Potaje de Tagarninas – Spanish Oyster Plant Stew Recipe

Spanish oyster plant also known as  golden thistle, or ‘tagarninas’ in Spanish, are in season in the winter time and typical of the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula. This plant isn’t usually sold in supermarkets because it is not grown in crops, but foraged, so you can buy in the food market and on roadside stalls. The plant has a slightly tangy taste, is high in fibre and used to be consumed in war times when food was scarce.

‘Tagarninas’ are still foraged today and I quite like the idea of using plants which are foraged locally in a sustainable way, sort of feels more connected to nature. A suitable replacement for this plant would be asparagus, or even green beans purely for aesthetic value. ‘Tagarninas’ are usually stewed, like in this recipe, although there are other seasonal recipes where they are used. This stew is quite easy to make and has a wonderful taste, with the bay leaf, cloves and cumin seeds giving a lovely warmth and rich taste. This is a perfect winter warmer and typical stew with chickpeas.

This recipe features in the Mama Lotties book 100 Everyday Recipes which has a lot of Gibraltarian and Gibraltar inspired recipes, many of which can be easily adapted to be vegetarian.

Mama Lotties 100 Everyday Recipes
Mama Lotties 100 Everyday Recipes

You can order the book directly from the Mama Lotties website.

Potaje de Tagarninas – Spanish Oyster Plant Stew Recipe
Yield: 3-4 Servings
Difficulty: Easy
Cooking time:
Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g gold thistle (Spanish oyster plant) *see notes
  • 1 large onion
  • 150 g butternut squash or pumpkin
  • 350 g potato (2 medium)
  • 400 g drained cooked chickpeas
  • 300 g tinned tomato
  • 600 ml of water
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cloves (spice)
  • 1 tbsp blanched almonds (10-12)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sun dried pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 9 oz gold thistle (Spanish oyster plant) *see notes
  • 1 large onion
  • 5½ oz butternut squash or pumpkin
  • 12 oz potato (2 medium)
  • 14 oz drained cooked chickpeas
  • 11 oz tinned tomato
  • 2½ cups of water
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cloves (spice)
  • 1 tbsp blanched almonds (10-12)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 sun dried pepper

Instructions

  1. Gold thistle is usually sold cleaned and chopped, however should there be any spiky leaves still it is a case of scraping this off with a knife.

    Tagarninas, Spanish oyster plant
    Tagarninas, Spanish oyster plant
  2. Dice and sweat the onions in a large pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  3. In the meantime dice the butternut squash and potato and add to the pan with the tomatoes, drained chickpeas, sun dried pepper, the cloves (spice) and a good pinch of salt.
  4. Add the Spanish oyster plant (tagarninas) with 600ml of water from a recently boiled kettle, and bring to a medium simmer for about 25 minutes.
  5. In a frying pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Peel the cloves of garlic and add to the pan whole, with the almonds and cumin seeds. Fry until the garlic and almonds have toasted and are golden. Remove and add to a jug.
  6. Cut the slice of bread into several pieces and fry in the oil. When the bread is golden and toasted add to the jug together with 150ml of white wine and the dried red pepper from the pan.
  7. Traditionally the garlic, almonds, cumin, bread, pepper and wine are pounded into a paste in a pestle and mortar, but it is a lot easier and quicker to blend in a jug until smooth.
  8. Add this mixture into the pan, give it a good stir, and simmer again for another 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the stove, allow to rest for a few minutes and serve.

Notes

If you can’t find Spanish oyster plant, this stew is still good to make with a simple substitution. You can try asparagus, kale, or even green beans. The flavour may be a little different but it will still be the same in essence and delicious!

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