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Thursday, October 20, 2011


Concepción, the Slaughter Man's Wife Preparing Sausages
While He Looks on
Photo by: Lord-Williams 
last year; formerly, the bygone days. The term is used especially in connection with the loss of customs and traditions such as the ritual of the slaughter. [Baena/Dutton.1993:380:652:v12; Fernández González. 1994:192; and Pacho. “Cocina.” 1994:155]


(Although this is obviously not a Sabbath day dish, Juan Alfonso Baena,. Secretary and Scribe of Juan II of Castle, Isabel I's father, during the first third of the 15th C,  wrote in Cancionero that eggplants were associated with Jews who included them in dishes made for the Sabbath day and other days. If this was a Jewish dish, it would have been made with kosher meat, however, it is one of 19 recipes calling for eggplant in the Hispano-Arab MS. It is believed that Baena was a Jewish convert to Christianity.)
For 8 persons:
Formerly, it was said Jews ate so many eggplants 
that their eyes looked like them.
Photo by: Lord-Williams

4 eggplants

1 lb ground meat from a leg of lamb
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tso cinnamon
1 tsp spikenard
8 eggs

1st Pot:
¼ c virgin olive oil
1 tbsp onion juice
1 tbsp mixed spices and herbs
2 tbsp rosewater
2 tbsp pinenuts
2 tbsp citron leaves
1 tbsp mint
1 tsp salt

2nd Pot:
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp murri
1 onion grated
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rue
1 citron leaf
2 stalks of fennel
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp soaked garbanzos
½ tsp ground saffron
3 cut garlic cloves

3rd Pot
1 ½ tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro water
½ tbsp sharp vinegar
1 onion chopped
2 tbsp almonds
2 tbsp pinenuts
1 sprig rue
3 citron leaves

2nd pot:
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1 tbsp chopped rue.
1 tbsp aromatic herbs.

3nd pot:
1 egg
1 tsp chopped rue
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tsp spices
1 tsp pepper


Fill a pan with water and bring it to a boil. Add whole eggplants and continue boiling 20-25 minutes until soft. Remove the flesh leaving the skins whole.

Heat a frying pan. Add 2 tbsp virgin olive oil. When hot sauté lamb unti browned. About 10 minutes.

Remove lamb and knead it with the seasoning and the flesh from the eggplants. Separate whites from the yolks.  Beat the whites from 8 eggs. Then beat the yolks from 6 eggs. Mix the yolks with the stuffing. Fold in the whites. Stuff the eggplant skins with this. 

*Prepare the 3 pots:

Put a sufficient amount water in the 1st pot to cover the ingredients listed. Bring it to a boil. Add half of the stuffed eggplants. Cook 30 minutes.

In the 2nd pot add enough water to cover the chickpeas. Bring them to a boil. Simmer, boiling gently for 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size of the peas. Add the other half of the stuffed eggplants ½ hour before the end of cooking time.
In the 3rd pot mix the ingredients for it sauté until the onion is translucent.

Place the ingredients from the 1st pot on one end of a platter. Add those from the 2nd pot on the other end and garnish them with chopped hard-boiled egg yolks and rue. Sprinkle them with aromatic herbs.

Put the ingredients from the 3rd pot in the middle of the platter and garnish with egg cooked with rue and sprinkle it with rosewater, spices and pepper and present it.

*Traditionally today, stuffed eggplant is baked at 350º F / 175º C for 20 minutes and is topped with grated cheese. The latter does not appear in Spanish culinary books until the 15th C with Nola. It could be that Jews did not have ovens as the Sabbath Day meals were cooked in bakeries over night. 


  1. A famous proverb cited in the Quijote says: En los nidos de antaño, no hay pájaros hogaño. "Hogaño" means ethimologically «en este año»: "in this year", "now", "presently". It is no more in use. For this and other proverbs see:

  2. Strange - in the nests of yesteryear there are no birds this year -
    Storks return to their nests in Ibera every spring and add to them, thus becoming a real problem because the weight of the nests can increase from 130 to 550 lbs over the years. Cervantes knew the town of Trujillo well in Caceres, Extremadura, Spain well where today storks are a delight to German bird watchers over Easter but a terror for owners of palaces and church goers as the weight of the nests crushes the roofs of the edifices.

  3. The proverb means nostalgia for the loss of a situation: one should expect to find birds (or friends, or help) and find it no more. Refering storks (very numerous also in Alcalá de Henares,the natal town of Cervantes,near Madrid), they have find a solution constructing metal towers and reinforcing structures to hold the nests. Spain in general is retained a paradise for bird-watching (not only storks). And of course the most famous verses about the return of the birds are those of the romantic Becquer:
    "Volverán las oscuras golondrinas
    en tu balcón sus nidos a colgar,
    y otra vez con el ala a sus cristales
    jugando llamarán.

    Pero aquellas que el vuelo refrenaban
    tu hermosura y mi dicha a contemplar,
    aquellas que aprendieron nuestros nombres...
    ¡esas... no volverán!"