My husband and I spent last Christmas ensconced in front of our couch watching Spain: On the Road Again, essentially a foodie road-trip documentary starring Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols. We were salivating after each episode, which resulted in well um three things: (a) a quickie trip to Despaña to load up on some jamon, queso, fideos, and of course berberechos (they weren’t very high quality), (b) a quickie trip to casa mono, and (c) a somewhat well-hatched plan to visit Madrid and Andalucia.
At some point on their trip (I think it was either the beginning or the end), Batals and Bitty wander off to Casa Mingo on their own for some cheap and hearty food. They seemed like they were having such a great time biting into ginormous pieces of chicken, chorizo, and downing cider ale, that well, we decided to make our own little sojourn.
Casa Mingo is relatively easy to find (well, that is if you have the correct address but that’s another story). Located on Paseo de la Florida, 34, we got there by taking the Madrid metro to the Prícipe Pio stop. Once out of the stop, we walked out to face Paseo de la Florida and made a right. The restaurant is located at the end of the long block (maybe around the length of 1-1.5 NYC avenue type blocks). Read on…more goodies ahead
The rustic facade and interior of the restaurant resemble an Asturian cider tavern in Northwestern Spain, and is fairly busy at all hours of the day given its low prices and tasty food. The specialties of the house are roast chicken, sidra (cider ale) and sidra infused chorizo. Towards the end of our trip, my husband declared the sidra infused chorizo the very best chorizo of our week-long trip. We ended up ordering all 3 of the items above, plus a few knicks and knacks. Our total bill came to around 25 to 30 euros or so. Not bad for an utterly satisfying meal!
Now, the other day, when I was rummaging around in my refrigerator, I came across (1) a bottle of hard cider that my friend Y. had brought over one day, (2) a package of spicy chorizo from Despaña, and (3) a package of frozen chicken thigh meat. A light bulb went off in my head, or as my husband likes to say “ding ding ding ding ding ding ding”! With chicken, chorizo and cider in hand, I went off to create a one-pot wonder of Casa Mingo flavours. It turned out pretty good — the cider really does add a fruity, rich and strangely nuanced flavour. I haven’t found as yet the words to describe it.
Here’s how I did it:
“Casa Mingo” Sidra Stew
|Onion||1 large one, julienned (I used red, but you can use whatever you’ve got)|
|Tomato||2 medium-sized, chopped into 1/8ths slices|
|Peppers||1 cup of peppers, coarsely chopped (I used half a red pepper and 1 whole korean green pepper. The peppers are optional. I had them around the house so I tossed them in.)|
|Oil||1 tbsp (I used olive oil)|
|Chicken||~2 pounds (I used thigh meat but I suppose you can use any part of the chicken you prefer and adjust cooking times accordingly)|
|Chorizo||2 links, sliced into 2 cm thick rounds (I used a spicy chorizo)|
|Salt & Pepper||a few pinches|
|Cider Ale||1 pint|
|Bay Leafs||2 dried leaves|
|Flour||1 tbsp (optional)|
- In a medium sized pot (I used my 5 quart dutch oven), sautée onion, tomato, chorizo and peppers in oil until lightly browned and softened over medium heat. Take out of pot and set aside.
- Clean chicken, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Next, brown chicken on both sides in the same pot over medium to high heat. Takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
- If your chicken is kinda fatty, you may want to take the chicken out and drain out the excess oil. Do not scrub the pot clean of the browned residue on the bottom of the pot. You need that stuff for the flavour!
- Put the chicken and onion, tomato, chorizo, pepper mix back in the pot with the chicken on medium heat.
- Pour in the entire bottle of cider ale
- Add in bay leafs
- Put cover back on and simmer for ~20 minutes over medium to low heat.
- Sprinkle flour into the stew (I use a sieve to make sure I don’t get clumps), if desiring a thicker sauce (optional). If doing so, simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
(Note: I like to have some rustic bread on hand with which to soak up the sauces.)