Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Cocido Montañés - Cantabrian Mountain Stew

I've just come back from an extended weekend trip to the North of Spain. More specific to Potes, a tiny mountain village in the province of Cantabria. And while there, we went out for a nice meal to try out some of the local dishes. In a small family-run-restaurant we were served the loveliest of stews - Cocido Montañes, mountain stew - in a pot on the table, so everyone could help themselves serving as much as they liked. So the next day we went out looking for local products so I could share this experience with you. While you might not be able to find all the ingredients, you can just add as many as you like and improvise for the rest. Hope you give it a try.
Ingredients (8 people):
500 g white beans (left in water the night before)
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
Handful of Berza (Collard Greens, can be substituted for any type of cabbage)
A pig's ear (This is optional)
50g tocino (pork belly fat)
1 hueso de jamon (bone of cured ham)
300 g Costilla adobada (pork ribs rubbed in paprika and oregano and left overnight)
1 l of chicken or beef stock
300 ml water
4 chorizos (Spanish spicy sausage)
3-4 potatoes
2 carrots
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 tbsp tomato pure
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp spicy paprika
1 tbsp mild paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp flour
1/2 glass white wine
1 glass of water
a good squirt of Port wine

Just to get you into the mood of this dish, here's a picture of Potes, the village we visited.

And my friend, Ben, and I buying some garlic at the farmer's market.

And my "harvest" of beans (L2R: pintas, lentejas, judiones de la granja. Top: alubia blanca)

And on to the dish itself: Leave the beans in water overnight.

On the day, start by cutting the stems off the berza. Reserve the leafs and chop up the stems finely. Fry the stems in the olive oil in a large pot or pressure cooker.

Add the pig's ear and tocino. Fry for a few minutes.

Add the hueso de jamon and ribs.

Get rid of the water from the beans and add them to the pot with the meat and pour over the stock and water until he beans are covered.

Pinch the skin of the chorizo saussages. Add them to the pot.

Bring to a boil and skim off the foam on top.

Cut the potatoes and carrots into smaller chunks. Add them to the stew.

Put the lid on the pot and let simmer for a couple of hours until the beans are cooked. If you have a pressure cooker, put the lid on and cook at mark 2 for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and let it de-pressurise slowly.

Meanwhile, make the sofrito by chopping the onion finely and shredding the carrot and sweat it slowly in a bit of olive oil with some salt.

When the onion and carrots are soft, add the tomato pure. Stir.

Add the crushed garlic. Fry for a few minutes.

Mix the spices (thyme, paprika, flour).

Pour it over the onion. Fry for a few minutes while stirring so it doesn't catch.

Then add the wine. Let it evaporate before adding the water.

Let it simmer slowly with the water. When it gets quite thick add the port wine.

Roll up the leafs of the berza into a "cigar" and cut them finely.

Cut up the chorizos in smaller chunks. Add the sofrito and the berza leafs to the stew. Heat it through for 5 minutes.

Serve while hot, or even better, leave it for next day. It only gets better as the days go by.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Absolutely authentic Potes Cocido Montañes...
Traditionally eaten out of one big pot, but as 3 separate courses, first the Faldo, or broth, second the beans and veg, and finally the meat.
Often served with guindillas - hot green chillies , and Orujo, the Cantabrian aguardiente !
Enjjoy !