London-based restaurateur Jose Pizarro takes us through his favourite dishes from the region. Originally from Extremadura, the region just to the north-west of Andalucia, Jose Pizarro is a restaurateur with three restaurants in south-east London and the City, and a pub in Surrey. He has already published books on Basque Country and Catalan cuisine, and in this volume we get the full gamut of Andalucian cooking, with its extraordinary range of local ingredients thanks to the fertile soil and bountiful seas.
Begin by washing the vegetables well with cold water, then chop and mix with the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan. Blend all the ingredients together and pass them through a colander. Chill in the fridge until very cold. When you take it out of the fridge, the result will be one of the most delicious culinary dishes you can enjoy during the Andalusian summertime.
This is a type of cold, thick soup, typical of villages in the Antequera region, that gets its name from the tool with which it is made, the pestle (porra) and mortar; it can also be made by hand, grinded or crushed. It is also called porra fría or crúa to differentiate it from the hot soup that contains the same ingredients, but is eaten hot, accompanied by black pudding or bacon, typically in winter.
Porra is a thick cold soup that, like most cold soups or gazpachos (porras, ajoblancos, salmorejos catana, mazamorra, ardoria, pimentón, aguaíllo etc) is defined in the dictionary as ´A type of cold soup that is normally made with pieces of bread and oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, onion and other spices.´ It is a common mistake to think that gazpacho and porra al tomate are the same.
Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and massh, adding salt In a frying pan, heat the oil and brown the minced meat, 5 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, garlic and continue frying. Add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes. Season with salt, cumin, oregano and pimentón. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced, about 15 minutes.
Cut off the wing tips and discard (or save for stock). Divide each wing into two joings. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Lightly smash the garlic cloves to split the skins, but do not peel them. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or cazuela (earthenware casserole). Add the chicken pieces and garlic to the oil and sauté them very slowly.
Cook the potatoes and carrots in boiling water to cover until tender. The carrots will take about 12 minutes; the potatoes a total of 20 minutes. Cook the peas until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain vegetables and chill them. Peel the potatoes and cut them in 12mm / ½ in dice. Cut the carrots lengthwise in quarters then slice crosswise into small dice.
Bring the milk to the boil and set aside. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the ham gently for 2 minutes without letting it brown. Pour the oil through a sieve into a heat-proof bowl, reserving the ham. Return the oil to the pan and sauté the onion without letting it brown, 2 minutes. Add the thyme and stir in the flour. Cook 2 minutes without browning the flour.
For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the onion and garlic, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes until very soft and lightly golden. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaves and simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. Until the sauce has reduced and thickened to a good consistency.
Sprinkle the aubergine slices lightly on both sides with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the oil and the water. Gradually beat together to make a smooth batter. Set aside to rest, along with the aubergines. Pat the aubergine slices dry with kitchen paper. Pour 1cm of olive oil into a large deep frying pan and heat it to 180°C.
Normally you will see this on sale in pastlerías (cake shops) as well as in supermarkets and smaller and specialist food shops. They are usually sold individually wrapped in thin tissue paper. Although they are traditionally cooked with lard, which gives the delicate crumbly texture, they can also be made with butter.
First you must clean the kidneys (this step is absolutely necessary): wash and cut into pieces, removing the white parts and fat, if they have any. Steam in a steaming basket, about fifteen minutes; rinse well and throw away the steaming water.
Place the oxtail pieces in a large pot with plenty of water. Push the whole cloves into the onions and add with the bay leaf, peppercorns, carrots and wine; heat on high until boiling and then lower the heat and let simmer, uncovered, three to four hours or until the meat begins to fall off the bone.
A baby will, naturally, have to begin little by little getting the digestive system accustomed to new things, once ready for solids. Your pediatrician will recommend when this should be, but generally at about four or five months a baby is ready for grains without gluten; these are sold in pharmacies and supermarkets in a powdered form, to be mixed in with the baby's usual milk.
Which its large expanse of coastline, it's no surprise that Andalucia is famous for its fish and seafood. Go to your local market and pick up some fresh fish and try these traditional Andalucian recipes.