|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Before describing this classic Spanish dish in detail, it is important to address the name, which many readers for whom Spanish is a second language may find confusing, if not repulsive. The word podrida in Spanish means spoiled. However, it is thought the original name was olla poderida, meaning from the dining table of "poderidos or poderosos", which means the powerful. Why? Because this dish is full of meat and sausages, which only the well-off could have afforded, while the peasants were eating dishes containing mostly, if not entirely beans and vegetables.
Burgos (Castilla-Leon) region is famous for their version of this dish, and it likely originated there in the Middle Ages. It spread to all regions of Spain, and there are many versions, combining vegetables, meat, sausage, ham and bacon, and of course, beans. Garbanzo beans were a mainstay of the Spanish diet up until the latter half of the 20th century. They were eaten at least several times per week. Garbanzos are used in this dish in most regions, except in Burgos, where the red beans of Ibeas (a locale in the province famous for high quality beans) are used.
Today, most cooks prepare olla podrida without what is called el relleno, or "the filling," however it was commonly included in beans stews up until a generation ago. El relleno is a mixture of eggs, fresh bread crumbs, garlic and parsley, which is lightly fried, then added to the pot of beans. The eggs and bread crumbs turn into a primitive dumpling and plump up when fried. These fluffy dumplings then absorb the flavorful broth in which the meat and beans have been cooked.
Below is our version of this classic Castilian dish, which is prepared in stages. First, the beans are soaked, and pork is marinated in adobo. Then, beans and pork are cooked. Last, the relleno (dumplings) are fried. Serve together with a glass of Spanish wine and dinner is ready.
- For Beans:
- 1 lb beans (red beans, preferably from Ibeas de Juarros)
- 2 lbs pork in adobo (pork ribs, pigs feet, ears and tail)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 Spanish chorizo sausage
- 1 morcilla sausage (preferably from Burgos)
- For El Relleno:
- 3/4 - 1 cup bread crumbs (fresh)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2-3 sprigs parsley (flat leaf/Italian)
- Salt to taste
Pork in adobo, which is something between a dry rub, and a marinade, is easy to purchase in any butcher shop or supermarket in Spain. However, outside Spain it might be difficult. So, prepare an adobo and allow pork ribs, pigs feet, ears and tail to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight in the adobo before using. Our easy adobo recipe explains how.
Soak the beans overnight. First, remove all debris and dirt from the beans. Rinse the beans in cold water. Then, place in a large pot and cover with water 3 inches, and soak overnight.
Cook the pork in a pot or pressure cooker.
Pot Option: Place the pork parts with adobo in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 75 minutes, or until all parts are cooked and tender. Cook the morcilla sausage for the last 10 minutes, then remove and set aside.
Pressure Cooker Option: Place the parts with adobo in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Cook for about 20 minutes on high pressure. Remove from heat. Release pressure and place morcilla sausage in the cooker. Replace cover and allow pot with morcilla to sit for 15 minutes.
Remove the pork from the pot and set aside on a platter. Reserve the broth from the pork.
While the pork is cooking, prepare the relleno. Finely mince the garlic and parsley. Crack eggs into a medium size mixing bowl. Beat the eggs, then add in bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Heat a 1/2-inch of olive oil in a small frying pan (8-inch). When hot, add heaping teaspoonfuls of the relleno mixture and fry, turning to cook on both sides. Remove and allow to drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
Cook the beans in a pot or pressure cooker.
Pot Option: Add the beans to the reserved adobo broth, adding water if needed to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40-60 minutes, until soft. Add water as needed.
Pressure Cooker Option for Beans: Using the reserved adobo broth, and adding water to cover at least 2 inches, cook beans in a pressure cooker on high for about 20 minutes.
When beans are almost cooked, add the rellenos or dumplings for about 10 minutes. They will soak up the rich, flavorful broth.
Serve the pork adobado on a platter, and the beans with the dumplings in bowls.