Tag Archives: Camino de Santiago

Spanish White Bean Stew with Chorizo

Fabada – A Hearty Spanish Stew fit for the Winter!

I wanted to start the New Year with a dish from one of my favourite gastronomic countries in the world, Spain! I got married in Spain many years ago and been there almost dozen times. During the time I walked the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain last September, many times I was served a white bean stew with chorizo (cured Spanish sausage) called Fabada.  It comes from the province of Austurias next to Galicia where it has the coast line on Bay of Basque. Spain has a rich gastronomic history that dates back centuries ago where people traveled to certain provinces just to taste certain dishes including traveling to Burgos for their blood sausage called Morcilla – made with pork blood, rice and spices that came from Moors influence. After Christopher Columbus traveled to the new world he brought back paprika to Spain. Soon chorizo took on a different take with spices from the new world. Today Spanish chorizo can be purchased in your local supermarkets as the food scene around the world has changed, thanks to food TV shows and internet for spreading the word.

 

IMG_0199IMG_0291IMG_3699

 

 

 

 

IMG_3833IMG_3776IMG_3849

 

 

 

 

IMG_0706IMG_3954IMG_4005

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve seen variations of this dish either made with chorizo or clams. I fell in love with both versions as the stew made with chorizo has a smoky hearty taste due to the paprika and beef stock perfect for cold fall/winter nights sipping medium to full bodied red wines. I prefer the stew with clams for spring/summer made with chicken broth as it has a slight salty taste like the sea, perfect with sipping white wines.   

IMG_4823IMG_4336IMG_4338

 

 

 

 

 

Chef’s note:  *After soaking the beans cooking them separately  for 5 minutes, drain and using them for the recipe gives less or no gas. **I’ve also added kale to this recipe as some regions incorporates them when they are in season.

Prep time 15 min                              Cooking time 90 min                       Serves 8

IMG_4463

 

Ingredients

4 cups low salt beef stock

3 cups white beans (navy beans) soaked overnight or soaked 8 hours & cooked 5 min & drained

300g sliced chorizo or *(dry cured sausage, you’ll need to add 1 tsp paprika)

3 cups chopped, washed and drained kale

2 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups chopped carrots

2 cups chopped celery

1 large red pepper, chopped

4 gloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp grape seed oil or extra light olive oil

3 large plum tomatoes, chopped

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup red wine

1 tsp chili flakes

1 large cinnamon stick

2 bay leafs

½ tsp saffron threads (optional)

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tbsp dry thyme

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsp flour

Salt for tasting

Method

  1. In a small cup add saffron threads and tbsp of water and let it steep (better infusion of saffron)
  2. In a large dutch oven heat oil in medium heat and sauté the chorizo. *If you don’t have chorizo sauté dry cured sausage and add 1 tsp of smoked paprika when sautéing the onion
  3. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté few minutes and add garlic, red pepper, cinnamon, bay leafs, chili and sauté well and add cup of wine and bring to boil
  4. Add white beans and mix well and add tomatoes, tomato paste and mix well
  5. Add thyme, kale and stock and bring to a boil
  6.  Add saffron threads, ground pepper and bring it low heat
  7. Cover and cook for about 90 minutes until kale and beans are tender
  8. Add flour and mix well as it will help thicken the stew
  9. Serve hot with crusty bread
  10. Optional: * a glass of Rioja or other medium-full bodied red wine

Nutritional Analysis: 1 serving = 2 cups (480 ml): Calories 375; Carb 34 g; Fibre 8 g; Fat 16 g;  Sat. F 6 g; Sugar 7 g; Protein 20 g; Sodium 780mg;  Iron 4 mg, Potassium 1165 mg; Calcium 111 mg; Vitamin C 66 mg; Vitamin A 514

Please follow and like us:

Camino Santiago Passports, Stamps & Symbols

Chapter 6 – Camino Santiago Symbols, what are they about?

Travel brings power and love back into your life – Rumi

I’ve talked about much of my preparation for the Camino but I haven’t really talked about the process of the Camino, how one walks the Camino path. When I heard about the Camino I started to research about it – I could find tons of website and blogs and there was a symbol that kept showing up over and over again – it was the scallop shell. The scallop shell signifies rebirth and it’s the symbol of Camino and the apostle Saint James and the French call it Coquilles Saint Jacques (Scallops of Saint James/Jacob)

Legend of the Santiago de Compostela

Who was Saint James? Why did so many of his followers or pilgrims take the road to Compostela as early as year 1000? According to the bible James the Greater was one of Christ’s first apostles who died in Jerusalem in the year 44 AD. He said to be been beheaded by order of King Herod Agrippa, who was apposed to the new religion. Legend has it two disciples brought his body back by boat to Galicia where the tomb was discovered by 9th century by a hermit who was led to it by a star. Relic worship was widespread at the time and the site rapidly took on its vocation as a major pilgrimage center comparable with Jerusalem and Rome. Campus Stellae or “filed of stars” became Santiago de Compostela and this town tip of Galicia soon built a Romanesque church that was to become one of the most imposing Gothic Cathedrals in Europe.

IMG_2694IMG_2010IMG_1873

 

 

 

 

 

From all the pictures of the Camino the directional sign to Santiago were all directed by the shell using it as a walkway symbol or a yellow arrow sign pointing to a direction to walk ahead. From my trip I’ve seen the yellow arrow on rocks, roads, trees and trust me you will be happy to see it on your path so that you don’t miss your path. The scallop shell is also modified like a sunburst used sideways signifying many paths around Europe leading to one meeting point, Santiago! How cool is that!

