Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Serves 6

While this soup is not very nutritious, it is easy to make and sings out “Camino Francais”…

  • 6 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves (or more) – minced
  • 1 1/4 L water – boiling
  • 300gm thinly-cubed stale bread (6 slices)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 eggs – optional
  • Chopped parsley

In a soup pot heat the oil, and fry chopped garlic and bread cubes until lightly golden.

Then stir in the paprika and immediately pour boiling water and salt in the pot. Cover and simmer 20min.

At this stage the bread should almost dissolve in the broth.

Optional: Beat eggs together and gently pour and stir them into the hot soup. Let eggs cook until they have set, the soup will thicken.

Sprinkle some parsley in each soup plate when serving.

 Caldo Gallego

Tom Friesen

Serves 6

Stock:  either soup bones/meat or stock cubes

Note : Leave bones/ meat out if serving to vegetarians.

  • 1 large bunch turnip greens or kale, Swiss chard
  • 1 cup white beans (Lubias) sold in jars or cans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 med. potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 chorizos
  • Spices: garlic with red pepper, nutmeg, cumin perhaps a little sugar.

In a soup kettle (4L), place soup bones (or, use stock cubes). Cover with water and bring to a rapid boil then skim, and cook over moderate heat, about 1 hour.

Wash and chop greens and add to kettle with beans and cook, partly covered for ½ hour.

Sauté onion and garlic then add to soup.

Check stock and add more water and salt if necessary.  Add cubed potatoes and if using, chorizos. Stir once and cook for 45 min at low heat or until potatoes are done.

The longer this is cooked, the richer the taste becomes.

Potaje de Garbanzos y Espinacas – Chickpea and Spinach soup

Eneida Fernande-Sharif

  • 1 ¼ cups chickpeas
  • 2 onions – one whole, one chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 slices white bread
  • Pepper & sat

Day 1: Soak the chickpeas overnight in water.

Day 2: without chopping add one onion, the carrots and bay leaf to the soaking water, plus salt. Pour on enough water to cover all ingredients Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft. Meanwhile, wash the leaf spinach and sauté the other chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. Sprinkle on the paprika, add the spinach and cook for a short time.

Remove the bay leaf, onion and carrots from the chickpeas and mash the carrots and onion with the white bread. Combine this mash with the chickpeas and add the spinach mixture.

An alternate is to fry the bread with a garlic clove until golden brown. Then run it through a food processor or blender. Add a cup of the potaje liquid to the blender and when blended, add this mixture to the garbanzos and spinach. The soup should have only a little liquid. It’s meant to be a very hearty soup.


Continue to cook for 15 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Albondigas  (Meatballs)

Meatballs are best prepared in the morning, once the albergue is clean and quiet.


  • Ground beef and Ground pork (carne molida)
  • 1 onion – diced fine
  • Parsley – chopped
  • Old bread
  • Milk
  • Dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 29
  • Sofrito: Large can of whole tomatoes
  • Cloves of garlic – diced
  • Herbs

Prepare in advance:

In a bowl, mix equal amounts of ground pork and ground beef, lots of chopped parsley and finely diced onions. Take some old bread and soak it in milk for 10 min and then squeeze it out – the bread will make the meatballs light.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly with salt, pepper, dried herbs and let it rest in the fridge, covered – it gets better when the flavours are allowed to sit.

Before dinner:

One and a half hour before dinner to make meatballs and coat each one with flour.

Brown them in small batches in a large frying pan.

Make the sofrito.

Crush the tomatoes and fry them with garlic and herbs.

Once all the meatballs are fried, add them to the sofrito and let it all simmer together for 20 min.


This dish is usually served as a pie, but can be made into empanadillas for tapas., using 3” pastry rounds folded over to make a hand pie. The filling can be almost anything you want it to be.

The Empanada de Bonito is tuna fish with green pepper and onion. The Empanada de Lomo has the same green pepper and onion base but this time with pork loin and veal (3/4 lb of each).

