A WEDDING IN PRIORAT IS, GENERALLY, A VERY HAPPY OCCASION, WITH NO EXPENSE SPARED TO CELEBRATE THE DAY. THIS OFTEN INVOLVES KILLING A FEW HENS TO FEED THE WEDDING PARTY. AS USUAL IN CATALAN COOKING, NOTHING IS WASTED: EVEN THE UNLAID EGGS INSIDE THE POOR CHICKENS ARE TURNED INTO A FLAN — A FIRM SAVOURY CUSTARD FLAVOURED WITH JUST A SCRAPING OF NUTMEG, SITTING IN A CLEAR LIQUID FLAVOURED WITH SHERRY. THE SECRET TO MAKING THIS CONSOMMÉ AS CLEAR AS WATER IS TO TAKE THE COOKING PROCESS VERY SLOWLY. THIS STOPS THE STOCK DRAWING OUT THE PROTEIN FROM THE CHICKEN. THE ADDITION OF THE POTATO — A PRIORAT TRADITION — ADDS BODY AND AN EARTHY BACKGROUND NOTE TO THE CONSOMMÉ.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the carrot, onion and halved garlic bulb and sauté for 8–10 minutes, or until golden. Add the roasted chicken bones, potatoes, jamón and
Strain the consommé through a fine sieve and pour into a clean pan. Stir in the sherry and boil for 2 minutes, then strain again and pour into a large bowl or jug. Leave to cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The following day, carefully remove the solidified fat from the top of the consommé.
To make the egg custards, combine the egg yolks, cream, nutmeg,
Pour enough warm water into the baking tray to come halfway up the side of the moulds.
To serve, reheat the remaining consommé until just hot. Run a small flat knife around the edges of the flans and invert onto warm soup plates. Pour the consommé around the flans and serve immediately.
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