When the pilgrims start the Camino everyone gets a passport called “credentials” from the tourist office at the starting point (in my case at St. Jean PP) a passport where each pilgrim will register their personal information. Once a pilgrim obtains a passport then they can collect stamps to indicate that they have passed the proper Camino path through various villages. The passport is used as a credential to get accommodations at albergues (Hostel, Pension). When you reach Santiago, to get the Compostela (the Camino certificate) the passport is examined at the Tourist office to make sure all the necessary stamps,  the last 100 km have been walked by the pilgrim. So these stamps are given out in most albergues, churches and municipal offices – they are unique to each place. But all the stamps are verified and the certificates are given out to everyone who walks the Camino to Santiago.

My passport, my first stamp from SJPP and Camino Shell

My passport, my first stamp from SJPP and Camino Shell

You are also asked a question at the Tourist office why you walked the Camino – this is not a test question that one must pass but to let one reflect on the whole journey and answer why they did the walk and then you are given the certificate. I have a degree in Computer Science, Diploma for Culinary Arts, many awards and certificates but I think this one will be very special to me. This certificate is not easy to get – and it’s not about how fast or how many days it took to finish rather how one did the walk and the quality of it. This is truly a reflection of oneself how you want to do the Camino walk.

Santiago de Compostela for me!

I’ve given permission to myself to do something totally different where my body and soul hope to work in synch without being too hard and judgemental about myself. I also hope to find a balance in my life, balance my blood sugar with the heavy physical activity and to achieve a taste/test of walking close to 880 km where I’ve done this similar distance by plans, trains and automobiles but never by foot and that’s some achievement I can do and be proud of. Especially with type1 diabetes (T1D), I’ve never challenged myself to long physical activity where I can really speak to so many others challenged by diabetes who limit themselves to travel or long distance physical activity that they can with proper planning and training.

Buen Camino!

Please follow and like us:

My Camino Way

camino2Chapter 1 – Brief History of Camino de Santiago

For some time I’ve been thinking about doing the Camino de Santiago  (long walking trek over 800 km)  – an ancient pathway to pilgrims, even Napoleon took this path to visit the large cathedral of Saint James in the ancient city of Santiago in Galicia, Spain. Ancient time they thought Finisterre (Atlantic coast of Galicia) was ‘end of the world’ (costa de morte) – where there was no landmass, leaving civilization at the edge of Atlantic Ocean until the new world was discovered in 1492.

“People tend to forget the word “history” contains the word “story” – Ken Burns

There are many routes to get there within Europe. I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer faith and spirituality people have in achieving this massive goal by walking approximately 25+ km each day – walking through tough terrains, mountains, foot hills and valleys and sleeping in albergues, monasteries and eating what is available along way.

Why the Camino for me?

Not being an athlete or a religious person I wanted to undertake the Camino to learn about myself and my body as I haven’t pushed myself to do anything challenging after being diagnosed with type1 diabetes (November 14, 2005 – ironically its World Diabetes Day). Having type1 diabetes (T1D) has its challenges, to maintain healthy blood glucose (blood sugar) throughout this trip, eating what is available and walking 25+ km a day (exercise and tons of it) is an enormous challenge without proper planning and training.

camino5March of this year I decided to take this challenge and to train for it. Walking is something I can do as I’ve tried running many times but it didn’t click for me, neither did biking. But walking 25+ km each and every day for 32+ (approximate days to walk 800 km) days? – Well it has a good ring to it. It’s like training for anything, all I had to do was to step out of my house (my comfort zone) and walk on the sidewalk and viola I could do 6 km for an hour, wow I can do this Camino!

Well not so fast – I will talk about my training on my next entry but just wanted to talk a bit more about the Camino.  My first day’s journey at the Camino would start at St. Jean Pied de Port (SJPP), France at the foothills of Pyrenees where you climb 1500 meters straight up the mountain for about 20 km and descend to 900 meters, 5 km to Roncesvalles, Spain. After 10 km from SJPP on the mountain there is no stopping as there are no hostels or huts to stay as its a rough terrain, only the mountain.  So this is the challenge that really pushed my training to figure out how to get ready for this challenging climb and descend and keeping up energy for 25+ km for each day.

Did I mention that I will be doing the 1st segment of the Camino with my husband John – he will be my coach to remind me to take my snacks, test my blood sugar every hour and cheering me on as he has done many challenging climbs in his earlier days including the Kilimanjaro.

We will start our journey from SJPP (France) to Logrono (Rioja, Spain) approximately 200 km to be completed in 8 days. I am also thinking of starting my 2nd journey from where I leave off at Logrono, Rioja to Finisterre, Galicia about 700 km across northern Spain over a month later this summer.

Talk about exciting, I am thrilled. Not only it will be a huge challenge but being a cook exposed to this amazing culinary journey across northern Spain, eating, walking, doing a fitness holiday, meeting travelers from all over the world along the way and breathtaking scenery and history to boot? Why not? This is sounding amazing already and I can’t wait to get there!

Check out the film The Way directed by Emilio Estevez starring Martin Sheen (plays on screen father too) – a powerful story that takes place in the Camino trail where life’s questions, quests are questioned or answered as you’ll meet interesting characters along the path of the movie. Very uplifting and moving film which I really enjoy myself at TIFF few years ago and had the opportunity to talk to both Estevez and Sheen about their journey in the Camino and how it was to play onscreen father and son about life’s existential crisis. They were so happy to share their stories.

I plan to blog about my trip while on the Camino – hopefully the internet connection will cooperate so that I can share my experiences and the culinary journey with you guys and I hope you’ll join me along the way to cheer me on send me positive vibes with your feedback.

Buen Camino!

Please follow and like us: