigs. The lungs are cut and mixed with skin and meat cuts and high quality bacon to give the sausage a chewy and crunchy consistency. The only spices used are salt, black pepper and savory. The meat mixture is lightly fried and then rice is added to the mixture. The first part of the small intestine or colon is used as a casing. The prepared mix is loosely stuffed into the casing and then boiled for one minute. The baba is then left to drain and dry. To serve strandzanska baba at holiday feasts, the sausage is briefly cooked in a broth of water, onion and pork sternum. The sausage casing should be pricked in several spots to retain its shape. It is served cooled and sliced. During the Christmas holidays, it would often happen that each household in the village would cook the dish consecutively, and neighbors would go from house to house to share the baba. Depopulation of the mountain villages means that today there are fewer and fewer people of younger generations to continue the tradition of making strandzanska baba.