The Argentine hospitality, I have already written about that more then once. When at the same restaurants as our neighbours (whom we knew by sight only) they came to our table, asking if we’d want to come over to their house the next day to have a “lechón preparado en el horno de barro”. A piglet prepared in the mud oven.
The invitation came totally unexpected, and we didn’t really have time (at least I didn’t, I was supposed to study for my exam, which I have been putting off day after day) but what the heck, we never had a sucking pig in a mud oven, the neighbours seemed really nice, and I am quite convinced I’ll succeed for my exam anyhow, so we accepted.
After they had asked what our name is, they asked where our kids were. Yes. When you are invited to an asado, it is common to take your kids, even if they are not specifically included in the invitation. The Argentines always prepare so much meat that you could even take your parents and cousins (and they would be accepted with open arms!). There is always enough, and they will always find an extra chair of whatever to sit on and offer you the best chair of all. That might be necessary, as an asado always lasts for hours and hours. They had invited other neighbours as well and we were about 20 people sitting outside in the sun on this lovely autumn afternoon. While waiting for the pigs, we were served wine and choripán and the more wine we had the better my husbands Spanish became…
The neighbour looked at me in disbelieve when I asked him how this mud oven works. You really don’t know? Really! But he was more then happy to explain the whole process to me.
The mud oven looks like a little iglo, made out of mud (of course), with a little door. They put wood in it, and put it on fire. When the fire is dead, they remove the ashes. The oven is then so hot that if you put a piece of paper in it, it will set fire. Then it is ready to put the pig in and close the oven up, for two hours or even longer. Depending on the size of the pig, of course.
The pigs were absolutely delicious, and the company was great. After dinner we were offered té Burrito. It is supposed to be typical Argentine, the lady of the house said, but the other Argentines present didn’t know it either.
This is how you make it :
Take a can, put lots of sugar in it. Then take 3 or 4 pieces of charcoal (!) out of your(still hot) parrilla and put it into the sugar (preferably outside as it smokes a lot). In the meantime boil water, take it off the fire, put branches of burrito and of cedron in it and then poor it over the sugar with the charcoal. It looks dark brown almost black and it is absolutely delicious!
Burrito is also known as ‘Aloysia Polystichya’ and as ‘té Andino’. It is a digestive herb/tea. It tastes a bit like mint with a touch of celery. With the charcoal it also has a barbecue flavour. I loved it!
But now I am really wondering if anybody else has ever tasted this tea…. Charcoal in tea?! Does anybody know where the tea comes from?! Nothing on the internet!! All information is welcom!