Porrusalda Recipe – Basque Comfort Food

Hello, my fellow food explorers! Today, we’re embarking on a delightful culinary voyage to the heart of Basque Country to discover the warmth and simplicity of “Porrusalda.” If you haven’t heard of this comforting Basque stew, get ready to be introduced to a dish that epitomizes the beauty of rustic, regional cuisine.

best Porrusalda recipe by the mediterranean fork

“Porrusalda,” pronounced “por-roo-SAH-ldah,” is a traditional Basque stew that has been nourishing both body and soul for centuries. This hearty and wholesome dish may not be as famous as some of Spain’s other culinary treasures, but it holds a special place in the hearts of Basque locals and anyone fortunate enough to savor its comforting embrace.

Imagine a steaming bowl filled with tender leeks, potatoes, and sometimes carrots or pumpkin, all simmered in a flavorful broth until they meld together in a harmonious medley of earthy and slightly sweet flavors. It’s the kind of dish that warms you from the inside out, making it the perfect antidote to chilly Basque evenings.

What makes “Porrusalda” so special?

 It’s a reflection of the Basque Country’s culinary philosophy – using simple, locally sourced ingredients to create a dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. In Basque cuisine, the focus is on letting the natural flavors shine through, and “Porrusalda” is a shining example of this ethos.

Porrusalda is a simple dish that speaks about comfort food, the kind that feels like a warm hug.

a bowl of Porrusalda

The Origins of Porrusalda: A Basque Culinary Treasure

To truly appreciate the warmth and heartiness of “Porrusalda,” we must venture into its intriguing history. This beloved Basque dish has humble origins, rooted in the culinary traditions of a region known for its deep connection to the land and the sea.

1. Ancient Roots: “Porrusalda” can trace its origins back to the Basque Country, a region in northern Spain known for its rugged terrain and maritime influences. The Basques have a long history of resourcefulness when it comes to food, as their cuisine has evolved to make the most of what’s locally available. 

2. Simple Ingredients: The name “Porrusalda” itself hints at its primary ingredients. Porru” in Basque refers to leeks, and “saldatu” means “to soften” or “to cook until tender.” Thus, “Porrusalda” is essentially a leek-based soup. Over time, potatoes and sometimes carrots were added to the mix, creating a satisfying and balanced combination of flavors and textures.

3. Historical Significance: While exact historical records may be scarce, “Porrusalda” has been a staple in Basque households for generations. It embodies the essence of peasant cuisine, where simplicity and frugality meet to create dishes that provide sustenance and comfort.

4. A Dish of Seasons: Like many traditional dishes around the world, “Porrusalda” is often associated with specific seasons. In the Basque Country, it is commonly prepared in the winter and early spring when leeks are in abundance and provide warmth during the colder months.

5. Cultural Importance: Beyond its culinary significance, “Porrusalda” holds cultural importance in the Basque Country. It’s a dish that brings families and communities together, often enjoyed during gatherings and celebrations. Sharing a bowl of “Porrusalda” is not just about nourishing the body; it’s about strengthening bonds and preserving traditions.

Today, “Porrusalda” continues to be a cherished part of Basque cuisine. While it may have evolved and adapted over the years, its essence remains firmly rooted in the land, history, and culture of the Basque people. Whether you’re in a bustling Basque kitchen or your own home, savoring a steaming bowl of “Porrusalda” is like taking a journey through time and tradition, connecting you to the rich tapestry of Basque culinary heritage.

So, keep reading to find out all the details, trips, and tricks to replicate this delicious recipe like a local no matter where. 

ingredients needed to make the Porrusalda

How to Make Porrusalda

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

To make Porrulsalda, you’ll want the following equipment on hand: 

  • Cutting board
  • Potato peeler
  • Medium-sized pot
  • Measuring cups and spoons

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 leeks
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 white onion 
  • 1 big carrot
  • 2 cups pumpkin (around half a butternut squash)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (or to taste) 
  • 5 cups chicken stock

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

1 — Prep the leeks by removing the outer layer and chopping the roots and a bit of the base, and also the deep green top. Make a lengthwise cut on the top to make sure you can clean all the possible debris and dirt trapped inside. Once cleaned, cut into wheels. 