It can also be made Canadian style with pimientos, onion, tomato and crab cakes. In Salamanca their specialty is pork loin, topped with Serrano ham, topped with chorizo. No sauce, no onions, just the meat.

Spices that can be added are saffron, pimiento dulce or picante (to taste), depending on whether it’s fish or meat. You can also make a spinach one. On the west coast we can make one salmon, smoked salmon sprinkled with a bit of candied salmon. No matter what you use for the filling, you’ll need about 4 cups.

You can find many recipes for the empanada pastry on the internet, however, frozen puff pastry is much easier to use.

Whatever filling you use, you roll out the pastry to 10” x15” and put the cool filling on top leaving at least an inch around the edge. Rolling out on parchment paper makes it easier to move it to the pan for baking. Roll the other half of the pastry about the same size and you can cut some of the edges off to use as decoration.

Put the rolled out pastry on top of the filling, and crimp the edges together to completely seal it into a rectangular pie. Make some slashes in the pastry for the air to escape and brush with an egg wash. Put into a preheated 350F oven for 20-30 minutes.

This can be eaten hot or cold.


Lentils – green or French (le Puy)

Lentils are an excellent substitute for meat or fish.

Here is an easy lentil dish, a sure hit with vegetarians.

Serves 2 – 3

  • 1 cup of lentils – rinsed
  • ½ onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1 large tomato – chopped
  • 1 L water
  • Thyme
  • Fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley or basil – chopped, sprinkled on when serving

Put everything in a small pan, simmer for 30 min.

Serve as a side dish or as a substitute for soup.

Drizzle lentils with olive oil and ladle it over rice, quinoa or pasta.

Or, enjoy it cold, served with feta cheese.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Garlic

Mary Virtue

This is a great meal in August, September and October when the tomatoes are ripe and plentiful – you may find villagers who would be happy to give you some.

This recipe is for 8-10 people and can be expanded to 40 with ease….just more chopping and more pasta.

  • 3 kilos tomatoes
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • Bunch of basil
  • Grated cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, Manchego …)
  • Olive oil
  • Pasta

Rough cut the tomatoes over a serving bowl and let the juices run.  Smash and mince the garlic cloves and add to tomatoes.  Add lots of pepper and some salt.  Liberally pour olive oil, mix it in and let tomatoes sit while bread is cut and pasta water is put on the boil.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour over the tomatoes.  Toss, add basil leaves (to taste) and serve with grated cheese and fresh bread.


There are two different schools for making paella: on top of the stove or in the oven. Most of us are familiar with the former, but if you’re really pushed, the last 20 minutes can be in the oven.

The nice thing about paella is that you can make one with chick, fish and seafood and a few veggies (peas, with asparagus as decoration) or you can make one with just fish or pescatarians or with just vegetables with chickpeas for vegetarians. The most important part is the proportion of rice to stock, 1:2. So a paella for 6 would require 2 ½ cups of rice and 5 cups of HOT stock.

The list of ingredients below is one that can be shifted and changed, but the saffron, onion and garlic must stay.

¼ tsp saffron threads (soften it In ½ cup of the hot stock)
2-4 garlic cloves,
1 large onion
1-2 leeks
2 ½ cups short grain rice like Arborio
5 cups hot stock (home made or store bought)
These are some of the seafood and vegetables that you can add:
1 lb. mussels, always a treat and cooked ahead and then used in the last half hour to decorate the top
1 or 2 large green or red pepper sliced
¼ lb beans cut in short lengths
Small can of tomatoes
½ lb shrimp
½ squid
10-20 scallops
1 lb white fish
Snow peas or frozen peas
Asparagus, lovely for decorating the top.

