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Iberian Spotlight: My Mongetes a La Catalana Recipe

Editor’s note: Everyday, we come across fantastic articles on an Iberian food, wine or cultural experience by a blogger. Some are based here in Spain and Portugal, while others are chiming in halfway around the globe with a new Portuguese recipe or Spanish wine. So in the spirit of sharing quality content, we’re featuring a section on Catavino called, “Iberian Spotlight”, highlighting articles we feel are too great to pass by. Many of these bloggers aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, and by spotlighting them, we’re hoping to show added appreciation for their effort!

Catalan food, as observed by my friend Sebina, can be a little heavy sometimes. This mainly comes down to a love of recipes involving beans, especially in conjunction with lots of pork products. A classic combination is Botifarra amb Mongetes, sausage and beans… but that’s a tad dull if you ask me. Instead, I prefer ‘Beans a la Catalana‘, made with either mongetes (big white beans) or fabes (young green broad beans). This is my made up recipe for Mongetes a la Catalana, another great rustic dish for wintry days and evenings. The measures are based on serving four or five people. (photo by JaulaDeArdilla)

What you will need:

  • About 700g of good Mongetes blanques. Go for ‘ganxet’ type as these seem to be better. When I say 700g, I mean when they’re still in their water, in the jar. Strain them but do not wash them.
  • 3 strips of good panceta/cansalada/pork belly, cut into large postage stamp-sized pieces. Not too large, mind you.
    Sausage. Go for about 400g of botifarra sausage (chopped up as well). I used some mini chipolatas with black truffle but I don’t know how easy these are to come by
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or whatever you call it)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Dash of white wine
  • Salt
  • Good olive oil
  • About 15 mins

What you need to do:
Heat a nice amount olive oil to medium-high temperature (around level 5 on my cooker) in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the panceta, making sure to add plenty of salt (it’ll be a bit tasteless otherwise). After a minute or two, add the sausages. Fry the meat for 5-10 minutes, until it browns. Ensure the oil doesn’t get too hot and that the meat doesn’t burn. It might well spit a bit at this point (the fatty panceta does like to ‘pop’ from time to time). When browned, remove the meat with a slatted device, and place in a bowl.

Let the oil cool down a little bit before continuing. Get the heat down to medium/medium-low.

Now throw the garlic and parsley into the pan. If you got the oil temperature right, it’ll fry but not burn immediately (that happened to me the first time I tried this). Fry for about a minute. Now add the strained beans and stir together for another minute. Here, I like to add a dash of white wine, just to provide a bit of liquid to the dish. Don’t add more than a glass. When the wine has reduced down, add the meat again. Cook it all together for about four or five minutes (keeping the heat really low), and that’s it.

Serve a fairly small portion in a bowl with pa amb tomaquet and a glass of decent red wine. This dish is filling, warming and really yummy. Hope you enjoy it!

Catavino Wine note: We would highly suggest you pair the food with a wine having a touch of body. Personally, we love old vine Carignan from Montsant or Garnacha – something with a bit of “beef ” to it so it can stand up to the rich unctuous fat and thick sauce. Conversely, we have found that a Brut Nature Cava is often times the best pairing you can choose. In fact, while in Catalunya, any Cava is a good option! :) We think it might be a Catalan conspiracy to make all their food Cava friendly!

Cheers,

Tom Clarke

Tom Clarke lives in the suburbs of Barcelona and blogs in his spare time. He loves Catalan cuisine and is a fierce proponent of the qualities of Bujorn 2007, his most recent discovery from the Priorat DOQ.

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