Prepping the leeks and other ingredients

2 — Peel the onion and slice thinly. Peel the carrot and cut it into wheels. Peel the butternut squash and cut into chunks. 

peeled and sliced ingredients for the Porrusalda

3 — In the pot or pan, add half of the oil and saute the sliced onion with a bit of salt on medium-low heat until it turns soft, translucent, and fragrant. 

sautéed onions

4 — Add the rest of the veggies into the pot or pan and mix well. 

adding the veggies into the pot

5 — Cover with the chicken stock and cook on medium-low for 30 minutes until the potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash are tender. 

adding chicken stock to the veggies
top view of the Spanish stewed leeks

6 — Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil. Que aproveche! (Enjoy your food)

Porrusalda in bowl and pan

Notes and FAQs

Still with doubts? Don’t worry, we spill all the tea about ingredients, cooking methods, storage, etc. in this section so you can reproduce this recipe like a local. 

Cooking method: 

Porrusalda is a super simple dish to make at home, and every time you make it, it is a 100% guarantee of success. The only consideration to have would be to not skip browning the onion since this step gives more depth of flavor to the dish. 

When it comes to chicken stock, you can either use homemade or storebought with equally good results. 

Make sure to not overcook the veggies, otherwise, they can rapidly turn into mush. 

Storage: 

Porrusalda can be stored for up to 5 days in sealed containers in the fridge. I do not recommend freezing it, since it contains potato, and potatoes tend to defrost weirdly. 

Ingredients: 

These are the notes on the specific ingredients used in our version of the Porrusalda recipe and also the substitutions in case you cannot find or use any of them. 

Please note that some versions of this dish only include carrot instead of carrot and butternut squash, and others also include cod. Feel free to adapt to your preference. 

  • Leeks: the main star of the show, so I don’t recommend substituting them with any other similar veggie. Make sure to choose fresh leeks and clean their tops well; otherwise, you risk your Porrusalda to contain dirt in it. 
  • Potatoes: You can add more or less of this, but a couple of potatoes at least is a must. 
  • Carrots: same with carrots. This veggie was included in Porrusalda as a way to introduce more color and sweetness.
  • Butternut squash: you can add any kind of squash or pumpkin to porrusalda, just make sure the ratio is higher on leeks and lower in the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Onion: You can use any kind of onion. White onion is simply the traditional way to do it. 
  • Olive oil: As in any Spanish recipe, olive oil is a must. If possible, cook it and dress it with a good extra virgin olive oil. Since Porrusalda is that simple, extra virgin olive oil helps the flavors of the veggies shine.
close up shot of Porrusalda
best Porrusalda recipe by the mediterranean fork

Porrusalda Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote
"Porrusalda," pronounced "por-roo-SAH-ldah," is a traditional Basque stew that has been nourishing both body and soul for centuries.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Spanish

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Potato peeler
  • Medium-sized pot
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients

  • 5 leeks
  • 4 potatoes medium
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 carrot big
  • 2 cups pumpkin (around half a butternut squash)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 5 cups chicken stock

Nutrition

Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 1349mg | Potassium: 1698mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 9354IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 5mg
Servings: 4
Calories: 496kcal

Instructions

  • Prep the leeks by removing the outer layer and chopping the roots and a bit of the base and also the deep green top. Make a lengthwise cut on the top to make sure you can clean all the possible debris and dirt trapped inside. Once cleaned cut into wheels.
  • Peel the onion and slice thinly. Peel the carrot and cut it into wheels. Peel the butternut squash and cut into chunks.
  • In the pot or pan add half of the oil and saute the sliced onion with a bit of salt on medium-low heat until it turns soft, translucent, and fragrant.
  • Add the rest of the veggies into the pot or pan and mix well.
  • Cover with the chicken stock and cook on medium-low for 30 minutes until the potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash are tender.
  • Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil. Que aproveche! (Enjoy your food)
KEYWORD: porrusalda recipe
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Born and raised in the Southeast of Spain, Alba is a photographer and a foodie. Always hungry for new flavors and recipes but with a big passion for traditional recipes that speak about roots and family. You can always find her talking about food, photographing it, or cooking! Obviously, she is team “Tortilla de patatas con cebolla”. Her favorite dishes are "Arroz de Conejo" and "Gazpacho".