Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Salt cod and potato stew

This dish is perfect when the day is really cold. The salted cod gives it a lovely taste.

Ingredients:Potatoes, approx two medium to large ones per person, cut in chunks
1/2 Leeks cut in chunks
50 to 100 grams of salted cod pieces
1tbsp Olive oil
No need to be too precious with the proportions, it will be as good if you add more or less of any of the ingredients.

Salted cod is widely used in Spain and Portugal. The best way to know if it's fresh is to look at the colour. It should be quite white. When it starts to go a bit yellow, you never know how long it's been in the shop, so best to leave it as it will be a bit rancid.
In London you can find it at Garcia and Sons on Portobello Road or in any of the Portuguese shops around Vauxhall.

Instructions:The cod needs to be desalted before you use it. Put the small flakes in a bowl with plenty of water, leave for 5/10 minutes, then change the water and repeat two or three times. This should remove most of the salt.

Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat at high temperature until it starts to smoke.
Add the leek pieces and stir until lightly brown.
Then add the potato chunks and stir until they are coated in the oil and are slightly brown.
Now it's time to add water. This is always an approximate amount, try to cover the ingredients plus one/two inches. You can always add more during cooking if it looks too dry (if you add any extra water, remember to turn the heat up until boiling and turn back down again).

Now turn the heat down to the lowest setting and leave to cook, covered with a lid.
You can add the desalted cod flakes now, or if you'd like to desalt them a bit more, they can also be added 10/15 mins into the cooking time.
The potatoes need to cook now slowly, probably for 45 mins (I never time it, oops!).
Best thing to do is to check the potatoes every now and then, when you can break a piece with a wooden spoon easily, they are done.

If you don't like fish much, you can make this recipe without it, just remember to add salt. It's also very good substituting the cod with pork ribs.

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