Posted by: travelrat | August 19, 2011

Spanish Stew

Patatas a la Rioja
Cocido Montanes

Villacarreido: 28th March 2011.

The weather wasn’t too kind to us when we arrived at Villacarreido, neither was it the following day. Not that it really affected what we’d come to do. We still had our conversations with the Spanish participants, but, instead of strolling down to the village, or around the surrounding countryside, we stayed in the hotel, or walked across the road to the cantina for a coffee or a beer.

Such weather really calls for a hearty meal, and here, the kitchen didn’t fail us with, on separate occasions, regional specialties that just hit the spot. There’s probably a specialist foodie term to describe them … I call them ‘stoops’; a dish which can’t decide whether it’s a soup or a stew, and which usually requires a knife and fork, as well as a spoon, to eat.

The first was ‘Patatas a la Rioja’ … you probably know, from previous posts, that ‘patatas’ are potatoes, and Rioja is wine … add to this peppers, paprika, chilis, onion and chorizo sausage, and you have a ‘stoop’ that will bring them back from the dead.

Even more substantial is ‘Cocido Montanes’ (Mountain Stew) which is more or less the same thing, with the addition of diced pork belly and beans. The chef here also added black pudding (aka blood sausage, boudin noir or blutwurst, depending on where you’re from, although this ingredient wasn’t mentioned in the recipe I downloaded from theWeb)

Ah, recipes … yes! We had a bit of a discussion about this in an online journalism forum I belong to. Can recipes be copyrighted? How much do you have to alter a recipe before you can claim it as ‘yours’? We never did reach a satisfactory concensus, so I’ll just put in links to some recipes I found. (Patatas a la Rioja) (Cocido Montanes)


  1. Hi Keith,
    They certainly do look like hearty meals, and just the right thing to have “bad weather”. I agree the meals look more like a stew, so thick.

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