June 17, 2017 11:15 am
Migas or Migas de pastor -breadcrumbs in English- is a special Spanish peasant dish spread also in other countries as Mexico or Portugal.
According to Bernard Rosenberger, at the time of Hispania under the domination of the Roman Empire, Celtic groups cooked bread fermented. The Puls and porridge, two roman specialities had the same preparation but not the same aspect. It might be considered as the precursor of Migas.
The author Francisco Abad says that Migas arrived in Spain during the 10th century with Al-Andalus (Muslim domination over the Iberian territory). It may has been inspired by the Arabic Tharid, a dish composed by bread, broth, animal fat and meat. The Arabic Tharid was an offering for distinguished visitors.Others say that Migas are the Spanish version of Couscous. In accordance with the Almohade manuscript of the 12th century, translated by the Arabist Ambrosio Huici Miranda, at first, the Couscous had crumbs. After, Berbers used wheat semolina. Indeed, while Muslin and Jewish used wheat semolina, Christians decided to make a distinction by putting bread in the Couscous.
In the 15th and 16th century, in the court of Felipe IV, Migas were a famous dish within the royalty, according to Martínez Montiño. The dish in these centuries looked like the actual one. Indeed, at that time, the pork meat was frequent in the cooking, a way to distinguish the Catholic dishes from the Arabic ones. 
In any case, Migas have humble origins, cooked with the rest of the hard bread, garlic and pork fat. The tradition comes from the shepherds who went to their goats and sheep felt asleep in majás (mountain shelters). In this shelter, they did not have fresh bread, therefore they used the rest of their bread to cook Migas.
Since the 20th century, extras are added to the composition, a popular one is chilli. However, the chilli has been incorporated into the Spanish gastronomy in the 17th century, when the first dry chilli arrived from America into the Province of Cáceres. The extras in Extremadura are bacon, chilli, sardines and chorizo, the whole fried in olive oil. In other regions such as Aragon even grapes or in Andalusia you can find flour in the dish. In Murcia and Almeria, it is usual to eat Migas during raining day.
There are eight famous types of Migas: Manchegas (area of la Mancha), Aragonesas, Andaluzas, Gachasmigas (Countryside of Cartagena and region of Murcia), of Almería, Extremeñas, a la Alentejana (Portugal) and Turriyones (Province of Zamora). Therefore, Migas are a simple dish, that you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is simple to cook it. My dad always says that you could eat the dry bread with milk for breakfast when the extras are ended, a way not to waste. In Fresnedoso de Ibor, the village which I go every summer, it is a popular dish in which everyone eats with the other such as in a barbecue. But also during festivities of the different villages for everyone or just to share a good moment with members of your family. In my family for example, we can eat Migas next to the river to spend good time together. This year also, for the local festivities of Piqueras, a village of the Province of Guadalajara, the whole village will eat Migas for breakfast as each summer. Migas symbolizes a moment of sharing.
Recently, I learned that in Mexico there is a distinct dish with the same name but the components are different.In Mexico, Migas are prepared for breakfast. In this version, bread is not used, instead Mexicans use stale tortillas. The preparation is simple and quick to do. You must fry the tortillas in oil. When the tortillas are gold, leave them to drain with a kitchen paper. In the pan add the extras as vegetables and spices. Once all is cooked, add the fried tortillas and beaten eggs. Stir continuously until eggs are cooked. You are ready to eat a great breakfast!
Migas a la Alentejana
Portugal was also inspired by this Spanish special dish. The idea is the same regarding the components. By the past, in the region of Alentejo, the population was poor, thus the gastronomy was simple but imaginative. The region of Alentejo is known for her acordás soups or bread soups. Migas are one of the most famous speciality of the region of Alentejo. People eat them in autumn and winter, because of its consistence. You should also try to fry the meat with bacon and garlic as in the Extremeña version. When the whole is fried, you only leave the fat in the pan, then you add the crumbs into this same fat, and fry the bread. At the time of serving, add the meat with the bacon and garlic.
To conclude, an app’ was created in Spain to allow to migueros, people who eat Migas to find a restaurant or individuals which propose it. The app’ is called “NiLasMigas”. Thanks to this app’, many foods are not wasted. This app’ may be useful if you are going to Spain and want to consume this specialty.
Written by Kelly Montes Mari, French Law student in Université Catholique de Lille – Campus Paris, under the supervision of Francesca Bisiani, lecturer in the FLD in Paris, Université Catholique de Lille.
Post prepared by Katerina Palamioti, Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.
 Rosenberger, Bernard: Diversité des manières de consommer les céréales le Maghreb precolonial: Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, 1994.
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