Andorra the Explorer

August 8, 2014

People often forget that Andorra is a country tucked away down in the Pyrenees between Spain and


image courtesy of

France. At only ~175 square miles in area, this seems like a forgivable mistake to be sure. But there she sits; straddling the Spanish/French divide though her soul it seems is far more of the former than the later. The official language is Catalan named after the community in Spain, yet it shares more in common with French linguistically than it does with Spanish. Another extremely odd and interesting fact is that it is a Principality, being a monarchy headed by two Co-princes; but that’s not the weird part. The very strange fact is that those two Co-princes are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell (the diocese in Catalonia), whomever they may be. Yet Andorra’s government is a parliamentary democracy, with a chief executive serving as the head. Weird right?

Culinary it seems to me to share more with Spain than France, though when you are on a border it is very difficult to even make distinctions. The one factor that is omnipresent in Andorran cuisine is meat. Meat, meat, meat, meat, meat. The dish I selected is Escudella (I carn d’olla), “meat from a pot”. It is recorded in a 14th century manuscript that it was eaten every day by the Catalonians. It is a soup featuring…you guessed it; meat. It also often has pasta, rice, and is based in a savory broth.

I loved this dish, because it was super meaty, and I mean that in the best possible way. The inclusion of ham steak, chicken thigh, sausage meatballs added layer upon layer of different meat flavor profiles. The most important piece however was the marrow bone/ham hock. I used a large marrow bone with some meat still on it from the butcher. This gave the broth an unparalleled texture and flavor that I cannot imagine being achieved any other way. It is also very potent stock and I ended up adding about 2 cups of additional water towards the end which resulted in an actual serving size of 6 (your results may vary).

The addition of the pasta, rice, and beans make it very filling and I found myself having to remember not to take too much. I highly recommend this soup to any and all meat lovers out there, but don’t skimp on the marrow bone… trust me!

::Christopher Llyod voice::

In our next installment, we go back… to the Africa. Angola to be precise.



Andorran Escudella

Serves: 5-6

1 cup dry white beans (Great Northern)

   1 large marrow bone/ham hock

   1 large chicken thigh (the recipe called for 1/4 of a chicken, but boneless-skinless is so much easier)

   7 ounces raw pork sausage, rolled into balls

   1 cup ham steak, cut into chunks

   1/2 large white potato, cut into large chunks

   1/8 cup uncooked rice

   1/2 cup pasta shells

   1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans

     salt and pepper to taste



 Roll the raw sausage into one- or two-bite sized balls.

Rinse the dry beans in cold water.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage balls over medium heat.

Dice the ham.

Put the beans, sausage, ham, chicken and bones into the pot with 8 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, covered for 1 ½ hours. The chicken should be very tender, almost falling apart.

Remove the bones and bring the remaining stock and meat back up to a boil (if there isn’t a lot of liquid you can add more water).

Add the cabbage, potato, rice, pasta shells, garbanzo beans and salt and pepper.

Add more water if needed (I added about 2 cups)

Cook for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes and rice are tender.

Salt and pepper to taste (needed salt)





2 Responses to “Andorra the Explorer”

  1. Mei-Mei Says:

    Ahhh this is similar to a madrileño stew called cocido. Love it!!

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