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Platos de Cuchara : Puchero Valenciano - Valencian Stew
Thursday, January 13, 2022 @ 8:58 AM


 

Puchero or Cocido Valenciano is a great winter warmer and although it is very common to see it on the table at Christmas, it is without a doubt one of the most popular 'platos de cuchara' in winter, at least in the Valencian region.  Effectively it is a stew with giant meatballs but it is enjoyed in two stages. It may seem very simple and rustic but it can be a fairly long meal and takes time to digest. It contains almost everything you could possibly imagine putting in a stew. What makes this stew different from the rest of the stews in Spain is the use of local sausages and local vegetables. The Valencian community is well known for its vegetables and this is well portrayed in the Valencian ‘Puchero’.

As with most traditional recipes, there is nothing written in stone, except (traditionally) using a giant cauldron!  So grab the biggest pot you can find otherwise there is no way all the ingredients will fit in. Remember the stock, the meat and the vegetables can all be frozen afterwards so if you have a lot leftover, which you will, ration it out in Tupperware and freeze it for another day or use it for another recipe.

For the stew you will need the following :

½ medium-sized Chicken (approx. 1,25kg of meat)
2 large meatballs (recipe as follows)
1 piece of bone marrow
1 piece of knee bone
150 grams of beef 
1 Blanquet sausage 
1 Onion Morcilla sausage 
100 grams of pork fat
300 grams of chickpeas (soaked in water overnight)
Saffron
1 stick of Celery, 1 stick of Cardoon, 1 sweet potato, 1 white turnip, 1 yellow turnip, 1 parsnip, 3 potatoes, 3 carrots, 1 leek, 5 runner beans and ¼ cabbage. (As far as the vegetables go, you can chuck in whatever you have at hand, but this is the standard recipe in Valencia)

So, to make the stew it is as easy as cleaning and peeling the vegetables and placing them all in the pot with the meat and the meatballs, except for the carrots, potatoes, runner beans and the morcilla. These need to be held back for later as they cook more quickly. Cover with water and slowly bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low heat and let it simmer for 90 minutes. Remember to skim off the foam that rises to the top. After 90 minutes pop in the rest of the ingredients that were held back and then simmer for another 90 minutes. To make the meatballs all you will need are the following ingredients:

2 eggs.
150g lean minced beef
150g minced pork.
1 sausage (with skin removed)
200g Breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. Fresh chopped parsley 
50g Pine nuts
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon powder
10ml fresh Lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Stew net for binding
Cabbage leaves for wrapping up the meatballs.   

 

                   

If you feel like saving some time you can always make the balls the day before. Mix the meat, salt, pepper, parsley, cinnamon, eggs and pine nuts to taste. Pour the breadcrumbs in and knead it all together until it forms a thick mass. Add the lemon juice and knead it all together again. Separate the meat mass into two parts and then roll into two large balls. Once you have made the balls wrap each ball in cabbage leaves and then place it inside the stewing net and tie it up tight and add to the rest of the meat for the stew.

 

Once the stew is ready it is customary to first enjoy a bowl of soup from the stock cooked either with rice or noodles. Some may add a meatball or two to the soup and others may add a bit of everything and then move on to the rest of the meat and vegetables later, the choice is yours. It would also be customary to make 'oven-baked rice' (Arroz al Horno) the following day with the leftovers.

So there you have it, a very hearty meal from the heart of Valencia and ideal for this time of year, it may not look very sophisticated but it tastes incredible! 

 

    Enjoy!

 

 
 


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