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Sopas Mallorquinas - Vegetable and bread stew from Mallorca
This is a much loved hearty meatless peasant dish from the Balearic island of Mallorca. Although called 'sopas' or soup, it is actually a stew-like combination of available winter vegetables such as chard, cabbage and cauliflower cooked in water, oil, garlic, paprika and salt, which is then poured over thinly-shaven slices of dry salt-free country bread - called sopas - which are a day or two old. These thin bread slices are available in nearly every corner 'colmado' - as the small neighbourhood grocery stores are called. Those who have grown up with sopas Mallorquinas on the table will probably look forward to having it many times more. You can prepare this dish and have it ready in less than an hour.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
1/2 lb (200 grams) of thinly shaven slices of country bread
A dense country-style bread is needed for this and it should be stale, dry and sliced paper thin.
approx. 8 young leaves & stems of Swiss chard roughly chopped
small cabbage - roughly chopped
1 onion cut in julienne
handful of flatleaf Italian parsley roughly chopped
cauliflower - a few florets broken in pieces
1 ripe tomato, peeled and diced
2 teasp sweet paprika powder
4 TBS olive oil
2 green peppers - cut in large dice
2 to 3 cups water
optional: chicken stock cube
fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1) Put the oil in a shallow flame-proof earthenware or ceramic casserole. When oil is hot, add the onion, green pepper and garlic. Sauté without browning.
2) Add the tomato and the large diced vegetables. Sweat the vegetables and blend in the paprika powder. Season with salt & fresh ground pepper.
3) Add the water and let simmer gently for about 15 - 20 minutes, then taste to check seasoning. (Note: After pouring in the water I added a Knorr or Spanish Avecrem chicken stock cube, broken up and scattered over top.)
4) Once vegetables are tender, turn off stove, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a warm bowl, leaving the broth in the casserole dish. There should be about an inch of broth.
5) Arrange the thin shaven slices of dry bread over the bottom of the casserole dish so the broth is totally absorbed, and put the vegetables back in the casserole on top of the bread. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving at the table.
6) Serve at the table in the same earthenware casserole dish.
NOTES: The bread used in this recipe is typical to Mallorca and is a simple bread made of unbleached partially whole wheat flour, water and yeast. It is therefore dense and able to absorb the broth without becoming mushy.
There are many variations of 'sopas mallorquinas' as the ingredients depend on what is available in the garden at the time. However those listed above are the main ones used and will give the true flavour of this dish.
Continue on to Chapter 26......Driving the Island
Go back to Chapter 24......Cayetano, The Gypsy