Do you love Spanish food? We certainly do! If you’ve ever wondered about the diverse flavours of traditional Spanish food, we’ve got a treat for you. Welcome to the first in our series of blog articles that will explore the diverse culinary landscapes of Spain.
Asturias Spain: Food & Flavours
Asturian food is often described as ‘rich’ and ‘soul-satisfying’. Spain’s comfort food capital, Asturias, is north-west Spain’s gastronomical heaven. Bordered by Cantabria to the east, Castile and León to the south, Galicia to the west and the Bay of Biscay to the north, this little region offers rich, hearty cuisine. Think delicious broths, crusty bread, rich cheese, and impeccable seafood aplenty.
#1 Fabada Asturiana
The first of our Asturian recipes is a rich stew. It is made with traditional, slender white beans (fabes de la Granja), which have been cultivated in Asturias for many centuries. After simmering in a jamón serrano ham broth for six to eight hours, these creamy-flavoured beans are enriched with delicious pork shoulder (llacón), garlicky chorizo, blood sausage (morcilla), pancetta and saffron. This is one meal that’s sure to induce an immediate ecstatic food coma.
#2 Chorizo A La Sidra
This addictive dish is classic Asturian bar food — a mouth-watering tapa best enjoyed with crusty bread. The recipe consists of chorizo simmered in cider.
If you’re keen to get your fix of Spanish meats, we recommend visiting our restaurant for tapas. We have all kinds available, including the delicious and authentic Manolete chorizo and jamón.
If you look up ‘cachopo’ in a Spanish-English dictionary, you’ll discover a curious definition: Tronco seco y hueco de árbol (dry, hollow tree trunk). Luckily, this delicious recipe from Asturias is nothing like its namesake.
If you’re a meat lover, go ahead and order cachopo in an Asturian restaurant or cafe. You’ll be delighted to discover that cachopo is actually a carnivore’s dream: veal fillets, fried, breaded and stuffed with ham and cheese and served with roasted red peppers, potatoes and mushrooms.
Morcilla (pronounced ‘mor-thee-ya’) is a thick, mildly tangy Spanish blood sausage. Traditionally the first type of sausage crafted as part of the agrarian ‘la matanza’ or community slaughter ritual, morcilla heralds from a long tradition of Spain’s gastronomic philosophy of eating ‘nose-to-tail’ to minimise food waste. To make morcilla, the ground pork and blood of a freshly slaughtered pig are mixed together with rice, oats, onion, garlic, aniseed and cloves. In Asturias, these are shaped into cylinders, boiled and hung up to cure inside fireplaces.
Throughout Spain, morcilla is popular as a tapa. In Asturias, morcilla is a popular addition to the hearty bean and vegetable stews that the Asturians love so much, due to its crumbly texture. The sausage is placed in the pot with other ingredients to simmer for hours.
#5 Salchichón de Jabalí
Are you fond of cured meats? The wild boar salami from Asturias offers a rich and punchy flavour. This Spanish summer sausage is made by cooking, drying and smoking the pork from a wild boar. The meat is chopped into thin bits, blended with the fat, seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg, oregano and garlic, and inserted into thick, natural pork intestines. Curing can take up to three months.
#6 Queso De Cabrales
Calling all cheese lovers. Did you know there are more two dozen varieties of glorious cow, sheep and goat’s milk cheeses (‘queso’) produced in Asturias? The strong and delicious ‘queso de cabrales’ is definitely a cheese you want to tick off your bucket list. Asturians use unpasteurised goat, sheep and cows’ milk to craft a pungent blue cheese, which is aged in mountain caves in Picos De Europa for between two to five months. This veiny blue cheese is delicious when slathered as a sauce over a veal fillet or vegetables.
Sidra is a natural, dry cider made from Asturian apples. Unlike other ciders, sidra needs to be poured by an expert ‘escanciador’. The escanciador will pour the sidra from a point above the head into a glass held below the waist. This helps to oxygenate the cider and makes for a fantastic viewing experience.
#8 Bollu Preñao
This delicious half-corn and half-wheat pastry, filled with chorizo or bacon, is popular throughout the year in Asturias’ capital, Oviedo. It is especially adored at summer picnics and traditional outdoor festivities such as ‘La Fiesta de la Balesquida’, also known as Martes de Campo. Bakers usually decorate these special buns (no larger than the size of a closed fist) with a knob of pastry, to look like a belly button protruding from the ‘belly’ of the bread.
These delightful little pastries can be eaten either hot or cold. You can find them as a festive aperitif in May or buy them as a bakery snack throughout the year.
Caldereta de Pescado
This mouth-watering Asturian fish stew is a prime example of Asturias’ glorious fresh seafood. Popular with locals, this homestyle stew is made with local firm-fleshed fish, such as hake and sea bream, fish stock, lobster, crab, prawns, clams, onion, parsley, ripe tomatoes, saffron and chilli, with a splash of white wine and cognac for extra flavour.
Eager to try some delicious traditional Spanish food? Book a table at Moda Restaurant today!