The Food of Spain

by Claudia Roden

The Food of Spain

Hardcover, 609 pages, HarperCollins, List Price: $45 | purchase

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Book Summary

Presents hundreds of recipes from the different regions of Spain, from Andalusia to Galicia, and provides a guide to the peoples and cultures that develop the different cuisines.

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I am going to go out on a limb and say that Claudia Roden could do for Spanish food what Julia Child did for French food or Diana Kennedy did for Mexican food. Exhaustive without being exhausting, The Food of Spain offers up historical insights into each of the wildly diverse cooking regions of Spain in a series of introductory essays. But the recipes are the real prize here. They're thick with saffron and tomatoes, crowned with almonds and garlic and ordinary parsley. Roden is

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Recipe: 'Baked Rice With Currants And Chickpeas'

'Baked Rice with Currants and Chickpeas'
Ecco

Arroz al Horno con Pasas y Garbanzos-Valencia

In their splendid The Heritage of Spanish Cooking, Alicia Ríos and Lourdes March say that in the Valencian mountain interior, rice dishes are based on the broth of a cocido — a dish of boiled meats. The recipe is adapted from one in their book. In Spain today you can buy good cocido broth, but here, use beef or chicken stock. Use a cazuela or a large shallow casserole that will go both on the stove and in the oven. If you do not have one, start the dish in a deep saucepan, then transfer it to a baking dish. A head of garlic (Valencians call it a "partridge") is placed in the center. Serve it with meatballs or with fried pork ribs and sausages or blood sausages.

Serves 8

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked

Salt

5 tablespoons olive oil

A head of garlic, not peeled

1 cup dried currants or raisins, soaked in water for 20 minutes and drained

1 large tomato, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon pimenton dulce (or sweet paprika)

5 cups meat or chicken stock (or 5 cups water plus 1 1/2 to 2 bouillon cubes)

2 1/2 cups medium-grain Spanish paella rice or risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli

Drain the chickpeas, put them in a saucepan with fresh water to cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until they are soft; add some salt once they have begun to soften. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large cazuela or casserole that goes in the oven. Add the garlic and half the currants or raisins and stir over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato and pimenton (or paprika) and stir well, then add the chickpeas, stock, and some salt. Bring to a boil, add the rice, and stir well.

Place the head of garlic in the center of the rice and sprinkle the remaining currants or raisins over the top. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

When serving, give everyone a garlic clove for them to squeeze out the soft inside.

Note: If you do not have a large casserole or a cazuela, start the cooking in a large saucepan and just bring to a boil, then pour everything into a large round baking dish, about 14 inches in diameter. Put the garlic head in the center and bake as above.

From Food of Spain by Claudia Roden. Copyright 2011 by Claudia Roden. Reprinted by permission of Ecco.

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