This entry was supposed to be posted before Christmas. But since I still see these boxes in the grocery store... I think I am within a reasonable time of posting a Christmas grocery shopping and cooking tradition. After all, while my friends back in California are taking down their Christmas decorations, the Catalans will be celebrating until Los Reyes Magos (The Epiphany) on January 6th.
Galets de Nadal are a shell-shaped pasta that is part of traditional Catalan Christmas cuisine. The shells are served in Escudella i Carn d'Olla, a type of stew/soup with pasta, meats and "pilotas"/meatballs. It seems that the galets are only sold during Christmas time. At least, this is my assumption since I have never noticed the large shells before on the shelves. Also, the pasta is sold in Christmas-styled packaging, at least during December. I will have to check the shelves during the next few months to see if the galets are sold throughout the year. Or, a friendly Catalan reader could post a comment here and let us all know...
Escudella Photo by arquera / Emi Yañez | commons.wikimedia.org
According to Anna of the blog, This Curious Thing Called Catalonia, Escudella i Carn d'Olla's "broth is made out of potato, cabbage, garbanzo beans, onions, leeks, celery, carrot and garlic." The "carn d'olla" stew part is "black sausage, white sausage, meatballs, veal, lamb, hen/chicken and bacon." The escudella i carn d'olla may be served together or separately (the broth, the carn d'olla and the ingredients used in the broth, see Anna's pictures).
Galets are such a part of the local culture that the Barcelona Ajuntament (city council) along with Gallina Blanca (pasta and soup company) commissioned 26 huge galet sculptures throughout the city. We had a great time discovering these large pasta shells during our Barcelona excursions. As of December 31st, I didn't see many around the city, but the one in front of Barcelona's Ajuntament in Plaça Sant Jaume remains.
Galets de Nadal Recipes
- Clifford A. Wright's Escudella - Catalonian Stew Recipe
- Spanish Recipes Pic by Pic's Carn d'Olla Pillota Recipe