June 25, 2012
Stewing Over the Spanish Inquisition
The single most incriminating dish of the Spanish Inquisition, Adafina, is the first entry in Gil Marks’ inspiring tome, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Reviewing the more than 300 recipes in this incredible book, a few critical facts about Jews become clear. We have been kicked out of almost every continent on the planet at one time or another. We embrace the culture of our current home country. We cook and eat a lot and often. In my opinion, the best way to show the Jew haters of past and present that we are still alive and stronger than ever, is to bring new life to the delicious recipes created by our ancestors. My goal is to cook every recipe in Gil Marks’ brilliant book, with a new approach and an undying respect for everyone who has contributed to Jewish cuisine.
Adafina is a complicated and layered Sephardic Sabbath stew, which was designed to sustain a large family throughout Shabbat. It brings new meaning to the idea “everything but the Sephardic kitchen sink.” In order to highlight the many components of the stew, I decided it would be better to remove some and cook them on their own. Here is the menu description for my version of Adafina:
Roulade of Lamb Riblets
Step out of your comfort zone, buy some butcher’s twine and tap into your innate animalistic love of manipulating raw meat. While the full recipe is written below, I would like to expand on a few important steps. Creating a tight bundle of meat is critical to this recipe because the sausage stuffing and rack will cook as one protein. The result is buttery soft lamb rib meat and paté like sausage filling. The rest of the procedure for the stew is classic braising technique. Browning the rib bundles over high heat is another essential detail. “Brown” means let the meat crackle and pop in the pan, without tampering, until the neighbors can smell lamb. Deep dark coloring of the meat is critical to giving the final stew complex layers of flavor. The secret to the frigo is using lamb fat as the cooking lipid, and fortifying the lamb flavor in the grains with roasted trim. Adafina is defined by its layers of ingredients and flavors. Building a background lamb flavor in the frigo makes the final result explode with rich lamb taste.
Adafina was designed to be eaten throughout Shabbat. I have maintained this function of the dish by creating a chilled Adafina wrap or “Adafinurrito” that can be eaten on Saturday afternoon. Simply pureé the vegetables from the stew to create a refried bean like spread. In a large piece of fresh lavash, layer the vegetable pureé and the rest of the leftover ingredients and wrap like a burrito. This is a fantastic indulgence to prepare you for a great Shabbos snooze.
Ferdinand and Isabella failed in their attempt to convert Jews to Catholicism. Miraculously, Jewish life and Judaism are still alive and possibly more vibrant than ever before in its history. Celebrate the Jews of Spain by making a delicious Adafina stew and taste how delicious modern Jewish life can be.
6 racks lamb riblets
1 cup frigo
4oz fava beans, peeled