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Olla Gitana – Spanish Gypsy Stew

2022-09-13
  • Servings: 4 or 5

This Spanish Gypsy stew is one of Spain’s most iconic dishes. It’s loaded with flavours and easy to make.

It is said that this autumnal and hearty stew originated with the Romany travellers
who arrived in Spain in the 1450s, settling mostly in Andalusia, Southern Spain.
It was a stew for days when there was little meat for the pot, thus a
vegetarian dish more by default than by choice.

Nowadays, each Spanish family has its own version and some incorporate meat.

NB: freshly cooked legumes are tastier but you can use canned chickpeas and beans if you prefer, but make sure to drain and rinse them before use.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup of cooked white beans
  • 1 cup of frozen green beans
  • 1 cup of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 conference pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 25g of toasted almonds
  • 25g of croûtons
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • Herbs & spices: 2 bay leaves, pinch of saffron, 1 tbsp of pimenton de la Vera (Spanish paprika), black pepper & salt to taste
  • 3 or 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • Few sprigs of fresh mint

Method

Step 1

Soak the chickpeas and beans overnight with 1 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda. Next day, rinse them then boil them in water until cooked. If you are using canned legumes, just rinse them. After draining, place the chickpeas and beans in a large pot. In Spain they use a casserole called Olla.

Step 2

In the same pot, add the green beans, squash, carrot, pears, bay leaves and stock. Season with salt & pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until everything is tender. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until soft and golden.

Step 3

Meanwhile pound garlic, bread croutons, almonds, saffron and a pinch of salt in a mortar until well combined. Stir in a ladle of stock from the bean pot. Add the tomatoes to the onions and fry over a medium heat for few more minutes. Stir in the Spanish paprika and cook further for 1 minute. Add the onions and tomatoes to the bean pot, cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the contents of the mortar. Simmer a little longer then check the seasonings. Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped mint.

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