Another magnificent dish from our friend Digna Prieto, a veritable ball of energy despite her advanced years. This, she tells me, is an old village recipe from Galicia, and it filled my kitchen with the wonderful aromas that greet you at lunchtime in little villages all over Spain. The additions of saffron and cumin give the stew a haunting flavor. A green salad is all you need to complete this meal.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pork spareribs or baby back ribs, hacked into 2-inch pieces, fat trimmed
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- One 3- to 3½-pound chicken
- About ¼ pound pancetta, cut into ¾-inch slices, then into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- ½ pound small new potatoes, about 2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut in halves
- ½ cup fresh or frozen peas
- ¼ teaspoon cumin, preferably freshly ground
- 1/8 teaspoon crumbled thread saffron
In a shallow casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and saute the pork ribs until browned, sprinkling with salt and pepper as they cook. Stir in the broth and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 hour (this can be done in advance). Meanwhile, cut the chicken into small serving pieces. Detach the wings and legs, hack off the bony ends of the legs, cut off and discard the wing tips, and divide each wing into 2 parts. With kitchen shears, divide the breast and each thigh into 4 pieces. Sprinkle with salt and let sit at room temperature.
Remove the ribs to a warm platter and measure the broth to 1½ cups, adding water if there is less. Skim off the fat that rises to the surface. Reserve the ribs and broth and wipe out the casserole. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the casserole and brown the chicken and pancetta, turning once. Add the carrot, garlic, onion, and parsley and saute until the vegetables are softened.
Add the reserved ribs and broth and the potatoes to the casserole. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in the peas, cumin, saffron, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes more. Serve.
This recipe serves 6, and includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.