Pamplina is a very rich soup, highly aromatic and boldly flavored. And yet, the ingredients are simple and quite few. The cooking procedure is straightforward too so even novice cooks can make it. The secret is in the correct combination of ingredients and the slow simmering. And this soup requires patience — patience that gets well rewarded.
In Spanish, pamplina means trifle or something unimportant. This soup is made with inexpensive cuts of meat, scrap ham bones and vegetables. And I suppose that’s how it got its name. What really flavor this soup are the bits of smoky chorizo. And you don’t really need much because when the chorizo bits simmer along with the rest of the ingredients, they lend their flavor to everything else.
What its origins are, I have no idea. It appears though in a couple of cookbooks that purportedly feature Filipino cuisine. At first I thought the name was a misspelling of Pamplona and that’s where the soup originates. I have a strong suspicion that it is a local version of a Spanish soup but I can’t seem to find a reference anywhere to a pamplina soup in Spanish cuisine. So, whatever. I got interested in pamplina when it was served at a birthday party we attended two weekends ago and I promised myself I’d deconstruct it and make my version at home.
You’ll find a few references of pamplina soup on the web — recipes that use ox leg (pata), tripe and one that even includes hotdogs, the latter something I’d rather not include in mine.
- 70 grams smoky Spanish chorizo (Bilbao or Iberico, either is good), chopped
- small piece of ham bone
- 1 cup chopped cooked beef (scrap ham meat, if you have some, will probably taste better)
- 1 cup chopped cooked ox tripe
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups shredded cabbage (white cabbage or pechay baguio)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Saute the garlic and onion. Add the chopped chorizo, beef (or ham) and tripe. Cook, stirring, until the chorizo bits start to render their color.
- Pour in about eight cups of water.
- Throw in the ham bone.
- Season with a little salt (chorizo is salty and so is the ham bone so go easy on the salt) and pepper.
- Bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour.
- After an hour of simmering, add the bell pepper and cabbage. Simmer for another ten minutes.
- Serve the pamplina soup hot with crusty bread.
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