Escudella (Andorran Meat Stew), the national dish of Andorra, is a stew made with many different types of meats, vegetables and carbs. The exact contents of escudella can differ with each chef, but the most important component of the dish is the bone marrow bone that gives the stew its intense flavor profile. Be sure to personalize your Andorran meat stew by adding different cuts of meat, forms of grains and carbs, and starchy vegetables to your pot!
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A Vagabond Year
I’ve lived a lot of places in the last calendar year… about a year ago, I was living on the west side of the state in Kalamazoo, Michigan for an internship. As the school year began, I transitioned back into life at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. I spent an incredible last semester at school and, before I knew it, packed up my bags and jetted off to Rome. I lived in Italy for a total of four months; four months that were undoubtedly the best months of my entire life. After that, I was homeless for a bit as I packed Europe for 6 weeks, living in the cheapest hostels that my euros could buy.
But, as it often must, the adventure came to an end. I re-packed my bags, boarded a plane, and moved home. I found a (great) job in my hometown, and I’m currently living with my parents while I start earning that big girl paycheck. I love my parents and I love my job and I love my hometown. But after almost six months of seeing new places and meeting new people and trying new things, it felt a little stifling to come back to “normal”. Trust me, I LOVE everything about my life right now. But still, I needed to do something new or meet someone new or try something new. If I didn’t, I was going to explode.
Finding Excitement in Normal
So in typical Alexandria fashion, I signed up for everything. I joined a dance class; I joined a photography class; I signed up for a half marathon; I started a (very time intensive) blog; I joined a bible study. I needed new things and new people and I needed them QUICK (in addition to my forever friends, who will always be in my life). And from that desperate need to find the new, I found my new favorite Tuesday night tradition!
Every Tuesday after work a group of ladies that I met at my bible study get together for a dinner party. We all bring a dish to pass and we sit and enjoy dinner together. We talk about work and relationships and our hobbies and life, and it’s wonderful.
What Does this Have to Do with Andorran Meat Stew?
I know that this was a long introduction and you’re probably thinking…. “But Alexandria… what does this have to do with Andorran meat stew?”
Well, I gave you this massive background for two reasons:
- So that you could learn a little bit about me, my life, my background, and my personality
- So that I could tell you about the weird, embarrassing thing that I did on my first Tuesday night dinner party
Okay, so my very first Tuesday night dinner party rolls around and, last minute, the person that was supposed to bring the main dish can’t come anymore. I had cooked Andorra the night before, so I come to the rescue by bringing an entire pot of Andorran meat stew for our main course. If you need a great appetizer, this Andorran Pan con Tomate comes together very quickly and is delicious too.
The part that’s weird, though? This Andorran meat stew was made from (I think??) the leg of a pig. When I was preparing to cook this dish, I looked at my recipe and realized I needed a bone marrow bone. I asked the butcher at my local grocery store what he could provide to me. In response, he handed me a bone that I’m preeeettty sure was a pig leg.
I was nervous to feed my dish to my new friends, and even MORE nervous to tell them what was inside. But they were brave and gracious, and I’m not lying when I say that every single person at the table went back for seconds.
Make This One…. Seriously.
The combination of meats, the heartiness of the broth, and the mixture of starches really bring this dish together. Your spoon (or your mouth) can’t possibly fit all of the many, many ingredients at once! That means each bite is completely different from the one before. In one bite you’ll get a meatball and beans and rice and peas. In the next you’ll taste chicken and noodles and potatoes and cabbage. Regardless of what combination goes in your mouth, it’s all delicious. And luckily, I have friends that were willing to try my bone marrow Andorran meat stew to find out that this was the case. And the best part? They must not have thought I was TOO weird, because they still invited me back 😉
I promise, if you try this soup, you’ll love it just as much as we all did. I can’t wait for you to prove me right! Let me know in the comments below what you think.
Escudella (Andorran Meat Stew)
- .75 lb ground pork
- ½ ham steak
- ½ 15 oz can chickpeas
- 1 15 oz can white beans
- ¼ head of cabbage
- 1 package cubed prosciutto
- 2 chicken breasts
- 9 cups water, then another 2
- 2 bone marrow bones
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup long grain white rice (I used basmati)
- ½ cup noodles in the shape of shells
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tbsp garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot on the stove, heat some olive oil. Roll the ground pork into meatballs and cook in oil for about 5 minutes.
- Dice the ham, then put the ham, sausage, chicken, and bones into the pot with about 9 cups of water. The entire chicken breast can be placed in the water at once, as it will cook so much that it will easily shred itself.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the soup simmer on the stove for two hours.
- Remove the bones and then bring the rest of the liquid back to a boil.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients (chickpeas, white beans, cabbage, prosciutto, peas, potatoes, rice, noodles, salt, pepper, and cumin).
- Cook for another 30 minutes until all of the ingredients are cooked through (including the potatoes and the rice).