Eating The Tour De France Stage 7: Barcelona – Andorra Arcalis. Escudella
After the relatively flat opening stages of this years tour, Stage 7 sees the riders take to the mountains. This year an early entrance into the mountains means the riders will be taking on a Level 1 mountain pass and one of the highest finishes in the races history. At 2,200m the finale in Andorra is sure to separate the ‘homme’ from the ‘garcon’ and it will take a bold and sturdy climber to break away from the pack and seize the day in Arcalis.
The tiny country of Andorra is located in the middle of the Pyrenees between Spain and France. It is one of the most mountainous areas in Europe, its one of the smallest countries and their national football team are the regular whipping boys of world cup qualification.
Like many mountainous countries, Angoras cuisine is simple and hearty. Suited to replenishing your hunger after a hard day working your flock on the steep slopes and one of the countries most traditional peasant dishes is Escudella.
Escudella means bowl, and in Andorra it is also the name of a big stew. In the Middle Ages, the escudella was a family affair this recipe was likely to have been eaten from one bowl as many would have been too poor to have individual bowls. Made with bones and feet, whose gelatin give a bovine unctuousness to the dish the vegetables, such as cabbage and turnips, that are common in the mountains and hills, provide plenty of nutrition.
Escudella is the perfect meal after a hard day of work in the mountains and if I was a race director I would make sure my team sat down round a deep bowl and replenished themselves, ready for Stage 8.
- 1/2cup Dry white beans
- 1sm Ham bone
- 1 x small beef bone with plenty of marrow
- 1/4 x Chicken
- 6 pork sausage cut into chunks
- 2 thick slices of cured ham cut into thin slices,
- 8 cups of cold water
- 1/2 head cabbage cut in chunks
- 1 lrg potato cut in eighths
- 1/4 cup of raw rice
- 1 tin of chick-peas
- 1 tsp salt/pepper to taste
- sprig of thyme
- a sprig of rosemary
1. Rinse the beans in cold water and tie the bones in cheesecloth.
2. Put both with the chicken, sausage, and ham in a pot or casserole with 8 cups of cold water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and cook gently, covered for about 2 hours or until beans are cooked and chicken is very tender.
3. Remove all the bones and discard them. Put chicken aside. Add a cup of water to the stock if needed for the cooking of the remaining ingredients and bring soup to a rapid boil.
4. When it is boiling, put in cabbage, potatoes, rice, chick-peas, herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking over medium flame for 30 minutes (
5. A few minutes before serving, put chicken meat, removed from bones and shredded, in the pot to heat and serve with plenty of crusty bread and red wine.