Migas “El Poli”

Migas, a typical Spanish dish whose literal translation means breadcrumbs, yet is so much more. Many countries have dishes that use up stale bread, as once upon a time nothing was ever thrown away….. it is rather a shame that we now throw away vast quantities of foodstuffs without a second thought!

Many moons ago I used to cycle every Sunday with a local group. We tended to cycle around 50 miles along mountain tracks, stopping half way to have a mid-morning snack. We chose the bar more on its board of fare and wines than anything else, in fact we often chose the bar and then worked out a route to get there and back! We thought nothing of spending an hour to an hour and a half in the bar as we refuelled for the way back.

Apart from the cyclists, we often had our support team in attendance at the bar, giving us support as we struggled through our eggs, sausage, chips, fried green peppers etc. One of those that was most in attendance was “El Poli”, a great guy, a great cook and someone who really enjoyed his food. He taught me this recipe and this post is dedicated to him as, unfortunately, he is no longer with us…… He liked his food rather too well and was somewhat rotund. He decided that a stomach reduction operation was his only option, but he never made it out of the hospital. I guess at a time when operations are becoming more and more common, operations that can be for purely cosmetic reasons, it is worth remembering that there is a risk involved. As an engineer I was always taught that “if it works don’t touch it”!

The support team would enjoy a late breakfast with us or provide it on those occasions when the route in question did not go near any villages and bars. They would often set up a barbecue for us or indeed cook a rancho or migas.

So what are migas? Well, basically breadcrumbs with a little onion, garlic and local sausages. The breadcrumbs get their flavour by soaking up the fats from the meats. Just trust me for now, properly done they are delicious. This dish might go against the modern trend of fat free foods, with lean meats that taste like cardboard unless they come with a sauce. I am convinced however that we would all be better off eating a little of what we like, rather than being straightjacketed by modern doctrine.

This for example is a dish I eat a couple of times a year and normally only at this time of year. You see it is normally served with either a fried egg on top or with Grenache grapes. I like it with grapes and it is the grape harvest here now. Apart from only eating the meal a couple of times a year, I also collect the grapes from the hillside so I get some exercise too. Although the financial crisis has meant as increase in land usage here, the topmost fields have been left to run wild and I take advantage of this and pick the grapes from there.

I have two recipes for you today for making migas, a quick version and the traditional one. As I suspect you will prefer the quick version I will start with that!

Quick Migas


Serves 4:

Migas

Migas

Ingredients:

250g Fresh breadcrumbs

4 Garlic cloves

1 Onion

3 Cooking chorizos

100g Streaky bacon

Olive oil

Lard


Method:

There are two general types of chorizos. One is a harder, cured version, often eaten “raw” and the other is a softer version, more like a normal sausage, that is normally cooked before eating. This recipe requires the softer version. Each chorizo is about the same size as a normal sausage.

I make the breadcrumbs by first roughly slicing a French stick then chopping up in a food processor. The breadcrumbs should be processed until they are about pea sized. See photograph to get a better idea.

How to process the breadcrumbs

How to process the breadcrumbs

The only difficulty in this recipe is getting the right amount of fats and this depends upon the type of bread used and just how dry it is. The breadcrumbs need to be well coated at the end, but not soggy……

Chop the garlic, onion, chorizos and bacon then fry until done in several spoonfuls of lard and a generous dash of olive oil. Olive oil can be used on its own for a lighter version.

When browned slightly stir in the breadcrumbs to coat.

Serve immediately with a scattering of grapes on top or a fried egg.


The quick version can be served as a starter or indeed a main course. It is also a good dish for your next candle-lit supper. Firstly the dish can be pre-prepared right up to the addition of the breadcrumb. Just heat the fried meats and the breadcrumbs added right before the meal. A small amount served in individual  earthenware dishes make an unusual way to start a meal.

And so on to the traditional way of making migas;


Traditional Migas

Serves 6:

Ingredients:

1 Large French stick a couple of days old

200ml Milk

1 Large onion, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

125g Entresijos

⅓ Loop of cooking chorizo

⅓ Loop of cooking longaniza


Method:

Migas

Migas

As above, this recipe requires the softer type of chorizo and also in this case longaniza. A third of a loop is about two normal sausage lenghts. Again the only difficulty is getting the amount of oil right so that the breadcrumbs are moist but not soggy.

So just what are entresijos? Had to look this one up and the English translation is mesentery. Before you go running for the dictionary and/or the butchers, this ingredient is not essential and many people do not use it. It is just to add a bit more fat into the mix, you could substitute with some streaky bacon or fatty belly pork or indeed just omit.

Slice the bread as fine as possible. If the slices break, all the better. Pour over the milk and turn occasionally so that the bread becomes moist. Depending upon just how dry the bread is you may need more, or indeed less milk.

Finely slice the entresijos and chop the chorizo and longaniza.

Fry the entresijos in a good quantity of oil until almost crisp. Fry the onion and garlic until almost done, then gently fry the chorizo and longaniza.

Add in the bread-crumbs and fry turning often until cooked but still moist.

Serve immediately with a scattering of grapes on top or a fried egg.

This dish can be made without issues on a standard hob, but it does taste so much better the traditional way over an open fire.


So there you have it, two ways to make the traditional migas dish. I hope you give it a try and please let me know how you get on. Any questions, please just use the comments section and I will get back to you.


2015 Lincoln W. Betteridge

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3 thoughts on “Migas “El Poli”

  1. Pingback: Migas “El Poli” | Other Man's Flavours

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