Sopas Mallorquinas - country stew from Mallorca

Recipe by Neil Morris - 21 July 2012

sopas mallorquinas

Region: Balearic islands

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Oven temp: cook on the hob

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 4

nonveg

Many years ago, on a family trip to Mallorca, I had my first exposure to the concept of 'menu del dia' - where bars and restaurants offer a fixed-price three course meal (often including wine or beer) aimed at the local clients. Eating this way can be considerably cheaper than ordering from the main menu, although your choice may be limited.

On that trip to Mallorca we had travelled inland and stopped at a country restaurant for lunch and ordered the 'menu del dia' without even asking what was on offer; kind of like a culinary version of 'Russian roulette'. We were pleasantly surprised when, as well as three courses of food, we were served olives, jamon, bread, beer and coffee and all for the price of a pint of beer per person back in the UK!

The main course was Sopas Mallorquinas and whilst it was not the most attractive plate of food I had ever seen, it was delicious and if my memory serves me correctly this version is as close as I can get to what we were served that day. I have made a few tweaks, however, like leaving my vegetables in much larger chunks for improved texture and appearance.

If you are not aware of Sopas Mallorquinas, it is a common country dish in Mallorca and is designed to use up leftover vegetables and bread and this is exactly what I use it for. The ingredients can be varied and it is common on the Island to include artichokes and asparagus and sometimes even pork depending on what is available. I will show you how to cook a vegetarian and non-vegetarian version here.

If you pay attention to this dish and ensure that your vegetables are perfectly cooked and that it is seasoned correctly then you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. Serve in the casserole dish at the table and let everyone help themselves!

Shopping list

  • olive oil (aceite de oliva)
  • slightly stale country bread (pan duro)
  • 500g pork loin (lomo de cerdo) *optional*
  • 1 small cabbage (repollo)
  • 1 cauliflower (coliflor)
  • 2 tomatoes (tomates)
  • 4 garlic cloves (dientes de ajo)
  • 1 onion (cebolla)
  • 1 green pepper (pimiento verde)
  • 1 yellow pepper (pimiento amarillo)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika (pimienton dulce)
  • 1 tsp hot paprika (pimienton picante)
  • fresh parsley (perejil)
  • 1 bay leaf (hoja de laurel)
  • 3/4 litre of good vegetable stock (caldo de veduras)
  • salt (sal)
  • freshly ground black pepper (pimienta recién molida negro)

Method

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the pork (if using, skip this step if cooking a vegetarian version) which should be chopped into small pieces about 1-2 cms in size; cook for a minute or two over a high heat until starting to brown.

Reduce the heat slightly and add the chopped onion, garlic and peppers (leave the peppers quite chunky, about 3-5 cms) and continue to cook to soften the vegetables without browning.

Grate the tomatoes so the flesh passes through the grater but the skin does not (easier than it sounds!) and add to the pan along with the cabbage (roughly chopped), the cauliflower florets (kept quite chunky) and the paprika then stir together for a minute or so. Season to taste.

Now add the stock (you can use chicken or vegetable stock here) and simmer gently for 15-20 mins or until the vegetables and meat are tender. Check the seasoning again and adjust accordingly.

Slice the bread nice and thinly and arrange it so it covers the bottom and sides of a large casserole dish. Spoon the mixture over the bread until it is covered and leave to stand for 5 minutes then garnish with fresh parsley leaves and some sweet paprika.

Serve this Sopas Mallorquinas at the table in the casserole dish and let everyone help themselves!

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