At WabiHost we do not want you to get cold during your stay in Spain. That’s why we would like you to learn about the best dishes of this beautiful land to warm you up and fully enjoy your trip. This is our selection of the best Spanish dishes to enjoy in winter.
It’s winter in Spain. Our ancestors used to rely on filling, caloric and carbohydrate-rich dishes to give them energy and heat. Today most of us who live in large cities and have a more comfortable lifestyle and do not need so many calories. However, we cannot deny that these traditional dishes give warmth to all homes in Spain and are absolutely delicious. We are talking about those intense Iberian flavours like the “pimentón de la Vera” (a kind of paprika) absorbed by rich potatoes, a good crusty bread, a delicious rice from L’Albufera or even noodles.
In Spain there are certain elements that can never miss in a good winter dish. A good “sofrito” for example, onions and peppers fried in good old olive oil, is the basis for a good rice or some other stews. I also make the fabada, traditional dish from Asturias, with a good sofrito base and it is spectacular. Even for my boyfriend who hates what we usually refer to as “pot dishes”.
Since we are talking about fabada, we should mention other very common elements in these winter dishes: sausages, chorizo and black pudding. Pigs are wonderful in Spain! Bacon, a good bone of ham, the trotters and the ears for those who like the gelatinous textures…
But there is an ingredient that new generations are neglecting and is essential for a good Mediterranean diet: legumes. White, red or black beans, lentils of all sizes, chickpeas, etc. These are the stars in our stews so do not leave them aside! For all those who care about watching the line (I do not, I already have a boyfriend), know that legumes are a wonderful source of protein, carbohydrates and key nutrients to recover from physical activity and eat without guilt.
Let’s take a look at these fantastic dishes that, in their right amount, are healthy, traditional, economical and delicious.
“Cocidos” (stews) from Spain
Some examples of Spanish dishes to stay warm are the famous stews that we call cocidos. There are so many of them everywhere but the most famous and distinctive are the cocido madrileño that is eaten in three “turns” (vuelcos in Spanish) or steps. The soup with noodles first, the chickpeas and the vegetables and finally the meats. Unlike its counterpart from Leon, where you eat the meat first, then the chickpeas and finally the broth to which you may add noodles. The cocido montañés is typical of Cantabria and is eaten in just one “vuelco” but has beans instead of chickpeas. A Catalan version of course has butifarra, a typical sausage from this region and a particular type of noodles. The Andalusian stew has a paste of garlic, paprika and vinegar that makes it unique. But the one that steals all the medals to the most filling of all is that from Extremadura where they put little (or no) vegetables and is rich in potato and pork. Your body will shout “SIESTA!” after this one.
If you want to try traditional cuisine without leaving your entire wallet on the table, I suggest Taberna Mariano in Las Letras neighbourhood.
Other cocidos perhaps less famous are the cocido de pelotas that is made in Valencia and the so-called “rotten pot” (Olla podrida in Spanish) The latter is a recipe that harks back to the Middle Ages. It consists of red beans cooked for a long time with rice blood sausage (from Burgos), chorizo and pork meats. This dish was the basis for many other dishes that would later be developed in Latin America, such as sancocho, ajiaco and puchero.
Many visitors ask me where to eat good Valencian food so for those who ask, here is my suggestion: AlliOli in the area of Embajadores.
We already mentioned the famous Asturian fabada made with white beans, sausage, blood sausage and bacon and as the name suggests is traditional from Asturias. But there are also some less known recipes in Castilla-La Mancha as Tojunto made with meat and vegetables and Carcamusa which is another stew but where pork is the star.
To taste the true flavour of this great community, visit the restaurant El Tormo in the lively area of La Latina, Madrid.
Now, I would dare to say that the vast majority of visitors who come to Spain do not even know that there are such delights. Nor are there few restaurants that offer such typical dishes on their menu – except for the ones we mentioned. A real pity because they are relatively easy to prepare and with little knowledge but great love, they can be cooked in almost every country in the world.
WabiHost can help you get the best family recipes. Book with us to feel the true flavour of Spain.
Other dishes “con condimento” (“with seasoning”)
I heard this term from one of my boyfriend’s wonderful aunts and now I like to use it myself. It refers to more dishes rich in calories and flavour to fight the cold. And since we were in Castilla-La Mancha I want to mention a unique and super easy dish that is traditionally made in winter in this region: The atascaburras or ajoarriero, a kind of mashed potatoes cooked with cod and seasoned with a healthy amount of garlic, olive oil and walnuts. Sometimes accompanied with hard-boiled eggs – again just in case you’re hungry…
Nuts are a typical winter food so use them! In many parts of Spain they make desserts with almonds and nuts, such as polvorones, turrón or Tarta de Santiago from Galicia. By the way, why not having a go at the famous Chestnut soup from this region and comfort your body after a cold rainy day?
To try some Galician dishes of family tradition, we suggest O’Pulpo in the heart of the city.
The migas (literally “breadcrumbs”) are popular throughout the Spanish territory and eaten mainly in winter. Well, in Almería people eat them mainly when it rains but these “crumbs” deserve a mention apart since unlike the others that are made with bread, the Almerian version are made with semolina wheat. This may be an influence from the other side of the strait. The point is that the migas, with chorizo, garlic and peppers as I ate them in Aragon, are the best thing for an icy day by the fire.
These are flavours as Spanish as the Valencian paella, the ham of acorn and the potatoe omelet, it’s just that they are jealously guarded in the heart of the houses of all Spain. Despite not being easy to unveil, I would like to invite the occasional visitor to discover them, taste them, warm their hands on the edges of their bowls and learn from their ingredients that however humble, are rich in flavour, tradition and of course, seasoning.
The next time you visit Madrid do not hesitate to write to us. We can help you to get to know this delicious cuisine in the most friendly atmosphere.