In this cold season, spoon dishes are the ones we most like and among all of them, stew is one of our favorite recipes. Leaving aside the different variations of the stew, -traditional Madrid stew, Andalusian stew, Lebaniego stew, Maragato stew, Galician stew, Catalan escudella etc.-, when preparing these recipes it is important to know what kind of meat, bones and chickpeas should have a perfect stew.
Starting from there, we will introduce the variations of our region, we will use the usual ones of each house and our family recipe to achieve that the broth in which all the flavors of the ingredients used will be concentrated is truly perfect.
These are our recommendations to prepare a perfect stew that comforts us with its flavor and consistency.
Chickpea stew: a recipe with a traditional flavor
Chickpeas and other plant ingredients
The first ingredient we think of when cooking is chickpeas, and here we can distinguish between various kinds of this legume, all of them delicious and that provide a great flavor to the broth, apart from being fundamental in the central “turn”, that of vegetables.
TO broadly there are two fundamental classes: the small ones or Pedrosillanos, of the variety Desi, which are characterized by a very fine skin that rarely comes off and a very particular flavor, and the large or milky ones of the variety Kabuli.
Among those who are most famous We find chickpeas from Fuentesaúco, those from Pico Pardal, the milky Andalusians, those from Aracena, the Chamad and we could continue adding other more local varieties. The choice of one or the other will depend on your taste. Personally, I alternate between one and the other for a change.
Also, it is customary to add one or two potatoes, a carrot and of course the cabbage or collard greens which are cooked separately and sautéed, serving together with the rest of the vegetables in the second turn.
The bones of the stew
Here we could also find variations, depending on the area, but in general, pork and beef bones are used to flavor the broth. These are the ones that I recommend you always use:
A) Pork bones
The traditional thing is to use ham cane bone, preferably if it has a meat tip to be able to serve it together with the rest of meats, and, although not everyone uses it, I always recommend using one or two pieces of salty spine bone, which adds an incredible flavor to the broth.
B) Beef bones
Two are the traditional bones to obtain a good stew broth, the knee bone and the cane bone. The latter is also essential to enjoy the marrow, for many, one of the tastiest parts of this dish. Sometimes these bones are found in small cylinders and other times they are sold in large pieces that the butcher can cut lengthwise to promote the extraction of this precious delicacy.
The stew meats
The stew tradition requires the use various types of meat for the preparation of this recipe:
On the one hand the hen, which makes a very good broth and adds flavor and power. After being cooked in the pot, it does not add much since it leaves all its flavor in the broth but it is usually served with meats. Chicken can be substituted for chicken. You can also use chicken or hen carcasses and you will get the flavor.
Regarding the veal meats, two are the fundamental pieces, the skirt and the black pudding. The first, the skirt gives a spectacular taste to the broth, although being “uglier” after cooking, it is not so appreciated when turning meats. At home, we iron the brisket before serving it, making it more palatable and presentable.
The blood sausage or hock, with its unctuous and honeyed meat is the most grateful meat of the stew. It is preferable to use pieces of about 300 g so that they release their gelatin more easily and are cooked just right so that the meat is very tender.
Regarding pork products, in a stew as the canons order, there must be white bacon, streaky bacon or bacon, a tip of ham, one or two sausages and optionally black pudding, -which I personally do not usually add-. The chorizo can be cooked separately so that it does not stain the broth with the red color derived from the paprika.
According to the areas, in addition to the indicated meats, We will also find cooked to which is added lamb meat, pig trotters, lean pork, a piece of ham or other meat products, fresh, cured or salted.
Other necessary ingredients in the preparation of the stew
The filling or the ball is another classic ingredient of the stew, usually made with a mixture of egg, breadcrumbs, parsley and a little broth to which in some areas minced pork or beef is added, and they are cooked at the last minute.
Finally, we need to talk about the noodles, and here we also find different varieties depending on their size. Personally I like to make the soup -after removing the vegetables, meats and bones and straining the broth- using fine hair noodles, although for example my mother uses intermediate or entrefinos and other members of my family prefer fat noodles. This is up to you.
Surely in your homes the stew is personalized with some other ingredients, for example some people add leeks, some people add chicken thighs or some people add cumin or mint in the soup. To enrich this article on what kind of meats, bones and chickpeas should be used to make a good stewYou can leave your contributions in comments so that we can all improve this spoon dish that we like so much.
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