It’s over, the party’s over…it’s time to call it a day! Well, I guess I wouldn’t call the olive harvest at Casa Tyr a party, exactly, but we did have guests, food and beer, and there were some laughs!
So what’s up? Well, for the first time ever, Kenton and I decided to hire help to collect the harvest this year. There were several reasons for this, namely
- The dreaded repilo is making its way to our area. This is a fungus that hits olive trees, and causes the olives to shrivel and turn hard – already some of the groves in the valley below Yunquera have been hit by this fungus. So we were keen to harvest before our own olives were hit.
- The trees were chock full of olives, so we were keen to get them in before the January winds hit.
- It seemed reasonable to give employment to guys in our area if we could.
So we did it. For me, it was a hard call. The reasons were all good, no doubt about it. But for the past 9 years, Kenton and I have done all the work here ourselves, including the harvest – and it hit my pride a bit to change things.
I did try to help with the harvest, and managed to work in the field every day. But the two Miguels were there every time I picked up a net, or shook loose some olives – it was their job to work, and they didn’t want me lifting a finger. (They worked like madmen, and we picked the entire harvest in 4 days!) So I did what I could. I went behind them and cleaned the remaining olives from the trees. I did all the other chores of the house, getting firewood in, making the fire and so on. I did all the errands, I made Lujos, I bought bidóns for the pressed oil.
And I cooked – boy did I cook! In the way our old friend Manuel taught us all those years ago, we provided a big lunch for our workers. Working outdoors all day, they worked up a hunger, too! I don’t think I’ve ever peeled so many potatoes! I cooked all the old favourites – cazuela, arroz, patata frita con chorizo, the lot – all one-pot dishes that are designed to fill you up and give you energy, so that you can push beyond the fatigue. They were superb dishes, and much appreciated, I think. Here’s one of the recipes.
This is actually “paella”, but Manuel says if it contains meat, it’s arroz, not paella. I tend to think he made that up!
1 small jar piquillo peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 large jar tomatoes
500 g paella rice
400 g chicken breast, cut into pieces
200 g chorizo, cut into pieces
1 litre chicken stock
1 glass full white wine
2 tsp Spanish paprika
lemon and rosemary to garnish
A paella pan is best for cooking this dish. Cook the chicken pieces in the olive oil part through, and remove from the heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the tomatoes, and cook slowly over low heat until the mixture turns a dark red and looks very rich.
Add the piquillo peppers and chorizo and turn a few times. Add the stock; when hot, add the wine and the rice. Stir occasionally until the rice is almost cooked; add the chicken pieces and cook a further 5-10 minutes.
Serve hot, garnished with lemon slices and the rosemary sprigs.