Sunday, November 26, 2023



Old school olla stewpot.

The olla is the good stewpot, supply of the whole lot scrumptious—consolation meals from mom’s kitchen; lusty soups with legumes and sausage; delicate broths, and opulent stews. The olla is each sustenance and jubilation. On a regular basis and fiesta.

The potbellied stewpot, which may be set on a tripod over a cooking fireplace, is the cooking vessel for gypsy wayfarers and itinerant laborers, who would possibly pluck just a few greens from a area or fruits from an orchard on their passage down a rustic street. Their vegetable and legume stew got here to be generally known as olla gitana or “gypsy pot.” 

Though vegetarian, this stew is remarkably contundente—strong—full of nourishment and taste. Good winter days.

Olla Gitana comes from the area of Murcia, famed for its horticulture. It contains chickpeas and infrequently white beans in addition to squash, flat inexperienced beans (bajoques) and pears. Sure, pears. The Andalusian model often has the addition of a maja’o, or “mash” of fried bread, almonds and garlic.

Murcia produces excellent candy pimentón, paprika that’s sun-dried, not smoked, which might usually be used on this recipe. However, add a little bit smoked pimentón, if that pleases you. Some would possibly even like a pinch of sizzling pimentón picante, sizzling paprika. Make sure to add a sprig of mint to the recent stew on the finish. 

A vegetarian stew, with each chickpeas and white beans, squash, potatoes and inexperienced beans, flavored with a sofrito of onions, tomatoes and pimentón. The shock ingredient is pears!

A strong vegetable stew. Right here, completed with fried garlic and almonds.

Gypsy Stewpot

Olla Gitana

You will have cooked chickpeas and white beans for this recipe. If utilizing dry legumes, soak them in a single day, drain and cook dinner in recent water till tender. Or, use canned or jarred peas and beans, drained and rinsed. Use vast, flat inexperienced beans (romano beans), if doable. If they’re recent, reduce them briefly lengths and blanch them earlier than including to the stewpot. I simply occurred to have a jar of beans in conserva in my pantry (they’d been requisitioned for a crusing voyage and by no means used), so I included them. 

Use any number of agency pear for this stew. If pears are smooth, add them on the very finish of cooking time. Reduce small ones in quarters, giant ones in chunks.

I served the bowls of stew with a refrito of fried sliced garlic and almonds.

Jars of legumes, canned tomatoes go into the stew.

Serves 6-8.

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Pinch of saffron threads

1 tablespoon pimentón (paprika, not smoked)

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas

7 cups water

1 carrot, reduce in items

1 pound squash or pumpkin, reduce in chunks

¾ pound potatoes, reduce in chunks

2-3 teaspoons salt

1 bay leaf

Pinch of dried mint

2 cups cooked and drained cannellini beans

2 cups canned or cooked inexperienced beans, drained

2-3 pears

Recent mint, to serve

For the refrito (non-compulsory)

Olive oil

Sliced garlic

Almonds, chopped

Pink pepper flakes or minced purple chile (non-compulsory)

Sofrito with pimentón.

Warmth the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic till softened, 3 minutes. Add the saffron and fry it briefly. Take away the pan from the warmth and stir within the pimentón. Add the tomatoes. Return the skillet to the warmth and cook dinner till the tomatoes lose their moisture. Take away from the warmth.

Add the onion-tomato sofrito to a big stew pot. Add the chickpeas, water, carrot,  squash and potatoes. Season with salt, bay and dried mint. Carry the water to a boil, cut back the warmth and cook dinner, coated, 20 minutes. Add the cannellini beans and proceed cooking, 5-10 minutes or till the potatoes and squash are tender. 

Peel the pears, take away cores and, if they’re small, quarter them. If giant, reduce the pears in chunks. Add the pears to the stew pot with the inexperienced beans. Cook dinner 5 minutes. Take away the pot from the warmth and permit to settle 5 minutes.

Warmth 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Fry sliced garlic with chopped almonds and purple pepper flakes, if desired. 

Serve the vegetable stew with sprigs of recent mint and a spoonful of the garlic-almond oil.

Make sure to add a spring of recent mint to the stew earlier than serving.



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