SLIDE SHOW: A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands

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Juan Alcón


The vast expanses of high Castile in the springtime.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón


The town of Covarrubias, in the province of Burgos, is known as the "cradle of Castile."


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón


Morcilla, a black sausage made with blood and rice, is object of veneration in Burgos. Here, some particularly exquisite artisan examples. They're not pretty to look at and kind of repulsive to think about, but, oh! they really are delicious.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

Amaia in her family's kitchen, upstaged by a morcilla.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

Amaia is an accomplished economist, and gives a strictly materialist account of the origins of olla podrida.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

The Alubia de Ibeas is a beautiful red bean grown on the inhospitable highlands of Burgos. It is what sets the olla podrida apart from other bean stews.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

Peeling garlic as guests stream in and out of the kitchen.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

podrida_10.JPG

Juan Alcón

There are a lot of us: Amaia prepares two separate pots to feed the whole crowd.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

"This isn't very authentic ... I bought everything at the supermarket."


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

All the ingredients are simply piled into the pot. Other versions of this recipe call for cooking the beans and meat separately and then mixing, but it hardly seems necessary.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón


Chorizo is a much beloved ingredient in nearly all Spanish bean stews. The cured version is for eating on its own, whereas uncured chorizos are used for cooking. This is not the same as Mexican or other Latin American chorizo.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón


Amaia is a matter-of-fact cook, dispatching the whole operation in minutes. The result is no less magnificent for her lack of fussiness.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón


The morcilla is added after all the other ingredients are fully cooked, and allowed to simmer for a little while. Otherwise it would crumble and fall apart.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

podrida_16.JPG

Juan Alcón

The ingredients are generously covered with cold water, and the whole thing goes onto the fire.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón

The result is a dense, rich, flavorful stew.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

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Juan Alcón


El Cid Campeador, medieval hero of the reconquista and icon of Castile, macho man par excellance. He was, no doubt, a great consumer of olla podrida.


Maggie Schmitt leads us to Castile to discover the region's take on beans and pork in
A Hearty Bean Stew From the Spanish Highlands.

Presented by

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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