Extremadura recipes

flag of Extremaduramap-of-extremaduraRegion: Extremadura, Extremadura (Spanish), Estremadura (Extremaduran)

Capital: Mérida

Provinces: Cáceres and Badajoz

Extremadura Maps and guides: Get your travel guide here

garaganta del infiernoExtremaduran cuisine is simple and generous and makes use of the abundance of meat available in the area. Catering for vegetarians is not a high priority in this region although there are some great Extremadura recipes that are based simply on vegetables, beans and pulses.

Pork and mutton are the main meats of choice and you can find a dish that uses just about every part of the animal including the liver, heart, kidney, brain, stomach, feet and tail. Callos con manos de cerdo is a well-known Extremadura recipe and is cooked using tripe and pig’s trotters; calderata de cordero is one of many mutton-based stews.

Many of the dishes can be cooked in one large pot and would traditionally be made to share with families and neighbours in the poorer areas of the region. This sharing aspect is still common and many of the traditional dishes have survived as a result.

puente romano de merida

Other meats that are also consumed include the local hare, chickens, snails, frogs and even lizards which are fried in olive oil and then added to the cooking pot to stew alongside juicy tomatoes and large white onions and flavoured with parsley and white wine. Extremadura also provides rich hunting ground for pheasants, partridges, quail, woodcock, rabbits, hares and pigeons.

For a region that consumes a lot of meat it is no surprise that their most famous product is the meat from the Iberian pig. The pigs roam free in large areas of wild pasture land known as the dehesa and feast on the various acorns that fall from the abundance of local oak trees that grow throughout the region; in particular the holm oak.  The Iberian pigs are dark grey to black in colour and are often referred to as pata negra (black hoof) and their free-roaming lifestyles ensures that they stay fit and healthy. Any fat they accumulate is produced under the skin and between the muscle fibres creating a unique marbling effect that makes the ham so special. The ham from the pigs is highly regarded in Spain and is also exported throughout Europe and beyond.

As with other parts of Spain the meat produced in Extremadura is transformed into many different types of sausage such as morcilla and chorizo but always with a unique local twist on the flavour.

The abundance of livestock has also resulted to a land rich in artisan cheeses and goat’s cheese is a particular favourite.  Types of cheese include la serena, cásar de cáceres and la vega.

Iberian pigs

For those looking for an alternative to meat then the Portuguese influence in Extremadura recipes can be seen on the fish menu where Bacalao (salt cod) can be found as well as local trout. Other non meat dishes include: las lentejas estofadas (braised lentils) and el gazpacho extremeño (local version of gazpacho).

Many of the traditional dishes are based on chick peas and other popular vegetables include squash, chestnuts, peppers and onions, many of which are served in soups and stews. These traditional Extremadura recipes are cheap, simple but hearty dishes that can be easily made in large quantities to feed families and visitors; reflecting the generous nature and neighbourly spirit of the Extremaduran people.

Extremadura recipes

Pollo Extremena recipe

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