Escudella means bowl and although this dish is now associated with Christmas, traditionally it was a huge stew cooked up as a one-stop winter meal, with vegetables, legumes and a varied selection of animal parts, such as chicken feet. This version also has large pasta shells (galets), pilotes (meatballs), while the meat from the pot is taken out and served separately (carn d’olla).
INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
-1 kg chicken or turkey
-250g chicken breast
-100g cansalada / pancetta bacon
-200g pig bones
-200g cow bones
-100g ham bones
-4 cabbage leaves
-200g potato sliced
-200g botifarra negra (black sausage)
-8 galets (large pasta shells)
-1 teaspoon salt
For the pilotes (meatballs):
-100g lean minced pork
-150g lean minced beef
-1 egg yolk
-1 sprig parsley
-1 clove garlic
If using dried chickpeas, soak them for at least 12 hours in enough water to cover them and a teaspoon of salt. To make the pilotes, mix the minced meat together with the egg yolk, breadcrumbs, parsley and garlic, both chopped. Add salt and pepper then make them into small meatballs (three per person) and roll in flour. Set them aside.
Clean the chicken/turkey and bones (ossos) well, then put them in a pot with six litres of water and place over a high heat. When it comes to the boil, skim off the froth and then add the chickpeas. Reduce the heat and let simmer for an hour. Then add the carrots, potatoes, onion, lard, botifarra, pilotes and chicken breast. If necessary, add more water.
After half an hour, strain the broth into a separate pan, carefully, to make sure the vegetables stay whole. Use the broth to boil the galets according to the time indicated on the packaging. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bones used in the stew, and shred it. Lay out the cabbage leaves and put two or three spoonfuls of the meat in each one. Wrap them up to make parcels. Next, cut the chicken breast into thin strips.
On each plate, serve some chickpeas, a cabbage parcel, carrot, potato, onion, pasta shells, strips of chicken, pieces of botifarra negra and three meatballs. Each person also gets a bowl of hot broth.
Adapted from 'La bona cuina catalan' by Ada Parellada (Ara Llibres)