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THE MELTING POT
The pot (pot-au-feu in french; in catalan, escudella i carn d' olla) is one of the great dishes of peasant french cuisine , or pesant and bourgeois (urban) cooking in Catalona (luxury versions)
It consists of a variety of meat and vegetables (in Catalonia, the richest of them, not only the tipically carrots, turnips, oniosn, leeks and celery, but also potatoes, cabbage and beans or chick-peas, and a great meat ball), simmered long and slow in a large pot, with addition of rice or pasta. The broth- very taste- is drunk first, and the the meat and vegetables folow a separte course. A salad is a good accompaniment.
I dedicate this dish to my friend William Calvert, from Australia, an atheist (or agnostic) like me. Despite the names of the dish, its very not religious: for the catholics, is not convenient, because is so erotic; for the prostestants, also, is to much pleasant. for bddhist, sikhs, hinduist, etc., is no vegetarias, and for islamics and jewish, contain pork...Despite the jewish are a similar dihs, the tcholent, haní in catalan, adafina in spanish.
The escudella name was the bowl in wuih soups and sauce dishes were served in the Middle Age (the first eruropean book of cooking, is catalan, LLibre de Sent Soví, s. XIV; it contains this recipe, whitous potatoes-...to be eaten with bread).
Later on the container, as often happens, gave its name to the contents.
This has been one of the emblematic national dishes of Catalan co0king for centuries.
Its formulation is, however, realtively recnet, since at least two its ingreidients come from America: the potatoes and the white beans which in may aeas are prefered to chick-peas.
They are versions for every day (with lots of vegetables, an dbones rather than meat) and for feast day, culminating in the Olla de Nadal or "Christmas hotpot" , also called the olla dels quatre evangelistes ("four apsoles hotpot") since it must include pork,lamb , veal and chicken.
3-4 litres of water
meats: salt and fresh porc (not smoked) ribs, bacon, tail, snout, trotters, ear, belly, etc.; beef: bones, marrowbone, knucke, breast, flank, shank, tail, etc,; lamb: leg, breast, neck (small amounts)
chicken or hen:breast, wings, legs, gizzard, carcase, ovaries...
sausages: black catalan sausage (thin and tender, or thik an cured, similar to black pudding,, but with a lot of meat. You can omit.
vegetables: a handful of whuite beans (aobut 300 g), chickpeas (optional)
1 k of red potatoes (or less)
half a head of green or loose-leaf cabbage (Milan style) celery, carrot, leek, onion, turnip, parnisp, etc.
meat ball: 200 g of minced lean meat (mixted pork and beef), breadcrumbs, 1 egg. garlic, paraley, pepper, cinnamon, flour
Various: 5o g (appprox) of rendered pook fat made into a ball with flour
rice (bomba, arborio..) and noodles or past for soup
saffron (optional, for the broth)
Put the beans to suck the day before.
Clean the pieces o meat and bones and chop them into medium-sized pieces.
Place a large stew-pot (olla, in catalan; faitout, in french) on the stove with plenty of salted water, with the bones and meat, the beans and the ball of floured lar.
Leave to boil for at lest an hour, with the pt covered and on a medium heat, and have boil, skimm off the fat.
Leave to boil for at least an hour, with the pot covered and on a medium heat.
Menwnhile, make teh peat ball (pilota)
Place ona plate the minced meat,(and some minced bacon), the breadcrumbs, an dthe chopped garlic and parsley, salt and spices. Mix the ingredients with a fork, adding the elg (like a hamburger!), and form the paste into a oval shape. Roll in flur until it turns quite solid. Then add it into the pot together with a black sausage, the potatoes (peeled and scored) and the other vegetables (but the hard onis, lik turis, etc. must be put before).
After half an hour of cooking, strain the broth, and place into a boil again, with the rice and noddles or other pasta foru about 15/20 minutes.It doesnt`matter if the rice and pasta turn a little "gummy", althougt some people, prefer it al dente.
Serve the broth as the fisrt course; the second course consist of the platter with the meats, black pudding and meat ball cut into thickish slices, and another with ten beans, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables.
With a nice presentation. The bears are a bit esthetic friends!
Note: at the moment of adding the rice and noodles to the broth, yo can also add strips of cabbage. Delicious! It seems a chinese soup!
The rice and noodles can be repalced for the shell-sahped catalan galets, or cracked wueat, corn or barley (in teh Pyrinees).
This recipe can also make one single dish, serving the meats and vegetables, minced, in the: is the "mixed hotppot" (escudella barrejada).
The leftover meats or vegetable (the catalan like the topic says, are like scottish or jewish, "tightfisted") can be used to make round catlan omelettes (maswiths mashet vegetables), croquettes, etc.
Bolhit (Provence), Garbure (Gascony)
Bollito misto (Italy)