Erbazzone: a recipe from the Emilian tradition
There is a recipe that, more than the others, represents the peasant culture and tradition of Reggio Emilia and its surroundings. Exactly! You guessed it: it is the Erbazzone.
Locally also known as “scarpazzone“, the erbazzone is a savory cake, also closed in the upper part, with a filling made from chard, enriched with Parmigiano Reggiano and lard or bacon.
Born from the expert hands of a “Razdora“, the typical peasant woman, the true queen of the home and good food. Originally the erbazzone was a recovery recipe, a way to use the discarded part of the chard, or the bitter and hard stems, called “shoe”.
The original recipe seems to be “contaminated” by Jewish culture: in Emilia in general, and in Reggio Emilia in particular, Jews were numerous and the first erbazzone was put on sale in the oven of the ghetto, in the center of Reggio Emilia.
Like any home-made specialty, it is difficult to find an official recipe; each family prepares it in its own way. Some replace the lard with butter or oil, or add spinach and bacon to the filling.
Here is a recipe that comes as close as possible to the original one.
Wash the chard thoroughly, blanch them and finally chop them coarsely.
In a pan over high heat, melt a part of the lard and then add the onion, previously cut into thin strips, and the garlic cloves.
When they are browned, add the chard, season with salt and pepper and, after lowering the heat, simmer for a few minutes.
Then remove the garlic and let the mixture cool.
After a few minutes, add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Now dedicate yourself to the pastry.
Pour the sifted flour and a pinch of salt on the cutting board, start kneading by adding the lard. Add the water, a little at a time, working the dough until you get a soft and elastic dough.
Let it rest at room temperature for half an hour.
Now divide the dough into two parts. Pull part of it with a rolling pin until you get a veil a few millimeters thick and that is wider than the pan or mold you will use to cook it. Place the pastry sheet on the mold / pan leaving it overflowing.
Pour the mixture of chard, prepared previously, on the pastry evenly, leveling it.
Roll out the second half of the dough thinner than the first and slightly wider than the mold. Then place it on top of the mixture in order to cover it completely. Fold the edges of the two sheets on all sides, cutting the excess dough and sealing them well with your fingers. With a fork, prick the entire surface.
After preheating the oven, bake for 20/30 minutes at 180/200 degrees.
The Erbazzone will be ready when the surface is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and put a little lard on the surface and then bake for a few more minutes.
The Erbazzone is now ready to be served.
Tasting it you will feel the typical rustic and genuine flavor of Emilian cuisine, the contrast between the crunchiness of the dough and the softness of the filling.
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