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There is less than a week to go to Christmas, a holiday never complete for Catalans without a good escudella and carn d'olla.

As such, we're continuing our month of typical Catalan Christmas recipes with this most traditional dish offered by chef Oscar Manresa. In the video, we also accompany Oscar to Barcelona's famous Boqueria market for him to show us the best fresh produce to make a perfect escudella and carn d'olla.

Escudella is a type of typical Catalan broth. It comes from boiling mixed meat (carn d'olla) with a variety of legumes and root vegetables, like chickpeas, potato, cabbage, onion or leek, celery and carrots.

Salt can be added to taste, but is often not needed given that enough can come from the other ingredients. As any traditional dish, there is no absolutely set recipe, each town, family or individual having their own variation. For Christmas, it is often cooked alongside sopa de galets, a soup with large pasta shells, sometimes filled with small meatballs.

The carn d'olla, meanwhile, can include black butifarra (a Catalan sausage akin to black pudding), white butifarra, large meatballs, lean beef, a bit of lamb, a chicken breast, a bit of pig's snout or eat and bacon.

Ingredients for 4

1/2 chicken
1/2 hen
500g/17.5oz unsmoked bacon or ham (cansalada)
500g/17.5oz beef shank
2 ham bones
2 vertebrae
2 large meatballs
1/2 cabbage
2 carrots
1/2 celery
1 parsnip
300g/10.5oz chickpeas
3 potatoes
500g/17.5oz pasta

Recipe:

  1. Peel the potatoes, carrots, etc
  2. Place all the the meat and vegetables (but not the meatballs, chickpeas or pasta) in a very large saucepan
  3. Add enough water to well cover the meat and vegetables
  4. Bring the saucepan to the boil and leave it simmering for at least 4 hours
  5. Remove everything from the liquid and keep it on one side
  6. Add the chickpeas to the still boiling liquid
  7. Add the meatballs
  8. Once they are cooked, remove them and add the pasta

Once the pasta is ready, Oscar recommends serving each person the escudella (the broth and pasta) in one bowl, and the carn d'olla (the meat, vegetables, chickpeas, etc) on a separate plate, sliced and portioned out.

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