Berza Gitana (Gypsy Meat and Vegetable Stew)

4 to 8 servings


  • 1/2 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/2 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced into medium pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 pound pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • 1/2 pound Spanish-style chorizo, thickly sliced
  • 6 ounces pancetta, cubed
  • 6 ounces Spanish-style blood sausage, sliced into thick rounds (Blood sausage is made of pig's blood suet, breadcrumbs and oatmeal.)
  • 1 pig's tail, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 whole dried red bell pepper
  • Salt


Put the chickpeas in a medium pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low; simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, put the cannellini beans in a medium pot. Add the celery and cover with cold water by 2 1/2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer, skimming off any foam, until the beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and set aside, reserving the cooking water.

While the beans cook, heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the paprika and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the pork, chorizo, pancetta, blood sausage, pig's tail, dried red bell pepper and 4 cups water. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pork is almost tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, cannellini beans, celery and 1 cup reserved cooking water. Season to taste with salt, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stew has thickened slightly, 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings and discard the pepper stem before serving.

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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.

RecID 6916

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