Serra’s gastronomy is the typical from València, but it also offers particular, simple dishes that have been passed from parents to children. It is food adapted to its environment: the most traditional dishes are olla amb bledes (chard stew), sopa coberta (a hot soup with chicken giblets and bread) and olla amb carabassa (pumpkin stew). L’olla amb carabassa is a simple, traditional dish that is making a comeback thanks to a national cooking contest for professional cooks. This contest takes place on the first Monday of May and it has been named after Vicent Granero, a well-known chef from Serra. This gesture honoured his work and interest in recovering this particular dish.
And speaking of rice: not many towns can say they have seven different restaurants where traditional Valencian paella is cooked over a wood fire. Serra is a place when you can taste a wonderful paella cooked over wood fire within the incomparable setting of the Calderona mountains.
And for those with a sweet tooth: in Serra you can taste rotllets d’anís i mistela (sweet rolls made with anis and sweet wine), coques cristines (a light sponge cake made with almonds and wafers), coca de llanda (the traditional Valencian sponge cake), coca de nous i panses (a sweet bread with nuts and raisins) and, of course, orelletes (a sweet, anis-flavoured flat pastry fried in oil), the most popular sweet for family celebrations. Orelletes are usually eaten with homemade honey. Cherry is the most popular fruit-crop in Serra. Although its production in town has decreased, Serra’s cherries are high quality.
Recipe for olla amb carabassa
Ingredients (for 6 people):
5 litres of water
600 grams of pumpkin, diced (you need to wash it first and remove the seeds)
300 grams of rice
300 grams of potatoes, peeled and diced
300 grams of turnip, peeled and diced
200 grams of beans, which should have been soaking in water since the previous night
150 grams of onion
2 teaspoons of sugar
A few strands of saffron
Food colouring (powdered, yellow)
Method: heat a pan with a bit of oil, and add four garlic cloves, peeled and sliced, and 150 grams of onion cut in small quarters. When the onion becomes translucent, add a teaspoon of paprika and a grated ripe tomato.
Stir-fry for a while and then pour into a mud casserole. Add the water and the beans and leave to cook for about 45 minutes. Time varies on how fast the beans cook. Then add the pumpkin, the potato and the turnip, and leave it to cook for 10 more minutes. Then add the rice and continue to cook 15 minutes longer, stirring the pot continuously until the rice is cooked. Season with salt and serve.
The consistency of this dish is rather dense. It can be eaten cold.
In the past, when the vast majority of people from Serra would work in the mountains during the whole day, this dish was prepared at noon to be eaten for dinner, typically cold.