Recipe: Olla Podrida (Bean Stew From Burgos, Spain)

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This is an extremely simple recipe. The hard part for U.S. readers is going to be finding the ingredients; while one could probably make various interesting substitutions, nothing can take the place of morcilla (blood sausage). Like many traditional recipes, this one has innumerable variations: some add carrots and leeks, some use breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce, many include pig ears and trotters. What follows is the essential version made by Amaia, which seemed to me nearly impossible to improve upon.

Makes enough to serve about 5 people

    • ½ kilo (about 1 pound) alubias de Ibeas or other dried beans, soaked overnight in cold water
    • 10 meaty pork ribs
    • 3 Spanish chorizos (the fresh kind, not cured)
    • 2 Burgos-style morcillas (blood sausages)
    • 1 onion, cut in half
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • a splash of olive oil
    • salt to taste

Put everything except the morcilla in a pressure cooker, and add enough water to cover plus about three fingers more. Close the pressure cooker and place on medium flame. From the moment the pressure cooker begins to whistle, allow to cook for about 40 minutes. Remove from flame and allow to sit for a while (ideally overnight). Before serving, add the morcilla whole and allow to simmer uncovered until the stew has thickened.

The more traditional way of preparing this would be in a clay pot over a low flame, in which case it should simmer for at least 2 hours until the beans are completely soft.

To read Maggie's story about learning to prepare olla podrida from Amaia, click here.

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Maggie Schmitt is a freelance researcher and translator based in Madrid.  She is currently working on a book called The Gaza Kitchen with Laila El-Haddad. Learn more at gazakitchens.wordpress.com.

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