927 South 9th Street
Orlando Muniz is the proud proprietor of Orlandos Meats, right in the corazon, as the sign on his door says, of the Italian Market. Orlandos spotless shop is a good place in the market to buy hard to finds meats, such as goat, and unusual body parts, such as cow and pig feet, beef heart and lamb head. Orlando sells other meats, too. "I sell everything, I sell to everybody. You come in here you see Italians, Americans, Spanish, Portuguese, Puerto Ricans plus all the island people from Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and all those other little places down there. I sell everything but I pay my bills by selling goat and my homemade, all natural Puerto Rican sausages."
Orlandos sausages are in natural skins. " No chemicals, make sure you say that, no preservatives, no nothing bad. I make them like my father showed me, up in the mountains in Arecibo, Puerto Rico where I was born. Arecibo. I got to show you this," Orlando says handing me a gorgeous full color brochure of lush green mountains topped by an exotic metal grid dish. " In Arecibo, weve got the worlds biggest observatory! The biggest in the whole world! And you know how I found out? I went home for vacation! Here!" Laughing, Orlando shows me (and will be happy to show you). " This exact hill here is where I grew up and I never knew about the observatory two hills away. You dont get around much in the mountains man."
Orlando came to the United States 30+ years ago, when he was 13, and got his first and only job in the shop he now owns. "How I got this job - its a story. I come down here shopping with my grandmom. Then this was Giunta Brothers Charlie and Nicky. Im sitting down right there, next to the window. Nicky says something to me. I dont answer because I dont speak one word of English. So, he realizes this, and starts talking Italian Italian is like broken Spanish, Spanish is like broken Italian. If you try you can understand each other. So he says, Howd you like to be a butcher? I say, Why not? He says, Come in after school, start by cleaning up the place. Ill teach you. I come in, sweep up, clean up, learn what I can, little by little in five years I am running the place. I love being a butcher! Look at me!" Orlando laughs and slaps his wide white apron. " I love meat! You want to buy good sausage? Buy it from somebody that looks like he likes to eat!"
Orlandos three Puerto Rican sausages are morcilla, longaniza and chorizo. Morcilla is already cooked, all you need to do is heat and eat. Here is a recipe from Larousse Gastronomique, the bible of haute cuisine.
|Boudins noirs Aux Pommes, Dit a la Mormande
(Blood Sausage with Apples, Normandy Style)
1 pound blood sausage, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 pound cooking apples, sliced coarsely
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Sauté apples in butter (I used olive oil), until they color, add ½ cup of water, add morcilla. Cover and lower temperature, cook for 5 minutes, or until water evaporates and morcilla is hot and slighty brown. Even if blood sausage sounds horrible to you, follow the example of my formerly squeamish friend, and try just a taste of this. As Orlando says, "You eat one tiny bite of morcilla, you wipe up the plate!"
Longaniza is fatty sausage. "Look, thats the way its got to be," Orlando says, " No fat, no longaniza. So fry the fat out."
½ pound longaniza
2 cups rice
4 cups boiling water
Cut longaniza into small pieces, or slit skins and take the meat out. Fry in a large fry pan until done. Pour off all of the fat that will easily pour off. Add rice, stir and sauté until it colors. Add boiling water, ¼ cup at a time, stirring. Wait until water evaporates before adding more, as you would risotto. In about twenty minutes you should have dry, lightly oiled, tender rice and moist tender sausage.
"Everybody can cook chorizo," says Orlando. "Use it like loganiza, with rice, or just brown it and eat it in a sandwich. Or make paella. In Puerto Rico, you know, we make the best paella. No mussels! All lobster, king fish, grouper, island fish! Its the best, but" Orlando says, laughing "I dont know how to make it. We dont eat paella up in the mountains. Maybe there are some readers with a recipe?" Maybe. Will anyone with a recipe with a recipe for Puerto Rican paella send in a copy for Orlando
|Orlando's Quality Meats|
|927 South 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147