An introduction to Galician dishes: Zorza

Zorza. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? At least for a traditional Galician dish. In fact, it always makes me think of Zardoz, that 70’s movie with Sean Connery dressed in the most bizarre movie costume ever (if you don’t remember it, you probably haven’t seen it and maybe, just maybe, you would like to check it out here). But that is another story.

Zorza pork paprika galician food
Zorza at Deulpo, in Santiago

So, coming back to Galician food. What is exactly zorza? Well, if you know chorizo sausages you know zorza or, at least, its origins. Chorizo is a traditional Spanish sausage made of pork lean cuts (mostly loin), pork fat and some paprika, garlic and oregano mixed together. If you mix these ingredients with some salt and water, put them into a pork tripe and let it cure you will have chorizos. But if you take that seasoned and diced loin that has been marinating for hours and put it into a frying-pan and stir-fry it until the fat melts and the meat turns golden-red, then you have zorza.

Originally zorza was prepared only a couple of days a year: in winter when the chorizos were made. But, since that meat was so popular, it soon became a traditional dish to share. It is not expensive, it keeps for days in the fridge, and you can prepare your own zorza to taste. A little more fat, a pinch of hot paprika, maybe more garlic and a drizzle of white wine, dicing the loin or mincing it… so it is slightly different at every place. And it is perfect with a wine or a beer.

Zorza pork paprika galician food
Zorza at Bodeguilla de San Roque, in Santiago

Many regions around Spain have a similar recipe. In León you can find picadillo, in Extremadura moraga or prueba in Andalucia, but if you find zorza it is 100% Galician. It usually comes with some fries – it can look heavy and sometimes greasy (admittedly it is not the lightest dish we have) but it is amazingly tasty.

Have you ever tried something like this? Would you like to try it on your next trip to Galicia?

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