The perfect botillo guide: how to choose and cook this ancient sausage

If someone asks, what is the gastronomic product par excellence in El Bierzo? There is no doubt, it is the botillo. However, what we believe to be a modern product, promoted at different events by Luis del Olmo, turns out to have a long history behind it.

It all starts in the Bierzo colonized by the Celts. These discover the magnificent agricultural characteristics of the Bercian lands, full of oak and chestnut trees, and realize that they are special for developing a pig farm. Here the botillo begins to be elaborated, as a product to consume the first days of the slaughter.

Later, with the integration of Bierzo into the Roman world, the botillo did not go unnoticed either and began as a food for the slaves that the Romans exploited working in the gold mines.

Some centuries later, in the Middle Ages, the monks of the Carracedo Abbey, as well as the Templar Order, would have preserved and improved the primitive recipe, later serving the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago as expanders of the botillo for the rest of the region , thus reaching the towns of Galicia and Asturias.

Today, it is consumed throughout the winter, but especially during the carnival season, where sausages and meat products reach their peak in long and comforting meals in northern Spain, to enjoy these pagan festivals.

What exactly is botillo and how is it made?

The botillo is a typical meat product from the west of the peninsula, although the best known is botillo del Bierzo, a product with a protected geographical indication PGI, there are also varieties in Galicia where it is called bottle, also with IGP and whose photograph heads the cover of this article, or in Asturias, where it is called butelo or butiello. The one with the most renown, in addition to those of El Bierzo, may be O Barco de Valdeorras in Ourense along with the Butelo A Fonsagrada in the province of Lugo.

Its basic ingredients are pork rib (minimum 65% and maximum 90%) and pork tail (minimum 10% and maximum 20%) to which it can also be added, depending on the area where it is made and its manufacturer. , other components such as tongue, cheek, shoulder and spine, in a maximum of 20% of the total ingredients.

All these parts of the pig are mixed with paprika, salt, garlic and other natural spices, and everything is stuffed in a casing, in the stomach of the pig or even in the bladder, depending on the area, which in turn has also been marinated previously. Its name already says it, which comes from the Latin term bottle, pork gut.

Subsequently it is smoked with oak firewood and left to cure in optimal conditions of humidity, temperature and aeration. Being in this process where this meat product reaches all its taste properties. It is not a sausage that lasts time. Its expiration date is relatively short, as it ranks easily, losing its organoleptic characteristics. Hence, you can almost always find it in refrigeration, vacuum packaging or even canning.


For 4 people
  • Botillo of approximately 2 kilos 1
  • Fresh chorizo 4
  • Potato 1.5 kg
  • Galician turnip greens or cabbage to taste

How to make a bottle, bottle or butelo

Difficulty: easy
  • Total time 2 h 45 m
  • Elaboration 15 m
  • Cooking 2 h 30 m

The most important thing when preparing a botillo is to have time. It requires a long and calm cooking. The most important point in your cooking process is that the sausage skin does not break at any time, so you either have a lot of experience in cooking or else, you will have to follow one of the methods that I explain in the preparation to avoid this .

We will start by putting a large pot of water to boil. To prevent the botillo from breaking, we will have to wrap it in a cloth sack like boiling chickpeas or a clean cloth, or vacuum-pack it or even put it in one or two plastic food bags.

Put it in the cold water, with the pot uncovered and letting the water cover the bottle about five or six centimeters above it. We will calculate approximately one hour of cooking per kilo of weight of the botillo.

The botillo is usually accompanied by cooked potatoes or cachelos as they are called in Galicia, also with some vegetables, such as Galician turnip greens or cabbage. In some houses, sausages are added to cook to complete the dish.

For the accompaniment, we wash the potatoes and peel them, as well as the chosen vegetables. When 30 minutes are left to finish cooking the botillo, add the potatoes and the sausages and the vegetable if it is harder like cabbage. In the case of turnip greens, just as I have prepared it, simply add them when ten minutes are left. Once cooked, cut it into thick slices or several pieces.

Serve warm, with a good wine and prepare for a nap

Tags:  Vegetables And Legumes Meats And Birds Fish 

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