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Faking Masa Harina

Following up Saturday’s monkfish fritters from Rick Stein’s Spain, I then made two further dishes from the book yesterday. First was Oviedo-style beef stew which, unlike most beef stews, uses white wine rather than red as the liquid addition. Skipping over the fact that I was actually using venison rather than beef (thumbs up for that substitution), I need something to accompany it and, having had potato wedges with the monkfish, wanted something other than the suggested potato.

A few pages on was a recipe including cornbread pancakes. The only problem was that they required masa harina and I didn’t have any. My first guess was to use polenta instead. I mixed some with a sprinkle of salt and some hot water but it was like working with wet sand – you could almost shape it into balls but it would then crumble apart. By this point, I had divided my mixture into eight cubes, each about 1.5cm square.

Rather than giving up, I combined each one with about 1tsp plain flour, which gave a malleable dough. Each got rolled to a ball and then pressed out to a thin round, which I then fried in some olive oil. Whether it was anything like the intended result, I don’t know, but it worked and each plate of stew was accompanied by some golden disks (as well as sauteed leek). Another couple of thumbs up for the book, which has definitely earned its place on my shelves.

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