There are legendary dishes and there is pot stew, the food in the fields dish with origins in the cauldron tradition and even further back in the first bronze pots of antiquity – the brunzin – a name still in existence in some food cultures to describe the dish.
Generally a pot stew contains meat, vegetables and aromatics in the form of herbs and spices. With the advent of the sausage tradition, the pot stew got a new definition, seen in those food cultures where sausages of all shapes and sizes define the method.
The sausages that go into an eintöpf are hard sausages – cold smoked or cured for a long time to produce a depth of flavour that will emerge in the medium of the stew. There are so many variations of eintöpf with würst it is impossible to say if there is a defintive version. This is our interpretation, based on the traditional pot stews of yesteryear.
- 1 litre vegetable broth, lukewarm
- 6 mettwürst (beef-pork sausages), sliced
- 600 g potatoes, cubed small
- 300 carrots, cubed small
- 300 g fresh broad beans / fresh green beans
- 250 g onion, chopped
- 60 g tomato paste
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 5 g black pepper
- 5 g salt
- 1 tbsp dried marjoram
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
Sauté garlic and onion over a medium heat in a large pot for 15 minutes. Add tomato paste, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the broth and seasonings. Add the beans, carrots, potatoes, sausages and herbs. Cover and cook over a low heat for 90 minutes.
This summer vegetable soup from central Italy is celebrated in the Sezze recipe book where they describe it as the ‘soup of love’. Ideally it is made with all fresh produce from the field and garden. The addition of bread, eggs and cheese turn it into a meal.
The authors of Ti Racconto una Ricetta di Sezze (I’ll Tell You a Recipe of Sezze) describe the dish. ‘Bazzoffia is a spring soup typical of Sezze and Priverno, two villages of the Lepini Mountains that compete for the authorship of this dish. The bazzoffia, whose name recalls a certain heterogeneity of ingredients, is made with seasonal vegetables from the April season during which are the last artichokes, the first beans and new peas, as well as lettuce and chard. Today actually with availability all year round of ingredients it is possible to make it every day. The secret of the success of bazzoffia is the long but sweet cooking which leaves legumes and vegetables intact.’
- 1.5 litres water
- 300 g fresh peas
- 300 g fresh broad beans
- 250 g chard, chopped coarsely
- 4 eggs
- 12 artichoke hearts, cut into strips
- 170 g stale bread, sliced in four
- 120 g pecorino cheese, grated
- 100 g onion, chopped small
- 30 ml olive oil
- 5 g black pepper
- 5 g salt
Pour the oil into a large pot over a gentle heat, add the onion, peas and broad beans, stir to embrace the oil, add the artichokes and chard. Pour in the water and add salt. Cook covered over a low heat for 90 minutes.
When all the vegetables are cooked, poach the eggs in the broth. Place a slice of bread in each bowl, put a poached egg on top, pour the soup and sprinkle with cheese. Season.
Dried fava beans are no substitute for the fresh beans, but you don’t have to visit the shores of the Mediterranean or arrive in Rome in the spring to appreciate this delicacy. Asian stores sell fresh fava beans and the dried beans are relatively easy to grow.
Tinned broad beans should be avoided. Cooked ham or pork are reliable options but the broad beans must be fresh.
The ratio of beans to bacon should be 2:1, beans to pork cheek 4:1. Some versions call for both bacon and pork.
- 1 kg fresh young beans, blanched in boiling water, chilled
- 250 g guanciale (cured pork cheek), sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 50 g olive oil
- Black Pepper
- Sea Salt
Fry the onion in the oil until it takes on colour at the edges. Add the pork, coating it in the oil and onion and fry gently for three minutes. Turn the heat down and carefully incorporate the beans. Some chefs like to remove the husks for a sweeter flavour from the beans but it is not necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to half cover the mixture. Check the tenderness of the beans after ten minutes. They are ready when they are soft to the bite.
Spain has an enduring love affair with this delightful combination and Fabada Asturiana is the most celebrated of all the traditional beans and pork dishes in the Mediterranean.
- 500 g dried broad beans, soaked overnight
- 250 g bacon, soaked overnight with ham bone
- 200 g ham bone
- 2 Asturian chorizo, whole, punctured
- 2 Asturian black sausages, whole, punctured
- Black Pepper
- Saffron, large pinch
- Salt, pinch
- Water, sufficient to cover bacon and ham
Fill a large saucepan with the soaking water from the bacon and ham, add the beans and bring to a fast boil.
Add the bacon, black sausages, chorizos and ham bone, and bring back to the boil. Remove any scum that floats to the surface, turn heat down to lowest setting, cover and simmer for two hours.
During this period remove two tablespoons of broth to a bowl containing the saffron, as much as you like. Once the broth has absorbed the flavour of the saffron return it to the saucepan. If the stew starts to become too thick add water.
When the beans are tender, taste the stew and season according to taste.
Remove the meat, cut into pieces, return to the saucepan and take off the heat. Leave for an hour to rest, then serve.