Soaking time: 24 to 48 hours
Cooking time: 70 minutes
Potaje de Vigilia – The vigil stew, also called lent stew, is one of the most representative dishes of cuisine in Holy week, very popular in Spain, even more in some corners as Asturias.
Though nowadays the religious rules regarding food, like fasting during Easter, are largely overlooked, funnily enough the food traditions remain and making food at home for the Easter celebration, this is apparently a rather ancient recipe, as they first appear quoted by a Spanish author in the 16th Century.
It is recommended to keep the stew from one day to the other, so its flavor is based and intensifies.
If you prefer, you can make the stew thicker by adding fried bread: Add a splash of olive oil, when it is hot fry the slice of bread and pass to the mortar, crush the slice of bread, put a little water from cooking the chickpeas and add to the pan.
For more flavor, lightly fry the garlic before crushing it in a mortar.
A day before
- Cut the salted cod into large pieces. Soak the pieces in water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store into the fridge. Replace the water into the bowl every 8-10 hours.
- Soak chickpeas - you can buy canned ones and skip this process, if in a hurry.
- Drain ; reserve separately.
- Boil water in a cooking pot. Add chickpeas, laurel leaf, green bell pepper, tomato and a dask of olive oil.
- In a mortar crush the garlic, the cloves, the pepper, the cumin and the parsley.
- Add to the pot with saffron and leave to cook for approximately 45 minutes - the time will depend on the quality of the chickpeas and the type of pot you have.
- Open the pot, add cod and let simmer 20 minutes more.
- If you want to add spinach, sweat them in a drizzle of oil and add them to the stew a few minutes before serving.
- Garnish with boiled eggs, croûtons and serve very hot.
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