Naples, Campania

samurchio – Photo & text Regione Campania

In ancient times, during the pig feast, big fuming pots would appear at every street corner, to sell tasty samurchio, a meat obtained from boiled cow blood shaped with cow or pig intestines.

Samurchio has a 2 hundred year old tradition in the province of Naples, and in particular in the areas of Calandrino, Sant’Antimo and Melito, but it has almost disappeared today. Like many ancient products, it was a recipe that was invented for economic reasons: it was used to exploit all the resources available from the animals, butchered for domestic use, by the poor population.

To this day the old preparation procedure is used, the cow blood is poured, using sifters recovered from the intestines of the cow and pig, spices with chili peppers and pepper, to flavour it and hide the unpleasant flavours that it has. The sifting is performed to reduce to a minimum the coagulation and preserve the blood as long as possible before it is cooked.

The cooking is made in big copper saucepans, usually on fascine, wood residuals and it lasts about 20 minutes. Often, to mitigate the unpleasant odors due to the intestines, aromatic herbs amongst which bay leaves, are added to the boiling water.

Today the use of blood is a problem for the possibility of patogenous and dangerous microorganisms to develop, this problem is obviously resolved using tools and utensils that have been sterilized and also by boiling the blood.