Asturian meat from the valley and Asturian meat from the Mountain, in both cases, we are talking about veals with great quality of meat, with excellent textures that are demanded by the modern consumer. This is a very healthy meat because it has low levels of cholesterol and uric acid, is rich in proteins and low fat, and in addition is delicious and juiciness. It is also a rich source of iron, copper, phosphate, potassium, sodium and magnesium. Its excellent genetics is completed with a natural diet: mother's milk and natural pastures.
The Asturian pastures are the raw material of its meat. The green landscape of this community is full of cattle. Here is born, grown and feed, in a natural privileged place.
The meat from Asturias is already a national referent. Nowadays its production is regulated under a Protected Geographical Indication (IGP). "Asturian veal", or "Red Meat", as it is commonly known. This name includes two bovine kinds: Asturian meat from the valley and Asturian meat from the Mountain. The first kind is related to docile animals that live in rough territories and can stand extreme temperatures perfectly. Its coat is brown, the same as the Asturian animals from the Mountain or "Casina" which live in the Eastern area in this Principality of Asturias. These animals have been living here since ever, and they are essential for the conservation of this environment.
These animals are slaughtered, quartered and stored in registered installations, following the law. In their commercialization they wear seals and specific tags of origin, weight, place and date of slaughter of the animal. It is completely prohibited the use of anabolic substances. Its seal of guarantee is new assured, always following strict controls. Along the Asturian geography, there are lots of cattle raising competitions in which the best animals are awarded. These events promote an improvement in the way of raising animals.
In 2006 in Asturias more than 51.000 veals were grown. From the slaughterhouses more than four million kilos of products were certified by an amount higher than twenty millions of euros. Cangas of Narcea is the municipality at the head of this production of meat in Asturias, followed by the councils of Tineo, Allande and Piloña.
The red meat in the kitchen
Roasted, grilled, stewed, made in one thousand ways, this meat is an essential dish of the regional kitchen. It has grown in importance in the kitchen to the point that in many Asturian houses and restaurants there is no other product without a seal of guarantee. Depending on how we are going to cook it, we may choose one piece or another. All the Asturian restaurants share a high standard of cooking, especially this kind of meat, offering a long list of dishes in which veal is the most important ingredient.
Among all the famous dishes, we may mention the tenderloin cooked with foie, filets cooked with cabrales cheese and an endless list of varieties.
If we were to do a selection of the most popular and delicious recipes, we would have to talk about the tenderloin in cabrales sauce with apple jam.
The "cachopo" is similar in concept to the "French cordon bleu", two fillets of veal filled with cooked jam and cheese, the Asturian version uses cured jam and some famous cheese from the region, with different garnishes: mushrooms, peas, chips, the Asturian version adds cooked turnips or fried in fat. The "cachopo" is usually a goal for the guests: they expect to be able to eat it on its whole ...
Big and sizeable is also the popular T-bone steak. A delicious delicacy, overall if it is from Asturias. Here it is accompanied by potato straws.
If we take out the bone of a T-steak it becomes an entrecote. In Asturias it is famous when it is cooked with cabrales cheese, but it can also be accompanied with other Asturian cheeses, with pepper and with elaborated garnishes.
Tenderloins and filets are also excellent dishes of red meat. The "Ossobuco", is for instance a kind of stewed meat. The Asturian meat can be tasted grilled in all cases, even as carpaccio, freezing the meat and cutting it after on a machine.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com