Culinary Anthropologist

It’s tops in Galicia

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Smcaldogallego0001.jpgIt really is.  We loved Galicia so much we nearly bought an abandoned farmhouse set in the most stunning location amid steep vineyard-covered valleys, looking down over a bright blue gorge and out to a mountainscape not dissimilar to Scotland (with more sun).  Here, in the tiny little stone villages clinging to the mountains people are making excellent wines, cheeses and cured pork products.  And they’re growing turnips…


The turnip doesn’t have the greatest reputation back in the UK, but it’s fast becoming one of my favourite vegetables as I learn more ways to prepare it.  Here in Galicia people prize the turnip tops – the bright green leaves – and chuck the tuberous roots to the animals.  And one of the best things you can do with the leaves is turn them into Galicia’s ‘national’ dish – caldo gallego.  

This hearty soup is perfect for a chilly Galician evening, full of healthy greens and home-grown potatoes, made with the purest mountain water, and with a rich mouth-feel due to the chicken and beef bones, smoked ham knuckle and pork belly fat it is cooked with.  We had delicious versions at Paso Hospederia Paradela near Trives and Casa Arza in the tiny village of Reigosa.  

If only British supermarkets sold turnips with their tops on instead of in shrink-wrapped plastic cartons.  We’d get double the turnip fun.

Read about other tastes of Spain

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