Catalan Vegetable Stew

Yield: 4-6 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Menestra de Legumbres, a specialty from Navarra is a good example of the Cocina Norteña of Spain. I love to have it as a main dish with poached eggs on top. I use whatever veggies I have on hand.  A heartwarming dish. Love it!

I always enjoy to travel through Spain and discover exciting foods, some very local, indeed. Regional differences, I was told, are best explained by the climate and the cooking style. It is said that in the North you stew, in the center regions, you roast and in the South you fry. 

Ingredients:

US MeasuresMetric
  • 3 cups frozen lima beans
  • 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch dices
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch dices
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 lb Spanish chorizo or Pepperoni, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dices
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 600 g frozen lima beans
  • 400 g can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped into 1 cm dices
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped into 1 cm dices
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 115 g lean bacon, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 115 g Spanish chorizo or Pepperoni, cut into 1/2 cm thick rounds
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm dices
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 355 ml chicken stock
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)

Preparation:

Bring water to boil, add salt and the fresh lima beans. Cook until almost done. If you use frozen beans follow the instructions on the package. Quickly refresh beans under cold water so that they retain their color.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it just begins to smoke. Add the diced potatoes and coat them with the olive oil. Reduce heat and sauté the potatoes, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until browned. Add diced bacon and chorizo rounds and continue sautéing for 5 minutes more or until bacon crisps. Remove pan from heat and keep warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, the red and green pepper dice, and scallions. Sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour and stir for another minute. Add the chicken stock and turn heat to high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add the cooked lima beans to the large skillet with the sautéed potatoes, bacon and chorizos. Pour the pepper/scallion mixture over it, stir gently to combine and warm it up. Add the quartered artichoke hearts and taste for salt and pepper.

Just before serving, top it with a poached egg for each person.

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