We have a delicious Spanish recipe to share with you from Lonely Planet’s, From the Source: Spain.
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‘Crumbs’ from Extremadura
The stunning town of Cáceres, in one of the most remote corners of Spain, sits in farming country, and its dishes reflect that. Migas were created by shepherds to keep them nourished all day.
Chef: Alejandro Jarrones Arias
Location: El Figón de Eustaquio, Cáceres
Like so many Spanish dishes, migas has its roots in the long days of walking that shepherds would endure to find fresh pastureland for their sheep, carrying the bare bones of a meal in their pockets to be cooked over an open fire. These basic ingredients largely consisted of leftover bread (migas means breadcrumbs), salt and garlic, which would be added to whatever vegetables could be found along the way, and later came to include cured ham and sausages. There are regional variations from Aragon, from Andalucía, but the Extremadura version is generally considered to be the classic one. ‘We have other well-known dishes in the region,’ says Alejandro Jarrones Arias, ‘But migas and Extremadura are inextricably connected.’
El Figón de Eustaquio has been honouring this connection for over half a century. Opened by Eustaquio Blanco in 1947, and still run by the same family, it has fed a staggering amount of visitors to the picturesque medieval town of Cáceres. In that time, the menu has changed little. ‘That’s what we’re about’ confirms Alejandro. ‘I would say about 80% of the dishes have stayed the same, but that’s why people come here.’
‘The important thing with migas is to keep it moving in the pan so all the crumbs are soaked in the juice,’ Alejandro explains, ‘and the shepherds had plenty of time for this. There’s a saying: “Las migas del pastor, cuanto más vueltas mejor; las del gañán, a las dos vueltas están.”’ With the shepherd’s crumbs, the more they are stirred the better; with the farmhand’s crumbs, a couple of times will do.
‘Crumbs’ from Extremadura
Preparation & cooking time 30min
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced finely
1 red pepper, diced finely
1 tsp of pimentón dulce (sweet paprika)
250ml chicken or beef stock, or 250ml water with salt
4 eggs (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the garlic and pepper. When the garlic begins to brown, add the pancetta and the chorizo.
2. Once it has cooked, after 5–10 minutes, add the paprika and stir, then quickly add the stock to make sure the paprika doesn’t burn.
3. Add the breadcrumbs and combine over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the bread has soaked up all the juice.
4. You can serve with a fried egg on top of each portion, if desired.
Tip: Native to Extremadura, pimentón de la Vera is a pungent smoky paprika, generally considered to be the best you can find. It’s available in Spanish delicatessens and even large supermarkets.
This is an extract from From the Source: Spain, written by Sally Davies and photographed by Margaret Stepien © Lonely Planet 2016. In stores now, RRP: $34.99, www.lonelyplanet.com
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Published 7 September 2016 / 272 pages, full colour, hardcover / RRP: $34.99 ea.
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