This peasant dish from the Andalusian area of Las Alpujarras is the perfect example of how scarcity feeds creativity to create delicious recipes that survive the test of time. It also reminds us of Moroccan couscous and how the two cultures –Arab and Christian– lived here a peaceful life together through centuries of fruitful cultural exchange.
Catalan poet Josep Plá used to say that the cuisine of a region is that region’s landscape inside a cooking pot. Not only this is a beautiful statement but one we couldn’t agree more with. Assuming that Josep Plá is right, then the migas alpujarreñas are the perfect culinary description of Las Alpujarras landscape: rough but beautiful, simple yet intense.
We love old peasant recipes because they are usually the perfect outcome of creativity put at the service of necessity. It is when communities suffer from scarcity, when they only have access to some few basic ingredients, that the best possible dishes come up.
So here is to these ‘migas alpujarreñas’. In our view, a highly creative way to create something superior out of combining some of the most basic local ingredients: oil, water and hard wheat flour. A superb recipe that has resisted the test of time in the southern Spanish provinces of Granada, Almería and Murcia, where it is still an all-time favourite now that locals have fortunately moved on from the more difficult past times.
We are using chorizo to make our migas alpujarreñas although this is a recipe that admits many different ingredients, from fried fish to bacon, black pudding or even veggie-only variations. The only rule to respect is to make the ‘migas’ with hard wheat flour as opposed to bread, which is the standard in the rest of Spain to create a very similar dish also called ‘migas’ (Spanish for breadcrumbs). So please get creative and add whatever you like or have to hand. We’re pretty sure you’ll love this dish! Vamos!
- 400 gr Hard wheat flour – approx. 4 glasses
- 800 ml Water – approx. 4 glasses
- 16 cloves Garlic – halved and unpeeled
- 125 ml Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Italian green peppers – cut in medium-size stripes
- 300 gr Cooking chorizo – cut in 2cm-thick slices
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pan over a medium temperature, halve the garlic cloves and fry them unpeeled until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them or the final taste might turn slightly bitter. Remove the garlic from the pan and reserve aside.
- Cut the chorizo in 2cm-thick slices and add it to the pan. Fry them for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown and again, remove from the pan and reserve aside.
- Chop the green pepper in medium-size stripes and add it to the pan to poach it until soft. Remove from the pan and reserve aside.
- Add a couple of spoons of flour into the oil and stir vigorously. We do this so that when we add the water, it doesn’t spill when in contact with the oil.
- Pour the water into the pan, season with salt and bring to a boil. When it boils, start adding the flour, little by little whilst we keep stirring constantly. Turn the heat down to low and keep stirring for around 10 minutes or until the crumbs are done.
- Bring the garlic, the chorizo and the green pepper back to the pan and mix everything thoroughly. Leave it to rest for 2 minutes and serve immediately.
For a vegetarian option just omit the chorizo! We love a veggie version of this dish using pumpkin instead of meat!