The origin of typical gastronomy of Catalonia is from the popular classes rather than the high class, where basic ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes that correspond to the time of the year, the geographic characteristics and the changing climate are used. For this reason, different plates will vary depending on the region they’re from as well as the personal tastes of each cook. Catalan gastronomy has its own recognizable personality thanks to the influences of different small towns established in the region over the centuries, as well as a noticeable Mediterranean flair. During the winter when the temperatures are lower, heavier and hotter dishes are more common, as they help to ease some of the cold. If you want to learn more about Catalan cuisine, don’t miss this article from ShBarcelona where we talk about the best soup dishes in the Catalan kitchen to enjoy in the winter.
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Traditional food for a cold night
If there’s one thing that you shouldn’t go without in the winter, it’s soup. In Catalonia the classic soup is l’escudella amb carn d’olla. To make the l’escudella broth you’ll need vegetables (celery, leeks, cabbage, turnip, carrot, etc), potatoes, chicken bones, ham, veal, garbanzo beans, black and white sausage and the key ingredient, la pilota (a type of large beef meatball). Once you have the stew prepared, you can separate the liquid from the rest of the ingredients. To the broth you can then add pasta and make a soup. The meat, pelota, sausages, potatoes and garbanzo beans can be served along with the soup as a separate dish. Catalonia is fortunate to be alongside the Mediterranean Sea and as a result the traditional kitchen is full of seafood products with fresh fish and shellfish straight from the sea. One of these dishes is sopa de pescadors, a stew those main ingredients are monkfish, rockfish and hake, along with steamed vegetables, garlic, laurel and a bit of white wine. Later, a sautéed sauce base is added along with rice and pasta, and lastly, cuttlefish and prawns. If you’re a fan of rich stews, you won’t want to miss this dish.
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There is one typical Catalan dish that mixes the sea and the mountains exquisitely: meatballs with cuttlefish. As its name indicates, it has two basic ingredients, but what makes this recipe special is the sautéed sauce base it is cooked in, which makes it into the perfect dish to dip bread into. Another special type of soup that you’ll want to serve with bread for its sauce is capipota: a mellow plate whose main ingredients include the head and legs of veal, tripe and garbanzo beans. Despite its simple ingredients, it’s laborious to cook because there are so many steps to follow in order to ensure that it turns out well. For its preparation you also need to make a good broth with minced garlic and dried fruits. It’s not a recipe for everyone, but if you like tripe and other heavier meats, you’ll love capipota.
Do you eat any of these soups during the winter?