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Bread Dinner of La Mancha

Written on May 15th, 2010 by no shouts

Do you remember the movie, “Man of La Mancha”? It was written by Miguel de Cervantes and filmed in 1972 and was about the hero, Don Quixote and his beautiful wench, who fell in love and lived “happily ever after”. Peter O’Toole played Don Quixote and a very famous Italian siren played the wench. Do you remember who played her part?

This is one of the displays I designed for the new Conway Department Store in David, based upon Don Quixote and my paella recipe. The recipe cards were available for shoppers to the housewares department on the third floor.

Castilla La Mancha is a large province south, west and east of of Madrid, Spain, and Toledo is the capitol. David and I visited La Mancha last year and we love it very much. I snapped this photo of some of La Mancha’s windmills from our fast-moving car. Remember “tilting at windmills”? It’s a lovely part of Spain, where Manchego cheese is produced, one of the finest cheeses in the world.

While there, I picked up a cookbook full of popular Spanish recipes. The shiny-paged book included maps, famous wines and typical dishes from every province, and it is full of beautiful, full-color photos of every recipe. One recipe caught my eye, MIGAS MANCHEGO or “Fried Breadcrumbs from La Mancha”. The author of the book gave this recipe 2 complete pages and claimed it was made practically all over Spain, with slight variations. For some reason, I just couldn’t see Don Quixote and his wench eating such a dinner. So, I made it myself, and it was really surprisingly delicious, once I got over the health issues.


10 slices dried bread, or equivilant
1 cup chorizo, salami, ham, serrano, bologna, or solid fish
6 slices bacon, cut into squares
1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and left in cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
salt water

Place bread in large bowl and sprinkle with salted water. Cover and leave in refrigerator overnight. I used it as as soon as the bread got mushy and it worked fine. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the chopped bacon and meat until it begins to turn light brown. Remove, drain and put aside. Place the garlic cloves in the skillet and fry until golden brown. Add the bread and stir until it is soaked in fat. Yes, soaked in fat!

Cut up the bread by beating it with a spoon or whisk. When the bread is completely broken into small pieces, return the meat and bacon and continue beating. Add salt to taste and when the dish is ready, leave it in the pan without stirring to allow the bread to rest and a nice crust to form. Garnish with grapes, grated Manchego cheese, Spanish green olives, fresh parsley, rosemary and serve in slices.

Now, I can see how Don Quixote would love this dish, think of all the calories, cholesterol, energy, protein, fat, flavor and fullness he must have achieved eating this very popular dish from La Mancha. Try it in your own variation, it’s really very good, extremely economical and a bit weird! I’m sure Sophia Loren enjoyed it also.
Viva Espana!

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