I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Migas


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It is a Spanish traditional breakfast, which also can be eaten for lunch or dinner.
“Hacer buenas migas” (or literally: “to do good breadcrumbs”) means in Spanish to get along or to get on well with somebody.

Since ancient times, cooking together or to sharing food unites people. Migas is a delicious and ancient dish of the transhumant shepherds who reused the leftover stale bread by crumbling it and mixing it with oil or animal fat and water, adding a bit of the sausage or bacon and some garlic, in order to give flavor and consistency to the dish. If the shepherds ate together, it was an act of brotherhood and concord, since each one contributed something to that food. Some sources mention its similarity with the Arabic couscous.

It is well known in Portugal (migas alentejanas) and even in Mexico. In addition, some Spanish people used to eat migas putting it into their coffee. In this way, you have a sweet breakfast. Dishes of leftover bread exist also in Germany (Arme Ritter or Studentenbrot) or France (pain perdu). Studenterbrød or Romkugler (Rum balls) were originally invented by the Danish bakers who mixed leftovers of bread, cakes and pastry all together with cocoa powder and some rum and rolled it to balls. There is also a popular Bulgarian breakfast popara made of stale bread with some sugar, crumbed Bulgarian white cheese and butter and soaked with hot herbal tea. In Slovenia, they reuse the leftover bread to cook kruhovi cmoki (literally bread dumplings), similar to German Semmelknödel or Brotfrikadellen. Another possibility is to grill the old bread to Küüslauguleivad (ET) or to prepare the German Brotauflauf (bread-lasagne). The old bread is even suitable for preparing the traditional Russian and Baltic beverage kvass: kwas chlebowy (PL), gira (LT), kali (ET).

If “migas” was typical for the shepherds or farm workers before, this dish is now considered a gourmet plate.
Now the dish from breadcrumbs is not just the symbol of brotherhood between the shepherds anymore, but between nationalities.
So, let´s “do good breadcrumbs together”!



MigasMigas picture 2

• Crumbs of 1 loaf of bread
• 1 garlic bulb
• 1 tbs of paprika
• 200 grams of serrano ham or bacon
• 2 slices of bread for croutons
• 1 cup of olive oil
• Salt
• You can add any other vegetable or meat ingredients to your taste

• Wrap the crumbs in a moist cloth and leave overnight
• Cut the ham or bacon and bread slices in cubes
• In a pan with four tbs of olive oil, stir fry the ham or bacon and remove with a skimmer
• In the same oil add the garlic cloves without peeling, stir fry very lightly, remove from the pan and drain them
• Brown the croutons in the same oil and remove
• Add more oil if necessary, add a tsp of paprika and the crumbs, remove as soon as they have gained some color
• Add the ham or bacon and croutons







Written by Olga Koreneva. She was born in 1974 in Moscow. She was educated bilingually (German-Russian) and studied economics in Germany (FH Giessen-Friedberg) and Spain (Universidad de Extremadura/Badajoz). She lives in Spain and works as economist and translator since 2000. During the Bachelor´s and Master´s Translations studies from the University of Granada, she became a member of the University of Granada’s Terminology research group, Lexicon. She works as legal translator (certified translator) for German-Spanish and also as technical and specialised translator, interpreter, and terminologist for Russian, English, Italian and Portuguese for the humanitarian organisations and in the private sector. She also works as a language teacher. She possesses a PhD in Translation/Terminology (Subject: Psycholinguistic experimental study of Russian-Spanish terms) and has published articles about terminology and linguistics studies.