Puchero in Pedreguer!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

There is no grand plan for today and we just may decide to kick back and take life easy.  That is always a possibility and rarely a reality.  We shall see.

Yesterday we were invited to have lunch with Pepe’s family in Pedreguer.  Since Sara was coming by at 12:30 to pick us up there were a couple of things that we needed to do beforehand.  Susan left the house first in search of a little gift that we could bring along and in her exploration of the shops on the Gran Vía she found a bombonería and she had solved the problem of what to bring.  I left soon after she returned in search of a printer cable that I needed to set up the printer before I switched it over to Wi-Fi.  The little computer repair store around the corner had one and for 2 Euros I bought what I needed.  When I got back home I went through all the steps of setting up the printer and after two tries I was able to connect it to the router and now the printer is networked and functioning.

Sara came by a little after 12:30 and we began our journey to Pedreguer.  It takes about and hour and fifteen minutes to get there and as we approached the expressway that would take us there we could see that traffic in the other direction was backed up for several miles.  All the after-Christmas sales happen here in Spain the day after Epiphany and people were flooding into the city in search of bargains.  We were glad to be heading in the other direction.  We chatted about a variety of topics as we drove and before we knew it we were approaching the house.

We entered and greeted Pepe’s mother and we took a seat at the table that was set for fourteen.  People started arriving about ten minutes after our arrival and when we had all settled in at the table there were thirteen of us – Paquita, Pepe’s mother, Pepe, Sara, Pepe’s brother, Jaime, and his wife and daughter, María, Pepe’s sister, her husband, Antonio, and their two daughters, Jaime, Pepe’s son, Susan and I.  The menu for the day was a puchero, a hearty meat and vegetable stew that will fill you up and keep you going on a clod winter’s day.  Since the temperature was in the high 60’s we didn’t need to be warmed up, but we sure got filled up.

The meal begins with the broth from the stew and the rice that has been cooked in the broth after it has been separated from the ingredients.  Next comes a plate heaped high with vegetables such as garbanzo beans, thistles and cabbage, potatoes, and a pelota. A pelota is essentially a very large meatball that has been wrapped in a cabbage leaf and cooked.  It is not to be confused with stuffed cabbage because its size and taste are nothing like stuffed cabbage.  Next comes the meat platter that has ham, chicken, lamb and veal.  The final step in eating a puchero is when you eat the boniato accompanied by a glass of red wine.  Boniato belongs to the sweet potato family and is lighter in color than the ones I am used to seeing and it is not as sweet.  As if we were not sufficiently stuffed out came the plates of turrón and, of course, a birthday cake.  It was an ice cream cake with layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

I have been visiting with Pepe’s family for close to fifteen years now and, not surprisingly, I am amazed at how grown up the little ones have become.  Many stories were told at the table about Pepe and his brother.  My favorite was how he and his brother would mutilate any doll that their sister received as a present.  Dolls were hung by the neck, set on fire, pulled apart, mutilated and subjected to other indignities.  Pepe’s mother was quick to add that the boys were mischievous, but they weren’t bad boys.  Given the adults they have become she is and was spot on.

A nap was in order after that meal so we all retired upstairs to the television room and while Pepe and I took a short nap Susan leafed through some magazines.  Sara had stretched out on one of the beds in the upstairs bedrooms and settled in for a longer nap.  When we were all awake we enjoyed a cup of coffee and watched María making preparations for a dinner party she was giving that night.  We left soon thereafter and it was 7:30 when we passed through the outskirts of the city.  We spent our evening working on the computer, giving our new printer a good workout and watching a bit of TV.  It was yet another lovely day here in Valencia.

Puchero in progress

Puchero Pot 2

Jaime

Paquita

Paquita 2

Puchero broth with rice

Part of the family

Garbanzos, pencas and other goodies

Pelota y patatas

Los Monfort

Monforts and Kaplans

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