Home Spain stamps A recipe from Migas, Colorado, for a Spanish cooking class

A recipe from Migas, Colorado, for a Spanish cooking class

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In the cuisine of the three Mediterranean countries of Roman origin – France, Italy and Spain – the region or place counts more than the country. For example, “Italian cuisine” does not exist. (“La cucina italiana non esiste.”) Of course, Piedmontese cuisine exists, as does Tuscan cuisine, and so on throughout the peninsula.

So, too, with Spain and France. Regional “cupboards”, so to speak, each distinct and identifiable, make up the kitchens of these three countries. They come together to constitute “French cuisine” or “Italian cuisine”.

However, in Spain these cabinets are secured together by the dual influence of history and religion in a way not seen in France or Italy.

For example, the Arabs owned most of the Iberian Peninsula from AD 711 to AD 1492 and had a profound influence on all of Spanish cuisine. Thousands of Spanish words are of Arabic origin (gobs begin with the letter (s) “a” or “al”) and several hundred are culinary: aceite (oil), aceituna (olive), arroz (rice), for n ‘to name just three.

Whenever you see the following from anywhere in Spain it is the stamps of Arabia: clay pots, kebabs, saffron, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, eggplant, zucchini, parsley, mint, cilantro, anise, meatballs, stuffed vegetables, chickpeas and all. at all with almonds (for which there are dozens of recipes). Not to mention the sauces or soups thickened with almonds or breadcrumbs, fruits or vegetables candied in vinegar or sugar syrup, and meats cooked with fruit.

During their nearly 800-year reign, the Moors by and large allowed the large resident Jewish and Christian populations to go about their culinary and religious pursuits (the two being almost always intertwined in Western food history). They shared an aversion to pork with the Jews, but with the Christians an affinity for sweets and pastries.

For their part, the culinary imprint of the Sephardic Jews on Spanish cuisine is as large as that of the Arabs. Here is just their list: cooking in and with olive oil; lamb dishes; the hundreds of dishes called “ollas” (stews prepared overnight or hours in advance in the manner of the cholent Sabbath); pickled foods; yogurt; and countless salads and green vegetables.

Discovering the New World was not (entirely) a religious concern, but it was the Spanish Christians who did. And, after 1492, Spain brought back to itself a dizzying array of foods that mark Spanish cuisine to this day: tomato, chocolate, chili, and sweet peppers (including the dried peppers called paprika). , dried beans and potato, among many others. food.

But the most important Christian Spanish influence on Spanish cuisine is pork, tolerated as food only by Spanish Christians, unlike Spanish Jews and Muslim Arabs.

For centuries, no country in the western world of cooking has done more with pork than Spain.

The recipe here delves into this heritage. Migas (the word means “crumbs”) is a simple, peasant-inspired dish almost always flavored with both pork fat and meat and found throughout Spain (in every “cupboard” of the country’s cuisine) marked by distinct regional flourishes. This migas is designed to be one of the Colorado cabinets.

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Migas are cooked in different ways in different parts of Spain and are garnished here with a fried egg.

Migas, Colorado

To make it an authentic migas (i.e. one that reflects its region), purchase as many Colorado-produced or locally grown ingredients as you could find (bread, bacon, eggs, etc.). For 2.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups day-old bread (or more), crumbled firmly, crusts left, cut or broken into small pieces, each about the size of a chickpea
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fruity olive oil
  • 4 thick slices of bacon (salted, unsalted, smoked or non-smoked, your choice), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Spanish, Mexican or Colorado chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (to taste), peeled and very thinly sliced ​​(or crushed and chopped)
  • 3/4 cup mild to medium pueblo peppers, seeded, veined and finely chopped (can be fresh or roasted and peeled)
  • 4 poached or fried eggs, runny yolks, set aside and kept slightly warm
  • 16-20 sweet green or red grapes (optional)

instructions

The day before (or, if it’s a late lunch or dinner, earlier in the day), soak the bread in water and salt in a bowl, turning the pieces over with your hands and gently pressing on the bread to distribute the liquid evenly. Cover and set aside.

In a skillet (you can use a nonstick if you want) over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, bacon and chorizo ​​and crisp them, making them fat. Using a skimmer, remove the meats and set aside on paper towels to drain a little.

To the fat in the pan, add the garlic and let it sizzle and lose its color, but for only about 1 to 2 minutes. (Do not let it blacken or burn.) Remove it and set aside with the meats. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the chilies and let them cook slowly for 10 minutes, stirring several times. Again, remove the peppers and set aside with the meats and garlic.

Increase the heat to medium-high. A good amount of fat should remain in the pan; otherwise, add a little olive oil. To the fat in the pan, add the moistened bread, pressing it down with a spatula (as if it were a large pancake) and fry for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally and breaking the pieces.

Halfway through cooking, stir in the reserved meats, garlic and peppers. Keep frying, flipping, and breaking up the migas. You want to end up with smaller and smaller pieces of crisp, crispy, golden brown bread that still retain a bit of chewiness or sweetness inside.

Serve, with each serving topped with 2 eggs, with the optional grapes scattered around the migas on the plate.

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