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Andalusian stew (Berza Andaluza)

Andalusian stew (Berza Andaluza)
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

There's an imaginary border that crosses through the South of France and northern Italy, angling through Greece and Turkey toward the Middle East. Call it the olive oil line -- to the north, the cuisines are flavored with butter and ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours | Serves 6
  • 1/2 pound chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 quarts hot water
  • 3/4 pound beef shin or brisket
  • 1/2 pound meaty pork spareribs, cut crosswise into short lengths
  • Small piece of hambone (optional)
  • 2 ounces pancetta
  • 1 (1-pound) bunch of Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 pound pumpkin or winter squash, cut in chunks
  • 6 ounces morcilla (blood) sausage
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Step 1Place the drained chickpeas in a large soup pot with the hot water. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off the froth. Add the beef, pork ribs, hambone and pancetta. When the water comes to a boil again, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.

Step 2Stir the chard, carrot and pumpkin in with the beans. Prick the morcilla several times with a toothpick or skewer (so it doesn't pop as it cooks) and add it to the pot. Place the peppercorns in a sachet and add them to the pot, along with the salt. Cover again and continue to gently simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 3Stir in the potatoes, cover and gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove several chunks of potatoes and pumpkin and mash them smooth. Stir the mash back into the pot to thicken the broth.

Step 4Remove the stew from heat and set it aside for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors. Remove the meats from the stew. Cut the meats into pieces (remove the bones), then stir the pieces back in with the stew. Remove the sachet, taste and season the stew if desired. Serve the chickpeas, meats, vegetables and broth in shallow soup dishes.

Note: Morcilla (Spanish blood sausage), particularly onion morcilla, adds a spicy flavor to this stew. If morcilla is not available, add a pinch of clove, a spoonful of pimenton (paprika) and crushed garlic to the vegetable pot.


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