Spanish food  -  Castile - Leon Food
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Spanish food  -  Castile - Leon Food

Spanish food - Castile Leon

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The same as in Andalusia, the cuisine from Castile-León covers a considerable area, but it differs from Andalusia in that it is more uniform in its fare and recipes, with the exception of two areas: León and Salamanca. The rest of the provinces in the area (Burgos, Soria, Avila, Segovia, Zamora, Valladolid and Palencia) fit perfectly into the picture of the art of cooking that we are going to describe, an area which comes under the heading of the Land of Roasts.


One of the primary ingredients in Castilian cuisine is the chickpea because, though it may seem rather commonplace, it is the element which has presided over the food in this area for centuries, especially if we keep to the popular everyday fare of the people. The fact is that this dried vegetable which was brought to Spain by the Carthaginians is the main ingredient of all the Castilian stews. Until fairly recently, it was the daily fare of all Spanish homes. It was always prepared with cabbage, and, depending on one's financial possibilities, with mocilla, chorizo and meat. After the chickpea, other vegetables are important in the Castilian cookery book, among them large white beans (alubias) and lentils, which are prepared with chorizo, ox tail or pig's ear anywhere in the area and are of excellent quality like the chickpea.


Bread is the symbol of Castile, "the land of bread", and it is tastier there than anywhere else in Spain, though it has lost a great deal of importance as staple food. This, on the other hand, is not the case of wine. Castile and León have plenty of magnificent quality wines (Rueda, Cigales and Cebreros): whites, rosés and reds which are excellent and famous.

Castillian Lamb

However, there is one dish which stands out from everything else in the cuisine and fare of Castile-León, at least from the tourist point of view: the typical roast suckling pig and lamb. Castilian lamb is always roasted in a clay dish and does not require any skill other than spreading lard on it, sprinkling salted water over the skin and roasting it until it is just right. El cochinillo is almost a new-born pig. To comply with specifications, it must be between fifteen and twenty days old and weigh between three and four kilos. It should be roasted in an oven with thyme and must be tender enough to permit a nimble and spectacular act, ie the cook must be able to knock the meat into portions with the edge of a plate!


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Although Castile is far from the sea, it has some excellent fish dishes. One of them has become popular throughout the entire country: bacalao al ajo arriero (a cod and garlic dish) named after the León mule drivers (arrieros) who took this dish to Extremadura, Andalusia, Navarre, the North and La Mancha. In addition to cod, Castile-León has some splendid trout dishes. The species abounds in its rivers the same as river crab, another exquisite dish, especially when it is served with a very tasty red sauce. The best are said to come from the Tormes river. But it is on the Pisuerga where a festival is held every year in honour of the river crab, sadly however due to ver fishing the species is currently under serious threat of extinction.

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Ajo Blanco (White Garlic Soup)
Spanish recipes Ajo Blanco (White Garlic Soup)
Spanish food recipes  Ajo Blanco (White Garlic Soup)
Spanish food - Ajo Blanco (White Garlic Soup)