Thursday, June 2, 2016

5 Easy Steps to Callos a la Madrileña ... adapted from Penelope Casas

My father was a great cook -- who taught me how to make all his specialties, and then some.  Unfortunately, callos was not one of them.   If he wanted to eat this classic spanish stew,  he ate at
the old Madrid Restaurant,   a big favourite of his in the 60s.
So when I had the craving to cook callos -- I had no family recipe to turn to.  Thankfully,  I had revered Spanish culinary expert Penelope Casas' thick volume of "1,000 Spanish Recipes" on hand.
I tweaked the recipe a bit and here it is in 5 easy to follow steps.

The basic ingredients for callos include a good sofrito -- garlic, onions and lots of fresh ripe tomatoes.   Ms Casas' recipe calls only for tripe but I added pig's feet -- for that collagen and glutinous texture that will come from boiling the meat for a long time.
You will also need paprika, olive oil, white wine, fresh parsley (the curly kind),  ham, chorizo,
flour,  dried thyme and bay leaves. 
Tip: tie the parsley together with cooking twine so they're easy to remove later.

Step 1

For this recipe, I used a kilo of tripe and 4 pieces of pig's feet.  The butcher asked me "paa lang talaga ang kailangan mo, hindi pata?".
Clean meats very well and boil with some salt for about 30 minutes, making sure to remove the impurities  that rise to the top in the process.  After the initial boil, remove meats, drain and set aside.

Step 2

Then, in a large heavy pot,  put the tripe and the pig's feet with the garlic, onions, tomatoes, parsley, dried thyme, bay leaves and white wine.  Pour enough water to cover the meat.  Bring to a boil then simmer at low heat until tripe is tender.
Tip:  Frankly,  this step would be better done in a pressure cooker.  But since I do not own one (because my father told me NEVER to use this newfangled (in his time) cooking convenience because there was NEVER any substitute to slow cooking)  --  it took four long hours to get the tripe to the desired tender state.  

Step 3

When the tripe has tenderised (yes, after four hours!) take out all the meats and place in a colander to drain.   You'll find that most of the meat from the pig's feet would have been separated from the bones.  Then, remove and discard the parsley but keep the pot on the stove at a low simmer.

Debone pig's feet and slice pork and tripe into strips. 

Step 4

In a separate pan, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent then add chopped ham bits 
(I use scrap ham,  flavourful and not as expensive) and diced chorizo.  Mix well together.
Take 2 to 3 cups of the liquid from the pot and  mix it with paprika and flour to make a roux.  
Then, mix the roux with the ham and chorizo in the pan, stirring well so it does 
not stick to  the bottom . 

 Step 5

Add the sliced pig's feet and tripe back to your pot then add the chorizo and ham roux.  Simmer and taste to season with salt and pepper if needed.
The roux will thicken the stew making this the final step to delicious Callos a la Madrileña.  
Tip: once the callos has thickened, continue to stir  the stew to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Simmer until reduced to your desired consistency.  

P.S. Step 6 -- Serve and enjoy!

 I added pitted black olives (not in the recipe but because my husband Jay likes them so much). 
You will note that there are no garbanzos -- according to Ms Casas, chickpeas belong to Callos a la Gallega not Callos a la Madrileña.
I am happy to report that my first attempt at callos was a success and that if my father were alive, 
he would have enjoyed it too.  The tripe was tender and the pork meltingly gelatinous.
Callos is good served with (lots of) hot rice or with good chewy sourdough bread. 
What I would do differently next time -- to save on LPG,  I shall tenderise the meats over my wood burning kalan and perhaps add a bit more paprika -- as my friend, the Kastila suggested.
Buen provecho!

P.S.  Since I cook by taste and feel, I don't take note of measurements (like father, like daughter).
In her recipe, Ms Casas called for 1/2 cup of white wine for 1 pound of tripe so use that as a benchmark.  I know I used the wine generously -- for cooking the stew and sipping on the side. 

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