In 4 tablespoons of oil in a large (14”-16” paella pan or frying pan), heat and soften the chopped onions.
Cook all the fish. Set aside.
If you are using chicken, cook and cut into pieces. Set aside.
Now, add the garlic and the rice and stir the rice in the oil for 3-4 minutes, and sprinkle with a bit of paprika (pimiento dulce). Add the fish and chicken, add about 1-2 cups of the hot stock. Cook for another 3-4 minutes then add all of the vegetables, and stir in the mussels. Everything should now be in the pan, except the shrimp and squid, and you will stir the paella for the last time. Reduce the heat to minimum, add the remaining stock and occasionally shift the pan around. It is at this point that you can choose to put the paella in a 350F oven. After 15-20 minutes, whether it’s on the stove or in the oven, check the rice. If it’s cooked, it’s now time to add any shelled shrimp and squid and tuck the mussels all round. Turn off the heat (remove from oven) and cover the top – traditionally, it would be wrapped in layers of newspaper- and let it sit for 10 minutes to let the rice absorb all the liquid.

Serve with a red wine and a loaf of bread.


 Tarta de Santiago

Mary Virtue, with thanks to Brita from Vienna

  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3-4 cups ground almonds (450gms)
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar – for decoration

Beat the eggs and slowly add sugar until it is light coloured and thick.  Beat in other ingredients.

Pour into greased and floured 9” round cake pan – spring form is the best.

Bake at 300 F for about one hour min. just until the sides pull away from the pan.

Cool, remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered (icing) sugar.

Tip: Use a cardboard template of a cross so that the sugar falls everywhere except the cross.

 Tortilla Español

Every cook will have their favourite, but this is a standard from the Penelope Casas’ books.

1 cup olive oil (see note)
4 large yellow or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/8” slices
1 large onion, sliced
4-6 large eggs

Heat the oil in an 8-9” skillet. To make your life easier, use a non-stick variety. Add the potatl slices slowly to prevent sticking, alternating layers with onion slices and salt the layer lightly. Cook slowly, over a medium flame, lifting and turning the potatoes until they are tender but not brown. Remove the potatoes from the skillet using a slotted spoon. Drain them in a colander and reserved about 3 tablespoons of the oil.
Beat the eggs until they are slightly foamy and then slowly add the egg and potato mixture. Pour back into the same skillet in which you have heated, on high, about 2 tablespoons of the oil. As you add the egg mixture, lower the temperature to medium high and spread out evenly. As the egg cooks, work a spatula around the edges, allowing some of the liquid to fall underneath and helping the sides stand up a bit. When the mixture is brown on the bottom and not too liquidy on top, invert a plate on top and flip it…..very carefully. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and slide the tortilla back into the frying pan, wet slide down. Cook a little longer, depending on how ‘wet’ you like your eggs. As it is cooking, continue to try and get the edges to stand up. When done, either slide or flip onto a serving platter.
This can be served hot or at room temperature.
Note: If you really don’t like this much oil in your cooking, you can parboil the slice potatoes and cook them in 3-4 tablespoons of oil. Any leftover oil can be saved in a bottle in the fridge and used for other cooking.


Ideas for Tapas

Serrano or prosciutto ham wrapped asperagus.

Cut each piece of ham in half lengthwise and wrap around a piece of asperagus. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or so, or brown in a frying pan for 8-10 minutes, until cooked. If the aspergus spears are thick, you can boil them briefly so they are tender but not floppy.

Dates filled with brie or blue cheese. Fast and easy to make and always a hit.

Sliced cucumbers & tomatoes: a good one for vegetarians. Use the cucumber as the ‘bread’. Put a ½ tsp boursin cheese on top and lay half a cherry tomatoe on top of that.

Brie and walnut: Place some brie on a slice of bagette and top with a half walnut. Make sure that the brie has been out for a few hours and is nice and soft.

Sliced manchego and membrillo (quince paste/jelly). Very simple and tasty. Some people like the cheese on a piece of bread, but the bread is not necessary.

Smoked salmon, onion, capers on a slice of bread which has been spread with cream cheese or boursin.

Chorizo au Miel

3-4 chorizos 1 Tablespoon honey.

Cut the chorizos in 1 cm slices and heat in a saucepan on medium. When the oils start to be released, keep a close eye and make sure they don’t burn. After a couple of minutes, pour off some of the grease and add the honey. Coat the chorizo and heat the honey through. Pour onto a serving plate and supply toothpicks.