EuroCup 2016. Spain: The key is on the traditional ingredients
June 13, 2016
La Roja are the incumbents again and their plan to dominate the European scene is based on quite a few players that are going to face a tough challenge in the way of their third continental title in a row.
After Brazil 2014's frustrating experience, Spain will defend their crown without some important players after the retirement of David Villa, Xavi and Xabi Alonso. The three of them played important roles during the period that saw them winning two Euros with a World Cup in between but right now, there are more questions than answers in the Spanish camp.
While Vicente Del Bosque is peeling the daisy to decide the name for position number 1, choosing either Iker Casillas or David De Gea are not the only problem to be solved by the 65-year-old coach. Lacking a go-to striker, not few experts believe that Cesc Fábregas is going to play again as false 9 with the Chelsea player also in the odds to be the third midfielder joining Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta, Spain's most important player for this tournament.
The FC Barcelona captain is not just the creative mastermind of the team but the country's most decorated and the 2010 World Cup Final hero after scoring the winner during extra-time against Netherlands. Koke and Thiago Alcántara are the other candidates for that spot. Meanwhile, Pedro and Nolito are the ones to grab for the left-wing position with David Silva in charge of the other side in attack. Del Bosque also have a brainbraker to choose his upfront man between Aritz Aduriz and Alvaro Morata.
After qualifying with the best defensive record with eight consecutive clean sheets in the wake of the 2-1 slip against Slovakia, we must say that Spain have a fortress in their back line with Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué as centre-backs, combining efforts with Juanfran and Jordi Alba as right and left-back respectively.
The talent is there though and if they manage to score first, Spain will be a difficult side to beat.
The spine of the team is still based in members of the most successful clubs in La Liga, Barcelona and Real Madrid and this could be again the key to lifting another trophy.
This dish could be considered the most international "tapa" from the Spanish capital, Madrid. So why not give it a try as Del Bosque should do with some of the new talents.
Callos a la madrileña or Tripe with Chickpeas
500g tripe (Callos)
1 garlic clove
½ Litre chicken stock
5 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 onion chopped
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 spanish sausage (Chorizo)
1 black pudding (Morcilla)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp. flour (optional)
½ to 1 can of chickpeas (Garbanzos)
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the tripe for about 5-10 minutes in some water with the juice of the lemon, rinse thoroughly and drain well. Then cut it into squares.
In a large, heavy-based pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic until transparent. Stir in the paprika, then the pancetta, chorizo, morcilla and finally the tripe. Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil and stir in the tomatoes and cook over a very low heat until the tripe is tender. In my experience, it has been ready in about an hour. If you want to thick the sauce a bit, dissolve the flour in some water and pour it into the pot.
Once it is ready, stir in the garbanzos seasoned to taste and heat through for about 5-10 minutes.