Two months ago, Adriana from Changing Plate invited fellow bloggers (in the MKB community and other bloggers group) to take part in a special culinary event. Today Saturday the 13th of September, the group effort is to "make a dish" that represents our home country and introduce it. If you want to see the other dishes prepared, you can follow the hashtag #changingplate. Adriana will also list all of them on a special article on her blog.
So, for this event, I decided to cook a dish from North Catalunya, where I grew up as a kid. My grand-father on my mother side was catalan and I do like many of the typical food you can found in this region.
The Boles de Picolat are a dish made of a mix of meats: pork and beef. Here is the recipe I used, found in the book Ma cuisine catalane au fil des saisons written by Eliane Thibaut-Comelade, who is a respected expert on catalan cuisine and had written several books, studies and articles about it.
For 6 people, you will need:
For the meat balls:
- 250g minced beef meat
- 500g minced pork meat
- 1/2 coffee spoon of salt
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
- 4 tablespoons of flour (to roll the balls in it)
- 1 dL of olive oil
For the "sofregit" (sauce):
- 100g ventrêche, cut in small dices and blanched for 5-6 minutes
- 1 small yellow minced onion
- salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoon of fresh tomatoes, minced
- 200g green pitted olives, already scalded
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 2 dL water
- 1 pinch of chili pepper ("pebrot")
- In a bowl, mix the minced meat with the garlic, the parsley, the salt, the cinnamon and the eggs. Roll balls (around 4cm wide) in the flour, and tighten them. Let fall in the plate the excess of flour. In a pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meat balls. turn them around so that they are equally cooked. When ready, put the balls in a cast iron pot.
- In the same pan, put the onion, ventrêche and a small glass of water. Let heat it up and when everything is golden, sprinkle on it the left-over flour.
- Make it brown and then add a cup of water, the chili pepper, tomatoes, cinnamon, salt and pepper. When it's back to the boiling point, pour the sauce on the meatballs and add the olives. Put the pot on small heat, covered, for around 30 minutes.
- You will have to serve it while it's hot. And as for the topping, it's best to cook white beans in a tomato sauce.
I should cook more catalan dishes at home. I have never been exactly "instructed" in catalan gastronomy but I do have some books about it. And the call of the Bunyetes has been very strong these last months (it's a kind of donut, but cripy at the center and tender on the side). I should try to bake some for Easter. Without the kids near the pan full of hot oil... and with the help of some friends. Baking Bunyetes, it's a team work!
I wish you a good week-end and many happy moment in the kitchen or at the table, savoring dishes prepared with love and time.