Escudella i Carn d´Olla (Rustic Meat Stew)
Akin to pot-au-feu from neighboring France, escudella is basically a slow-cooked meat, bean and vegetable stew served in two courses. First you eat the broth with a bit of pasta, and later the meat (known as carn d´olla), served with a vinaigrette.
* 1 lb piece each beef rib, stewing lamb, and pancetta
* 1 cup dried Mongetes del gaxet or chickpeas
* 1/2 chicken, about 1 lb
* 6 oz piece ham bone
* 2 each carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery stalks, and leeks
* 4 russet potatoes, peeled
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 1/4 head green cabbage, sliced
* 6 oz each ground pork and veal
* 3 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 1 crushed
* 1 large egg
* Leaves of 8 springs fresh flat-leaf parsley
* salt and ground pepper
* All-purpose flour for dusting
* 2 blood sausages
* 1/2 lb raw pork sausages
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* Pinch of Saffron
* 5 oz fideos or vermicelli
Cooking Time 2 hours
Soak the dried mongetes del ganxet or chickpeas overnight in water to cover.
Fill a large stockpot two-thirds full ofwater and add the beef, lamb, pancetta, chicken, and ham bone. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour skimming egularly.
Drain the beans, then add to the stockpot and simmer for 1 hour.
Peel and chop the carrots, parsnips, and turnips. Chop the celery and the white and pale green parts of the leeks. cut the potatoes into 3 inch pieces. Add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery, leeks, potatoes, onion, and cabbage to the stockpot and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs: In a bowl, mix together the pork, veal, minced garlic, egg, and half of the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Form the mxture into 10 small balls and dust generously with the flour. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
After the stew has simmered a total of 3 hours, the beans should be thoroughly tender, the vegetables softened, and the liquid reduced by half. Taste the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Reduce the heat to low and place the sausages, and meatballs on top of the other ingredients. cover the pot and cook until the sausages and meatballs are firm and opaque, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince the reamining parsley leaves. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, crushed garlic, and minced parsley. Add the olive iol in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the vinegrette aside.
Remove the pot from the heat and lale out as much of the broth as possible, pouring it through a sieve into a saucepan. In a small frying pan over medium heat, toast the saffron to a mortar and pestle and grind to a powder. Add the saffron and fideos to the broth and simmer over low heat until the noodles are soft, about 4 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls for the first course.
To serve the second course, slice the sausages and arrange the meat and vegetables on a separate serving platter. Drizzle with some of the vinegrette and serve the remaining vinegrette on the side.
Wine pairing: Coronas, Crianza Tinto 2003. DO Penedes
Pic by JaulaDeArdilla, Flickr