Recipes,  Stews

Traditional Spanish soup: the most popular winter meal

Hi everybody!

As much as I try it, I cannot stop posting one-pot recipes. I want to apologise if you feel I have become monotonous and repetitive, but the days are getting colder and these dishes currently are the biggest part of my diet. I guess you are also feeding yourselves with comfort meals so take these kind of posts as free advice.

The list of traditional Spanish food here is growing by weeks. There is already a good selection between summer and winter recipes, but since the blog is still quite young I need to post a few more in order to get everything covered. Today I am going to talk about soups and, in particular, one type of soup. I am sure you are now probably thinking of vegetables first boiled, then blended and finally turned into a creamy dish: carrot, butternut squash, pea and mint, chicken and mushroom… However, if a Spanish ever tells you he has had soup, he actually means that he has had what you call a broth, like Scotch broth. By the way: I have to cook this one any time soon.

The traditional Spanish soup (or broth, whichever sounds sensible for you) is another staple of these days. Although versions cooked with fish and vegetables, meaty ones (with chicken or pork) are the most recurrent in every Spanish home. There is no standard recipe and it is open to everybody’s imagination, likes and dislikes. Nevertheless, some specific ingredients are common across all of them: seasonal vegetables like carrots, potatoes and/or leeks; bones and bony meat cuts such chicken wings, drumsticks or pork spines; diced Jamon Serrano or other boneless cuts high in salt which provide a natural, powerful flavour; and a special soup pasta called vermicelli, broken noodles or fideos in Spanish. The latter ones are the same I have used for my fideua recipes. Also, you can choose not to add pasta and just have the vegetables and meat or fish-although in my opinion it wouldn’t be complete.

I must admit I have struggled to find some of the ingredients I used to cook with back home. For example, it is hard to find the cubes of uncooked pork fat (tocino in Spanish) or the diced Serrano. But the good news for you is that you can still do it with a few easy-to-reach essentials. Bear in mind the Spanish soup/broth is fundamental for a vast array of recipes like cocido or paella. So if you have leftovers, you can always separate the liquid and keep it for future cooking days. It is suitable for freezing and last for a long time in the fridge.


INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)

  • Chicken wings (4)
  • Carrot (1, large)
  • Potatoes (2, large)
  • Onion (1, large)
  • Uncooked pork fat cube/tocino (1)
  • Vermicelli pasta (200 g)
  • Eggs (4)
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING

  1. Fill three quarters a pot with water and start heating it up. Chunk the potatoes, the carrot, the onion and drop them into the pot with the meaty ingredients. Pour some olive oil, salt, pepper. Boil at medium-low heat for 60 to 75 minutes with the lid on.

2. After the above time, your broth will have turned into a white colour, the vegetables will be soft (the potato might have dissolved in the liquid) and the chicken wings will be cooked. Check the salt and pepper levels and add more if you think it’s necessary. Also, if the water level has gone down too much, add a little bit more and stir in order to integrate it within the broth.

3. Add the pasta and boil for just five minutes until it’s cooked. Then, carefully crack the eggs inside the pot and heat for a couple of minutes or until they are poached. After that, the soup will be ready to serve.

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