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Escudella (i Carn d’Olla)

The most traditional thing to serve on Christmas day, for lunch, is Escudella i Carn d’Olla.
A comforting experience in two acts.

I strain the broth with a cheesecoth

Refers to the soup part.
It’s a very rich broth which is cooked for hours.
All kinds of meat and vegetables are involved. No expense is spared!
The resulting broth, or soup, is strong in flavour and has a cloudy appearance.

Escudella is traditionally served first, with Galets.

Not without my galets!

Carn d’Olla:
This would be the second part. It literally means “the meat from the pot”.
All that good meat that went into the Escudella doesn’t go to waste! It’s served as a sort of second course.
Cuts of beef and pork and chicken legs are arranged in a big platter.
The meat from the chunk of ham can be served, too.
Other meaty bits, such as pig ear or trotter are discarded, just like the bones used for flavour.

In that same big platter, or perhaps in another one, some of the vegetables are also served.
Parsnips are often discarded (I think it’s a shame!), just like the celery.
Most people will have some potato, carrot and chickpeas served with the meat.

Certain ingredients are actually added to the pot on the last 30 minutes, such as the popular Pilota, potatoes and chickpeas.
By then, full flavour has been obtained. But this precaution means these particular few ingredients won’t be overcooked.
I guess we could call them the greatest hits of this whole generous mix.

So first you have your soup with pasta.
Then, you’re offered all the goodies and might be asked to choose.
“I’ll have pilota and some chicken. A few chickpeas and one potato, please!”

In my family, we drizzle it with some good olive oil.

Now. Is this big spread what I will be producing, for you to purchase?
No it’s not!

My version will be the one currently served in most restaurants: Escudella, Galets and Pilota!
All those overcooked bits of goodness don’t travel/keep well.
And, quite frankly, they won’t be terribly missed when you get the main flavours and textures in that one deep dish.
It’s perfect as a first course.

Serving suggestion. Not this year’s size of Galets.