“It’s better to have two mouthfuls of beef than seven of potatoes”
As this old expression suggests, the Spaniards consume a lot of meat and judging from the taste and quality of their meats, who can blame them? Whenever I am in Spain, I consistently forget to eat my veggies so hooked am I on their abundant and enticingly vast array of meat dishes. Merely reading out a menu is like reciting sweet poetry; the words undulating around my tongue and straight into the pleasure centers of my brain:
Morcilla de cebolla,Estofado de buey,
Caldereta de cordero
… ahhh, Sí !
|Platter of freshly carved Jamon|
|Callos Madrilenos (Madrid-style tripe)|
|Morcilla (blood sausage) with quail egg|
|Flaming little fat sausages|
Needless to say, after a few weeks of carnal debauchery, I habitually return home with a raging appetite for salads, and believe me that is grossly out of character.
There is a wonderful stew recipe I came across many years ago in a Spanish cook book and it’s a frequent go-to for me if I have guests coming around and don’t want any surprises. It’s a sure thing and I have yet to meet someone who has not liked this dish. But don’t let its looks deceive you because behind those vibrant colours and textures lies a shamefully easy recipe that packs in mucho sabor.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
Olive oil2 ½ lb. (or 1 kg) stewing beef (i.e. shin), cut into large chunks and season with salt and pepper
3 carrots, sliced thickly
A dozen small whole pickling onions or shallots, peeled
1 ½ cups of prunes, pitted
2 ½ cups good red wine
2 tbsp. pine nuts, lightly toasted
Salt and pepper
· In a casserole pot, add oil and brown the beef on all sides.
· Add the rest of the ingredients, save the pine nuts and parsley
· Cover and cook on low heat on the stovetop for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally
· When done, sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley