Escudella i carn d'olla

 

From Wednesday to Sunday, Escudella i carn d’olla, the typical Catalan stew.

 

Escudella i carn d’olla

Soup with “galet”, ball, black sausage, bacon, feet, pig nose and ear, veal shank and chicken. The star dish of the winter season.

As Josep Pla said:

“Carn d’olla”

“Throughout my life, I have known, within the space of Western Europe, five forms of stew, all practically the same but with such different nuances that they resist comparison. In our country, the largest stew is the meat stew, the most traditional, archaic, and common dish one can present. In the present moments, perhaps, the statement is not quite exact. Be that as it may, I have eaten it since childhood, and therefore, I have been raised in traditional cuisine. Back then, escudella and meat stew were eaten six days a week, and Sunday was a day of rest, with the Sunday rice.

With the meat stew, something fantastic has happened in recent years. Before the last civil war, it was the dish accessible by definition, to the point that the entire population of the country ate it, with that sense of thrift and social balance that always characterized us. After that war, it became one of the most difficult culinary combinations to make—understood, under equal circumstances—and had to be, for the most part, abandoned or reduced to so little, to such a precarious mixture, that when one hears today, in detail, about the stews that General Savalls and his staff ate, in one farmhouse or another in Collsacabra during the time of the second Carlist war, one sees visions and is completely disarmed. Yes. There have been many changes. Sometimes it seems, though, that we are advancing a lot because the combustion engines make so much noise. At other times, it seems that we are regressing in a clear way.

I have waited for many years for economists to say something about all this strangeness that has happened in food, but economists have not said anything clear, for now. What experience seems to show is that, in a situation like this, the life of the poor becomes more expensive every day, and that of the rich—always, it is understood, in the realm of the relativity of one and the other—is becoming cheaper every day.

It is not necessary, it seems to me, to describe Catalan meat stew. The reader knows perfectly well what it is. It is a dish whose diffusion had been so vast that it has completely lost its solemnity. Our stew contains, however, an element of originality that is not found in others. The meatball contains a series of chopped elements subsequently consolidated in a real but slightly flaccid way. The meatball does not have the shape of the ordinary meatball, I mean round; rather, it has an elongated tubular shape. People like the meatball. It is an element that makes chewing easier, and this is always appreciated. We put a bit of everything, but without anything dominating too much. For example, in the Castilian cocido, they put many chickpeas; their presence is considerable. In our meat stew, this number is not excessive; it is balanced. Each country takes advantage of what it has to enhance it. Those looking for the famous and renowned Catalan common sense will likely make the trip in vain. It is in the kitchen that this trend has been imposed in a visible way. ‘In the kitchen,’ my mother used to say, ‘you have to put everything…, but little!’

Everything else is quite similar: the hen, the innards of the chicken (liver and gizzard), veal, bacon, which should never be rancid. And the black or clear sausage, of course, because it is the ideal country for sausages. And potatoes, cabbage, carrots, chickpeas, and four dried beans. All together constitutes a very appreciable little world. Now, when you compare the stews eaten today with those presented by the great farmhouses of the last century, specialized in the possession of so many pigs in brine or for slaughter, with the ears, tails, snouts, feet, and corresponding lean, you can get an idea of how everything has been slimming down.

The French pot-au-feu, aside from the differences proposed by the legumes of the neighboring country, presents a novelty: the presence of beef in the dish. We have a kitchen without beef, and this greatly affects the meat stew. We are part of a world of pale souls, more given to singing than to reasoning, and of bodies either too fat or too crushed—without this meaning that there are no women of great beauty. We lack beef—the climate, rain, and meadows—to achieve that desired point of corpulence. If we had the climate suitable for the normal human diet, perhaps we would be more peaceful, more understanding, and more tolerant. We pass too easily from eternal indifference to momentary rootedness. We are too dominated by nerves, by impressionability, often gratuitous, by the anguish produced by the emptiness of the stomach when we have eaten in an extravagant way. Thirty more days of rain a year, and the country would be much more pleasant.”

‘El que hem menjat’ – Josep Pla (1972)

Kitchen schedule

MONDAY – THURSDAY
Kitchen: 13:00 pm – 15:30 pm (dining room closes at 17:00 pm)
Kitchen: 19:30 pm – 22:00 pm (dining room closes at 23:45 pm)

FRIDAY – SATURDAY
Kitchen: 13:00 pm – 15:30 pm (dining room closes at 17:00 pm)
Kitchen: 19:30 pm – 22:30 pm (dining room closes at 24:00 pm)

SUNDAY AND FESTIVE DAYS
Kitchen: 13:00 pm – 15:30 pm (dining room closes at 17:00 pm)

 

Contact us

Contact phone number: +34 933 012 939

Booking phone number: +34 932 206 123

reserves@restaurantestevet.com

Location

RESTAURANT CA L'ESTEVET
Valldonzella, 46
08001 Barcelona

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