La Palma, also known as "Isla Bonita" for its beauty and greenery, never ceases to amaze us. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 2002, the also known as the "green island" offers from marvellous landscapes worth seeing, to incredible skies to observe the universe or a gastronomy with very old dishes. In this article we will focus on a typical Canarian dish: potaje de trigo palmero.
The potaje de trigo palmero is just one more of the many stews that can be found in the Canarian recipe book, from the watercress stew to rancho or puchero, but it is also a very common dish in Spain. The variants of this stew are innumerable, only in the Canary Islands and depending on each island we can find a multitude of different spoon recipes.
The history of this stew
When we think of La Palma, we always think of sweets, such as the Prince Albert, which we talk about in more depth in this article.or liqueurs, but there are also recipes for hot dishes and traditional spoon dishes. As we have already mentioned in other recipes, the potaje de trigo palmero is the result of the fusion of the different cultures that passed through and coexisted in the archipelago, the aboriginal, the Portuguese, the Castilian and the Moorish.
Like most Canarian stews, this stew was born out of necessity and scarcity of food, making the most of what was available at the time in the kitchen and using one of the most common cereals in the Canarian diet since the time of the first inhabitants of the islands: wheat.
In addition to the aforementioned cereal, which is fundamental in the production of wheat gofio, for example, one of the most important foods in the Canarian diet, this stew contains another fundamental cereal in the archipelago, millet ( maize), as well as vegetables, potatoes and meat.
How to prepare the potaje de trigo palmero (palm wheat stew)
There are different ways of preparing this delicious stew. This is an inherited recipe, so each family on the island prepares it in a different way.
Pork ribs are usually added, which can be salted or unsalted, or a piece of beef to enhance the flavour, but both ingredients can also be omitted. However, the main ingredient of this dish is vegetables. The main ingredient of this dish is cabbage, but it also contains carrots and beans, as well as sweet potato and pineapple.
This stew is similar to the puchero, both in cooking and ingredients, the main difference being wheat, which together with cabbage is another of the fundamental ingredients of this stew. The cereal is added whole, i.e. in grain form, not ground as if it were gofio.
Wheat is cooked in a similar way to pulses. It is quite hard, so it must be left to soak overnight to soften it.
For 6 persons:
For the stock: 1 piece of beef for soup (approx. 400-500 grams), 1 or 2 pork ribs (salted or fresh), 1 tomato, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, 1 leek.
Preparation of the stew: 250 grams of cabbage, 200 grams of wheat grain, 1 carrot, 200 grams of green beans, 1 millet pineapple, 300 grams of sweet potato, 2 medium potatoes, 500 grams of pumpkin, salt.
The day before, put the wheat in a pot and cover it with water. Then put it on the heat until it boils. Once it has boiled, add more water and wait for it to boil again before adding more water, for a total of 4 times. Once ready, remove the wheat from the heat and leave it in the same water until the next day. By that time, it should have been opened.
To make the stock, first, in a large pot or pressure cooker, put the meat cut into large chunks, as well as the peeled onion and tomato, both halved. Also the garlic with its skin and the leek chopped into several pieces. Cover with plenty of water, 3 or 4 litres, and put the cauldron on the heat. Once ready, strain it, separate the meat and set aside.
Next, in the same pot and using the previously prepared stock, add all the peeled and chopped vegetables in medium-sized pieces. Add salt to taste and cook until the vegetables are ready.
Finally, shred the meat and add it to the vegetables together with the drained wheat and cook it all together for 5 more minutes. Once this time has elapsed, remove from the heat and leave to rest for a few minutes and it is ready to eat.
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