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Jams and Marmalades
Mosto Cotto con Sangue di Maiale (Mosto Cotto with Pig's Blood)
Originated from: Santa Croce di Magliano, Molise, Italy
Occasion: The Feast Day of the Pig and Easter
Contributed by: Mrs. Maria Brenna

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Musto Cotto con Sangue di Maiale (Dialect: Must' Cuott' cu sang' du puorc')

2 cups mosto cotto for every cup of freshly slaughtered pig's blood used


Add freshly slaughtered pig's blood and mosto cotto in a large pan.

Bring to a boil and continue stirring until it is creamy in texture.

Cool and place in containers.

Use when needed as a pastry filling [mostly used at Easter to fill caveciuni].


Mrs. Maria Brenna, a first generation Italian Canadian, notes that in her town of Sante Croce, farmers made blood pudding from freshly slaughtered pig's blood and mosto cotto. The mosto cotto was made in the fall, generally in October, after the grapes were harvested and the wine grapes were crushed. The juice for the mosto cotto was taken from the crushed grapes. The crushed grapes ("must") were fresh, so there was no alcoholic content in the juice, as the "must" had not yet boiled. The juice was then boiled in a large cauldron and reduced. This reduced juice was then called "mosto cotto" -- "cooked must." As noted, this mosto cotto or grape syrup [see recipe], was then preserved for further use. Later in the year, generally in December or January, when the pigs were slaughtered, the mosto cotto was added to the freshly slaughtered pig's blood and boiled down and turned into a kind of pudding or jelly. According to Mrs. Maria Brenna the pig's blood had to be absolutely fresh as it coagulated very quickly. The cook, who was preparing this delicacy, had to be highly experienced and skilled for the recipe to come out right. While the resulting blood pudding might not sound appetizing to second generation Italian-Canadians, Mrs. Maria Brenna notes that when she was growing up in the early 1940s most individuals liked it. Back then sugar was rather expensive, so farmers often used "mosto cotto" to make various desserts. In Sante Croce, Molise, the "Mosto cotto col Sangue di Maiale" was used to stuff caveciuni which were generally made for the Easter holidays....P.S. A visitor to the site mentioned that her family which is from Casacalenda made "Sanguinacci cookies" in the 1930s. The cookies used fresh pig's blood and cocoa powder. Apparently, it's now forbidden by the EU to use fresh pig's blood in home cooking.... Image ID: The New York Public Library, Digital Gallery #488121.

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