Tucked into the Pyrenees Mountains that separate France and Spain, lies the wonderful region of Spain known as The Basque Country. One of Spain’s 17 Autonomous Communities, The Spanish Basque Country is bordered by Cantabria and the Burgos province to the West, by France and Navarre to the east, the Bay of Biscay to the north, and to the south by La Rioja. The largest city in the Basque region is Bilbao, another city is San Sebastian. A very mountainous region, The Basque country is not only surrounded by the Pyrenees but also by the Basque and Cantabrian Mountains. Here is a picture of San Sebastian or Donostia as it’s known in the Basque language. *see note below
The Basque people are well known for their cuisine, especially their seafood as it is surrounded on one side by the Bay of Biscay (Cantabrian Sea). As they are so well known for their wonderful cuisine, there are many Michelin-starred restaurants in the area. Grilling over hot coals is very popular in Basque cuisine. The Basques also take on the French way of cooking as they use a lot of butter and cream which is really unheard of in Spanish cooking, as the Spaniards are known for their wonderful olive oils. The Basques are known for something called Tapas Crawls, very similar to our Pub Crawls! They have a special Tapas called Pincho which is Tapas on a Stick! Food on sticks are so much fun! The official languages of the Basque region are Spanish, French, and Basque (Euskara). The Basque language is spoken by 27% of the people in the region. Many of the words in Basque start with “TX” which is pronounced like “Ch”, i.e. a special type of wine glass known as Txiquito, pronounced chiquito. Even though the Spanish Basque Country is surrounded by countries that speak Romance languages, Basque is a language like no other or something called a “language isolate”. I did a lot of research on the food and the Basque region. Today I will be sharing a Basque soup recipe called Porrusalda which literally translates to “leek broth” in Basque, as leeks are the main ingredient. Other main ingredients are potatoes and carrots which is how I will be making it. Some people even put in pumpkin which I think would be an excellent addition to this already wonderful delicious soup. To see how I made my Porrusalda, please keep reading!
|The Spanish Basque Country|| |
- 3 large leeks, sliced in ½ inch rounds (white and light green parts only)
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds
- 5 – 6 medium red or white potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1-2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Wash the leeks really well as they are filled with dirt and sand.
- In a large nonstick Dutch oven over medium low heat add the olive oil and butter and sauté the leeks for about 10-15 minutes, until really soft, stirring occasionally. Add in salt and pepper, to taste. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In another pot add the carrots and potatoes and cover with the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, add in the leeks and stir to combine.
- Remove about half of the soup and add to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the mixture back into the soup and stir. Garnish with parsley and serve. Enjoy!
*Note: The photograph of San Sebastian is from Wikipedia and is public domain.