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Spanish Recipe: Migas (Bread crumbs)

Cooking 25 minutes Preparation 15 minutes 4 ppl easy
Recipe type: Meat Cuisine: Spanish

Migas was the migrating shepherd’s hearty breakfast – also called Migas de Pastor (Shepard’s bread crumbs) – cooked in a pan over an open fire using what they had on hand and what little the harsh Spanish plains provided: old bread, lamb suet, garlic, water and salt. They would add to this base various other ingredients depending on availability and region. This originally humble dish is still served in many Spanish restaurants today.

Traditionally Migas were shared and eaten straight from the pan, but this dish works well as a starter served in individual plates or as a main adding a fried egg on top in the huevos rancheros style). Being a full flavoured and stomach filling mix of pepper, garlic, chorizo and bread, pairing wine with Migas requires a guzzler with the right amount of character, like the red Tempranillo based blends from Extremadura’s own D.O. Ribera del Guadiana. Go for the fruitier and lightly oaked Crianzas from the better producers in the Tierra de Barros subzone, as they will have the right dose of complexity and enough fruit to hit the mark.

Regional Variations of Migas 

Migas manchegas: common in the region of La Mancha (Castilla La Mancha). Made with very hard bread, garlic, olive oil, sausages bacon and other ingredients.

Migas from Aragon: a traditionally rural dish, made with hard bread, bacon, chorizo, garlic, onion, paprika, etc. Served with grapes.

Migas andaluzas: Mainly hard bread, garlic and olive oil, anise and bacon. Accompanied by a number of vegetables. There’s also a sweet variant, adding milk or chocolate to the crumbs. Originally migas andaluzas were made at the work place (the field).

Migas murcianas or gachasmisgas: Instead of hard bread crumbs, it’s made with flour, water and oil. Then they add longaniza, sausage, ñora (a dehydrated pepper original from the region). It’s very typical to accompany migas murcianas with a piece of fruit such as grapes or orange. They are traditionally made when it rains.

Migas de Almería: These are made with flour or semolina and are normally eaten with lots of fish such as sardines, fried anchovies and cod, as well as fried peppers, tomato, and other meats like chorizo and black pudding. Again, this dish is normally eaten on rainy days.

Migas extremeñas: This version is made throughout Andalucia and La Mancha and tends to be served with chorizo, pepper and sardines, amongst other ingredients.

Migas a la alentejana: For the breadcrumbs used in this recipe, they use the traditional bread from Alentenjo which is very firm and rigid. To this they add pork, ribs as well as some sausage which they allow to stand fo a day before they cook the dish.

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups of old bread (a two day old baguette will do just fine)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • Lamb suet (or olive oil as a substitute)
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • 1/3 cup of diced Jamon Serrano/Ibérico
  • 1/3 cup of diced chorizo sausage
  • 1 diced medium tomato
  • 4 eggs (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the hard bread in thin slices and wrap them in a wet cloth or kitchen towel. Reserve for a couple of hours until the moisture lightly softens the bread.
  2. In a wide pan, heat the lamb suet (or 1 Tbsp of olive oil instead) and fry the garlic cloves until golden. Crush the garlic cloves with the help of a wooden spoon and add the diced red bell pepper, jamon, chorizo and tomato. Cook at low to medium heat for 5 minutes and add the reserved bread and a pinch of paprika and salt. Continue cooking for 15 minutes mixing the ingredients and breaking the bread slices into smaller pieces with your wooden spoon. The bread has to dry in the pan slowly while cooking to allow all the flavors to come together, so its important to add light splashes water over the crumbs during the process (bread must remain moist but not wet). 

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