Meat and Vegetable Stew (Olla Podrida)

This filling Spanish dish predates the Inquisition and was, in fact, originally Jewish. It was altered during the Inquisition by the Jewish community to include pork to convince the skeptical {and particularly their Inquisitors!) of their commitment to Christianity.


8 - 10 servings
1/2 kg (1 lb) 2 2/3 cups Dried chick-peas, soaked in cold water overnight and drained
2 Large onions, sliced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Bouquet garni
1 kg (1 lb) Boned shoulder butt or leg of pork, cubed
1/2 kg (1 lb) Bacon, cubed
225 g (8 oz) Stewing (chuck) beef, cubed
2 kg (4 lb) Small boiling chicken, cut into serving pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 Large carrots, thinly sliced
1 Cabbage, shredded
2 Large potatoes, cubed
4 Tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
1 Chorizo sausage, sliced
2 Tbs Chopped parsley


1. Put the chick-peas in a large saucepan and pour over just enough cold water to cover. Set the pan over moderate heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the chick-peas are very tender, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon.

2. Add the onions, garlic, bouquet garni, meat, chicken pieces and seasoning. Add more cold water so that the meats are almost covered. Bring back to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, or until all the meats are cooked through and tender. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside in a cool place until a layer of fat forms on top. Skim off and discard the fat.

3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir in the vegetables and sausage. Return to moderate heat and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and tender.

4. Transfer the stew to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve at once.

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