Tag Archives: Spanish Food

Chicken Simmered with Red Bell Peppers and Pine Nuts

Cicken_with_Red_Bell_Peppers_and_Olives (1 of 1)We were in the mood for Spanish food again last night, and happened to have the typical Spanish ingredients on hand (onions, garlic, olives, red bell pepper, sherry, tomatoes, oh and did I mention sherry?) to make this quick, delicious, after-work chicken dish. To me, the hint of sherry in Spanish dishes is what gives them their uniquely Iberian, wonderful depth of flavor. A note on pine nuts — make sure you use only European pine nuts. I learned the hard way that Chinese pine nuts cause “pine mouth,” which is a bitter aftertaste that throws off the taste buds for days. I even read that the pine nuts that grow in Asia are not even edible! Anyway, I hope you’ll try this dish after a hard day’s work some night!

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced once down the middle, then sliced cross-wise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp dry sherry
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup pitted black olives, sliced once lengthwise
2 Tbsp pine nuts, nicely toasted in a skillet over medium heat
3 Tbsp yellow raisins

Sprinkle 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper over chicken.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken with slotted spoon and set aside.

Add another 1 Tbsp olive oil to pan. Stir in onions, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in sherry and cook another minute. Stir in wine, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, olives, pine nuts, raisins and the chicken. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve with saffron rice.

Serves 4.

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Chorizo with Chickpeas, flavored with Saffron, Tomato and Sherry Vinegar

Chorizo_with_Chickpeas (1 of 1)It’s Tuesday evening, and we’re in the midst of a blizzard here in New England. Blizzards are nice, but only on weekends. We have over 2 feet of snow in my town, and the wind is whipping it all over the place. The snowblower won’t start, so it’s going to be the shovel — ugh! Anyway, during the summer between high school and college, I went to Europe with a couple of buds of mind. We had Eurorail passes, and went to just about every western and southern European country. We spent a lot of time in Spain — exceptionally beautiful, including the people, but I was too immature to really appreciate the fantastic cuisine. Well, I’ve learned to love that food, and I have to say, it’s exceptional! Last night, I made this delicious dish, which has the key Spanish ingredients of saffron, chorizo, sherry and garlic (together with other great stuff). Serve with fresh, crusty bread, or steamed rice. I hope you’ll try this tonight!

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 tsp very loose saffron threads
2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 large cloves garlic, very finely grated or minced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
6 oz roasted red bell peppers, drained and sliced into 1/4 X 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, until brown. Add saffron and stir 30 seconds. Add chickpeas and stir 1 minute. Add the garlic, fennel, celery and roasted bell peppers. Stir 2 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar and stir 1 minute. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add tomato sauce and bring back to a boil. Stir in the salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Tapas-Style Meatballs (Albóndigas Pequeñas)

Albondigas1 (1 of 1)I think Spanish cuisine is one of the best in the world, but I don’t think I figured that out until well after I backpacked through Spain (with no money) right before college. It seems similar to Italian, but its flavors are quite different and distinct. One of my favorite Spanish culinary ingredients (besides saffron, of course), is sherry — it is commonly used in a variety of dishes, and it adds a fantastic depth of flavor. This delicious meatball dish is simple — it has the sherry, but I don’t think you’d be able to pick it out. So good, I hope you’ll try these tonight!

Albóndigas

6 oz ground lean ground pork
6 oz ground veal
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp olive oil

Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and very finely grated or minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp dry sherry
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the meatballs with one hand until well-incorporated and smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, and form meat into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and brown on all sides (I like to swirl and toss them in the pan so they brown evenly), about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Set aside.

Add the additional 1 Tbsp olive oil to same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 minute. Stir in wine and sherry. Turn heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the cayenne, salt, peas and meatballs. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer another 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Season sauce with additional salt, if desired. Serve as part of a tapas meal (serves 6), or as an entre with rice and a vegetable (serves 4).

Spanish Cannelloni (Canelones Rellenos)

Canalones1 (1 of 1)Although cannelloni are of Italian origin, canelones rellenos is a popular dish in Barcelona, Spain (thought to have been brought there by Italian migrants in the 19th century). With a unique use of herbs and sherry, the fantastic flavors of this dish are distinctly Spanish. These canelones are delicious, so I hope you’ll give them a try tonight!

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 1/2 oz ground beef
4 1/2 oz ground pork
3 oz chicken liver, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 leek (white part), chopped
3 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp sherry
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
9 oz dried cannelloni tubes
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
4 cups milk
4 oz tomato purée
1 cup grated parmesan or manchego cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add beef, pork, chicken liver, onion, leek, 1 1/2 tsp Canalones2 (1 of 1)salt and 1/4 ground black pepper. Cook 10 minutes, breaking up lumps with the back of a wooden spoon. Add sherry, thyme, diced tomatoes and 2 Tbsp of the parsley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cook to room temperature.

Using your hands, fill the cannelloni tubes with the meat mixture and place them in a 13×9-inch ovenproof dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil.

Meanwhile, make a white sauce by melting the butter in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the flour and cook 2 minutes, until you have a nice, pale yellow roux. Add nutmeg and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Gradually whisk in the milk. Return to medium heat and whisk constantly for 15 minutes, until thickened.

Pour white sauce evenly over cannelloni. Scatter dollops of the tomato purée over the top. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes, until lightly browned. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve.

Serves 6.