Food in the Spanish Central Plains

The cuisine in the Spanish central plains is austere.

Meat such as lamb, mutton or pork are the most popular, accompanied by the variety of game meats that can be found wild.

Castile-Leon

Classic Castilian cuisine is simple, as is the overall style in Castile. Baby lamb and suckling pig are roasted in wood-burning ovens. Roasting of game is also common; hunters appreciate wild boar, pheasant, partridge, rabbit or hare.

These stews became popular because they are easy to cook in one pot over primitive wood and charcoal stoves. In the morning, before leaving to work in the fields, peasants would lay the pot by the side of stove, where it would simmer and bubble slowly. Dinner would be ready when coming back. Very much like a slow cooker.

The rest of the landscape is dominated by charcuterie, bean, lentils, chickpeas, garlic and paprika. Hearty stews made with meat, usually pork, beans or chickpeas and vegetables, cooked very slowly in earthenware dishes over low heat.

Traditional specialties feature lechazo (roasted baby lamb); cochinillo asado (roasted suckling pig); cocido(one pot boiled dinner); bean, meat, sausage potajes (soups) and estofados (stews); albondigas (meatballs); callos (tripe with chickpeas and sausage); tortillas (filled omelets) and revueltos (scrambled eggs)

La Mancha

The cuisine has much in common with Castile, with more garlic, paprika and saffron. Look for pisto manchego (a tomato and vegetable stew similar to ratatouille); sopa de ajo (garlic and bread soup); partridges, stewed, en escabeche or with chocolate; migas (fried bread bits)

Extremadura

Their cooking is centered in pork, lamb, and game dishes, in a similar fashion to that of Castile. Extremadura is the source of the Spanish smoked paprika, Pimentón de la Vera, fabulous cured pork products, made from the local breed of pigs, roaming and feeding only acorns from the fields and forests. Don't make a mistake the Torta del Casar is an excellent cheese, not a pie, despite of the name.

They have their own kind of migas, fine lamb stew and casseroles and an exotic soup made with tomatoes and figs.