Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shepherd's Style Crumbs (Migas al Pastor)

"Migas al pastor" is one of those rustic dishes, like garlic soup, that started as a hearty breakfast for shepherds and migrants. It consists of bread from previous days, bacon, chorizo and garlic. Today it has evolved into a fashionable first course in many restaurants. It is typical of Aragon, Teruel,  Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Andalucia - areas of Spain where the herd of merino sheep was moved from one region to another depending on the season. The shepherds would carry with them chorizo, bacon, ham and bread - products already preserved. These migas are the Aragon style what my grandmother used to make. I don't know if she learned it because her family used to have a merino sheep herd and shepherds or because she moved to Zaragoza, Aragon, after the death of her father and met my grandfather, a medical student at the time. I am sure this recipe came in very handy during the Spanish Civil War because of the lack of food, when every crumb was saved in a napkin to use the next day to mix with milk.


1 Loaf Rustic Bread 
1 Glass of Cold Water
1 Tablespoon Spanish Smoked Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Oregano or Thyme
1 Pinch of Salt

2 Garlic Cloves 
1/2 Green Pepper cut in small pieces
1/2 Cup Bacon or Spanish Serrano Ham cut in small pieces or cubes
1/2 Cup Chorizo cut in small pieces or cubes
1 Egg per person (optional)

First put the water in a glass, add the paprika, oregano or thyme and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon and set aside. Remove the bread crust and cut the remaining bread in small pieces. Put it in a bowl and add the glass of water with the mix of spices. Keep it over night covered with a damp cloth. The following morning, cut the bacon or ham, chorizo and pepper in small cubes. First, cook the garlic and when it starts getting golden brown remove it from the pan. Then cook the peppers and remove them as well. Next cook the ham a little and remove it, then do the same with the chorizo. Set aside all these ingredients and in the same pan with all those flavors add the bread and cook it on a low heat, stirring continuously until it starts separating. Before removing it from the pan raise the heat to high and brown it lightly. Mix all ingredients in a bowl before serving. Serve with a fried egg (optional) and decorate with grapes.

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