Gastronomía de Madrid – Food and Cuisine in Madrid
Hi Everyone, Blitzy here! This month I am in Madrid, the capital city of Spain. Located right in the heart of the country, Madrid is a city steeped in history and culture. The architecture is beautiful, with some buildings dating back to the Middle Ages, and being the capital city, it attracts people from all over, so I get to meet new friends who originate from every corner of Spain.
Taking time to enjoy a meal
Spending time in Madrid is a treat for the tastebuds! Olive oil is used in most dishes, and there are all kinds of herbs too, so the scent of cooking is wonderful! Food is an important part of the daily routine and people linger over meals for hours. In fact, this became such an issue that the government took action to shorten the length of lunchtime, because it was leading to people staying at work too late in order to complete their daily hours! To me, it sounds just perfect: good food, good friends, spending time enjoying the best moments of the day....Heavenly!
Just a small bite
The cuisine most associated with Madrid is tapas dishes. These are small servings of food, which can be a hot or cold dish, usually served as an appetizer or snack alongside a cold beer or other drink. These delicious morsels have become so popular that in some restaurants, you can order lots of small portions to make up an entire meal.
The list of popular tapas would go on for pages, but some of the most common include:
Olives - which can be served plain or stuffed with garlic, anchovies, peppers and so on
Albondigas - spanish meatballs cooked in a sauce
Chorizo - spicy sausage which can be served sliced, or cooked in many different ways
Banderillas - pickled vegetables served on a small skewer
Croquetas - croquettes (fried dumplings) can be made of all different ingredients
Patatas Bravas - cubes of potatoes which are fried and then served in a spicy sauce
Hearty food to keep you going
From the miniature menu of tapas, we are now moving on to a totally different type of Madrid cuisine. In the winter months stews are a popular choice and Madrid has its own particular take on this called Cocido Madrileño. This is one of those dishes where no two families will agree on the recipe, each cook has their own particular way of making it, but the main ingredients are chickpeas (garbanzo beans), vegetables, meat and meat bones. The vegetables include root veg such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Almost any type of meat can be used, and some cooks even add meatballs and different types of sausage. Meat bones are used to thicken the sauce, as the stew cooks slowly over several hours. The only thing everyone agrees on is the chickpeas!
Waste not, want not
Using up leftovers is an important part of Spanish cuisine. That's how croquettes became so popular. Another famous Spanish dish which is all about the leftovers is tortilla, the Spanish omelette. It is served both as a main dish, and also in slices as a tapa dish. Traditionally it is made with potatoes, and sometimes with onions, but I think it’s perfect for using up any leftovers including cooked veg, sausage, etc.
SPANISH TORTILLA RECIPE (serves 4)
3 medium-sized floury potatoes, par-boiled
2 onions, thinly sliced
OPTIONAL: Any leftover veg, for example spinach, tomatoes, green beans etc,
OPTIONAL: Any leftover meat or fish cut into bite-sized pieces, or spicy chorizo sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
You’ll need a large skillet or frying pan for this recipe.
Crack the eggs and beat lightly, season well and put aside.
Saute the sliced onions gently in the olive oil until soft.
Slice the pre-cooked potatoes and add to the pan, continue sauteing for 10 minutes to ensure the potatoes are soft.
This is a good time to preheat your broiler to a medium heat(the grill at the top of the oven)
Add any other ingredients to the pan at this point, leftover veg and meat are perfect for this dish.
Gently pour the Egg mixture into the pan and allow it to cook gently over a medium heat.
Once the tortilla is beginning to set, place the pan under the broiler to finish cooking.
Remove the pan from the oven once the tortilla is browned, and gently slide the tortilla onto a large plate
Serve hot or cold, with a mixed salad, a dish of olives and some crunchy bread.
This is a great dish for serving at a bingo evening, or cut yourself a slice to enjoy whilst playing Bingo Blitz! You can join a game by clicking on the button below.