Andorran Trinxat de la Cerdanya

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Trinxat is a national Andorran favorite dish, and most likely one of the best-known dishes to come out of this small country. It bears a lot of similarities with the Irish dish,  colcannon. Andorra has a very mountainous topography and climate, so the natives over the millennia made use of what would grow well there – hardy plants like cabbage and potatoes. Grazing land to raise livestock like cattle is at a bare minimum, so it also made sense that pork meat became the most common to use. This dish was (and still is) a popular wintertime meal, because cabbage becomes the most sweet and tender after its been frosted at least once.

Trinxat

(Photo Attributed to Author: daniel.julia)

Trinxat means “chopped” in English, and there are numerous variations on the dish. This particular one, trinxat de la Cerdanya, is the most common and traditional version. It is a robust, hearty mash, consisting of cabbage, and potatoes, with pork meats and fats. A wonderful comfort food, filling, and satisfying.

Andorran Trinxat de la Cerdanya Recipe-

Ingredients:

(makes 6 servings)

Directions:
  1. Over medium-high heat, bring two pots of liberally salted water to a boil.
  2. Place the potatoes in one pot, and the cabbage in the other.
  3. Turn the heat down on the cabbage to just a mild simmer, and cook until very tender – 45 to 50 minutes should do it.
  4. Let the potatoes vigorously until they are tender, usually about 15-20 minutes should bet about right. Drain them, and then return them, still in the pot, to the burner. Turn the heat down to lowest heat possible, and allow them to dry, and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Drain the cabbage in a large sieve or a colander, and allow it to cool enough to handle. Then, pull the core out and discard it. Drain again, this time pressing the cabbage hard enough to release any residual water.
  6. Next, add the cabbage into the same bowl with the potatoes, and mash them all together with a potato masher. Season to your tastes with salt and pepper, and set aside for now.
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, lightly brown the salt pork on both sides – work in batches, if necessary. Drain the browned slices on a paper towel lined baking sheet, and set aside for now.
  8. Pour the fat out of the skillet, and wipe it clean with paper towels. Heat olive oil, using the same skillet, over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Next, add garlic (and the oil) into the potato/cabbage mash, and stir it all together thoroughly.
  9. Still using the same skillet, heat half of the pork belly until the fat is rendered. Add in half of the cabbage/potato mash, and flatten it into a pancake about 1/2″-thick.
  10. Turn the heat up to high and fry until the bottom is lightly browned and will slide around easily in the skillet. This process can take anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the pancake over, season to taste some more with salt and pepper, and fry until the other side is also browned. Remove the cooked trinxat from the skillet, transfer to a large bowl, and then cook the remaining potato/cabbage mash in the same manner.
  11. While you are frying your mash cakes, in another skillet, fry your salt pork or bacon slices, to your desired level of crispness.
  12.  When the second mash cake is done cooking, add it into the bowl with the other one, then, using a knife and fork, break it all up into bits and chunks and use a large wooden spoon to stir in into one large mash.
  13. To serve your Andorran Trinxat, ladle a generous portion of the mash onto each serving plate, and garnish with 2 slices of the salt pork or bacon.

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