The Barcelona Cookbook
by Sasa Mahr-batuz & Andy Pforzheimer
This soup morphed from a classic caldo gallego over time, so that it looks like an authentic Spanish dish but is actually the invention of John Strong, one of our early chefs. Although John was Canadian, he understood the mind-set of the Spanish chef, with one foot anchored in tradition and the other in economy. His untimely death in 2005 left a void in the hearts of our employees and the soul of the company. Not a day goes by that we don't think of him. His stew is easy to make and includes lots of good, hearty ingredients. It's a winter lunch with a big piece of crusty bread.
• 1/2 pound ham, finely diced
• 1/2 pound slab bacon, finely diced
• 2 cups diced smoked Spanish chorizo sausage (about 4 links)
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup chopped garlic (see Note below)
• 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
• 2 cups canned tomatoes, drained
• 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced (2½ to 3 cups)
• 5 to 6 cups chicken stock
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 6 cups chopped escarole or a similar green (such as chard or kale) about 1/2 pound
1. In a large pot, cook the ham, bacon, chorizo, and olive oil over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for 7 to 8 minutes longer.
2. With your hands, squeeze the tomatoes to break them up and expel their juices. Add them to the pot along with the potatoes and enough stock to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Push the greens into the soup and cook for about 10 minutes, until the greens wilt and the soup is piping hot. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Note: For 1/4 cup of chopped garlic, use a whole head. Chop the peeled cloves in a food processor. To make the outer skins easy to remove, soak the cloves in water for about 6 hours. The skins will slide right off. Alternatively, heat them for about 20 seconds in a microwave and the garlic cloves will pop right out of the skins.