I expected to come across a few countries I’d never heard of before this challenge, and Andorra is one of them! A quick look led me to expect food from Andorra to be a mix of Spanish and French cuisine.
Andorra is a tiny European country located between Spain and France, believed to have been created by Charlemagne as a buffer to keep the Muslim Moors out of France. He told them he’d give them a charter (granting them certain rights and privileges) if they would protect France by fighting against the Moors. They agreed, and later his son ended up granting the charter.
Andorra was a fiefdom held by the Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the Count of Foix in France. The country (also known as a ‘microstate’) has been independent since 1278, but still maintains two Co-Princes: the Bishop of Urgell remains the first, and the head of state of France is the second.
What Do People Eat in Andorra?
It turns out the cuisine of Andorra is mostly Catalan (Catalonia being a community of Spain), though there are French and Italian influences. This essentially translates to a broad Mediterranean range of foods, including fresh vegetables, wheat products such as bread and pasta, olive oil, wine, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, sheep and goat cheese, pork. poultry, lamb, and various fish.
What I Made
- Torrijas (Spanish French Toast)
- Trinxat (Potato, Cabbage and Bacon Hash)
- Chicory Salad
- Escudella (Andorran Stew)
- Pa Amb Tomaquet (Bread with Tomato)
Scroll down to read about other popular Andorran dishes I didn’t make!
Torrijas (Spanish French Toast)
This is a Spanish version of French toast, popular in Andorra. I decided it was okay to make something that was technically Spanish for Andorra, because there are so many Spanish dishes and so few that are actually Andorran.
Instead of dipping the bread in an egg and milk mixture, like French toast, the bread is soaked in milk or wine and then dipped in egg and fried in olive oil. There’s usually cinnamon in the milk mixture, and the recipe I used from The Kitchn included citrus zest and sherry. The torrijas are then drizzled with honey rather than maple syrup.
I did have one problem. One of my husband’s favorite things to eat is French toast, and I knew he would be unhappy if I made him eat torrijas instead, so I made him regular French toast. I thought about getting a rustic French bread or baguette, which is what would usually be used for torrijas, but decided to stay on the safe side and get the store-brand brioche I normally use for French toast. After all, there were plenty of torrijas recipes indicating you could also use brioche.
Unfortunately, my day-old brioche did not stand up to the milk mixture well at all. I had already accounted for the fact that it would be less sturdy than what the recipe called for, but it was literally falling apart after 20 seconds in the milk. So I did another two slices, but this time I toasted them first. That didn’t help much, but it did allow me to get two intact pieces for the photo. So learn from my mistakes; make sure you use a really sturdy bread if you want to attempt this recipe! And I do encourage it, because it was absolutely delicious.
Trinxat (Potato, Cabbage and Bacon Hash)
This is basically bubble and squeak with bacon. You mash boiled potatoes and cabbage together with a little garlic and fry it, usually in the fat reserved from cooking the bacon. Most recipes I found had you forming the mixture into pancakes, but it seems like it’s also acceptable to just fry up the mixture and serve it up without any regard to form. This is actually easier, since I found the mixture didn’t hold together all that well. I think it would have if I’d made smaller pancakes though.
The recipes I found for this were all pretty much the same. I used the recipe from International Cuisine but I added parsley and green onions to the potato mixture and saved the bacon for garnishing.
This was a very simple dish, but it was really good. I ate some with the chicory salad and then had leftovers with eggs for breakfast.
This is a popular salad in Andorra, and is composed of chicory, bacon, nuts, and often snails. I thought it would go well with the trinxat.
I couldn’t get anything labeled ‘chicory’ so I used curly endive, which is a member of the chicory family. I followed the recipe from Fine Cooking, which did not include bacon, so I added it. I decided not to add snails. I just don’t think I’m ready to try those, and if I ever do, I think it would have to be in a restaurant where they are known for doing them well.
This was alright I guess; there wasn’t much to it. It’s good as a side dish, especially if the main meal is on the heavy side.
Escudella (Andorran Stew)
Escudella is Andorra’s national dish. It is a stew containing lots of different kinds of meats and vegetables, as well as pasta and/or rice. From looking at recipes online, it seems there isn’t any one traditional way to make this stew. Rather, it is something that’s made with whatever is lying around, such as leftover meat and vegetable scraps. One thing that was pretty constant was the inclusion of a giant meatball made of pork and flavored with garlic and parsley. A lot of recipes included smaller meatballs instead, which is what I did as it seemed more manageable.
I loosely followed the recipe from The Foreign Fork. I didn’t want eight servings but still wanted to keep most of the elements without having to use ridiculous amounts like 1/4 pound of pork. So I omitted the chickpeas, rice, and prosciutto and reduced the amount of other ingredients. I did use a full pound of pork since I love meatballs! I added bread crumbs, egg, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper to my meatballs. I adjusted the cooking time of everything, so I did not cook my chicken breast for 2 hours; instead, I added it towards the end and took it out when it was just cooked. Additionally, I completely forgot about the peas, so I omitted those by accident. I also didn’t include the cumin as I wasn’t sure it felt right and most of the other escudella recipes I found did not call for it.
This ended up being a really delicious dish. I served it with the pa amb tomaquet (next dish) but it wasn’t really necessary; this stew is filling enough on its own.
Pa Amb Tomaquet (Bread with Tomato)
This is just bread with tomato, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. You’re supposed to toast the bread and then rub garlic on it and then the tomato, but I didn’t get very good results doing it that way. The garlic part worked, but the tomato didn’t transfer much to the bread except for juice and a few seeds. So for the next two slices I just put diced tomato on the bread. It may not be the proper way but it definitely yielded a better result. Maybe I just didn’t have squishy enough tomatoes?
This is pretty easy to make without following a recipe, but I was looking at one from Gimme Some Oven.
Other Popular Andorran Dishes
- Crema Andorrana – kind of a twist on crème brûlée. It’s made with milk rather than cream, and seasoned with lemon and cinnamon, which as far as I can tell makes it a crema catalana. However, some sources say it is served with whipped cream on top, rather than caramelized sugar, which is what would make this a different dish.
- Cargols – this is what Andorrans call snails; like the French, they serve them in a variety of ways.
Overall, this was a really good week. I think the trinxat was my favorite food from Andorra, even though it was so simple. I enjoyed the torrijas too and I am looking forward to trying it again with better bread.
Next week, I’ll be cooking food from Angola.