Straight from Segovia, a historic city just northwest of Madrid, comes cochifrito. It's a typical regional dish that's rich in flavor and has a beautiful contrast of crunchy and juicy textures, and rich flavors.
Cochifrito or cuchifrito comes from the Latin "cocho" which means to cook, and "frito" from frying. This type of preparation is famous in the countryside, not only because it's delicious, but also because it is a relatively simple process. In other words, cochifrito does not refer to the dish as such but to the type of preparation
In the ancient days, this style of dish was made with goat or lamb meat. Today, the dish is not only made with pork but specifically suckling pig, a prized delicacy in the region of Segovia.
Check out this step-by-step guide to preparing cochifrito suckling pig:
How to Prepare a Good Cochifrito
There are different ways to prepare a cochifrito, but each is relatively easy. The traditional recipe only uses salt as a seasoning and just four ingredients, water included. But other variations prepare the meat with garlic, herbs, or vinegary marinade.
- 1 suckling pig
- Olive oil
- Cut the suckling pig into small square portions, about 3 cm in size. This should be fairly easy, as the meat is soft.
- Fill a large sauce pan halfway with water and sprinkle in some salt. Heat the water and once hot, add the pieces of suckling pig meat.
- Let the meat cook for about 30 minutes. As it cooks, you will notice a white foam starts to appear on the surface. Skim the foam from the surface to remove any impurities.
- Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the water and pat dry.
- Grab a frying pan and heat a few glugs of olive oil over high heat.
- When the oil starts to bubble, fry the meat. Work in batches to fry evenly and keep the temperature nice and hot. This also helps to fry quickly and keep the pork from absorbing more fat and liquid. In turn, it will get browned and crispy.
- Taste for salt, season accordingly, and serve warm. ¡Buen provecho!
Alternative Cochifrito Confit
Some people prefer to avoid using water to boil the pork and instead use olive oil to slowly confit the meat. This does require a good amount of olive oil, but if you don't mind using it up, confit cochifrito is a delicious alternative.
The steps are the same, except you will use olive oil instead of water:
- Fill the pan with olive oil (instead of water) and heat to medium-low temperature. You don't want the oil to bubble, so try to keep it below 212ºF.
- Add the pork to the pan and cook the pieces for 30 minutes. Keep in mind you are not frying at this point, but slowing cooking the pork in oil. With so much water still in the pork, you won't be able to crisp it up at this stage anyways.
- Once the meat is cooked, drain the pork and remove it from the oil, being sure to save the oil for confit-ing other meats or vegetables.
- Once all the oil has drained, proceed with the remaining steps in the recipe to fry the cochifrito.
Tips for Cooking the Best Cochifrito
- Use the highest quality meat you can find. The best dishes can only be achieved with the right ingredients, especially with dishes like this that have so few ingredients.
- Suckling pig is the ideal meat here. It's absurdly tender and has a thin skin that crisps up perfectly if cooked properly. You can also try this with suckling lamb.
- Try adding a splash of vinegar to the cochifrito when serving. It's a nice acidic contrast to the fats of the pork and olive oil.