Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pimientos del Piquillos Rellenos de Carne / Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Ground Meats

I have never liked stuffed bell peppers, but this is different. The piquillos are a mild red chili from the Navarra region of Spain. These peppers are stuffed with seasoned beef and pork and dipped in egg and fried. The filling is best started the day before to allow the meat to marinate.

Whole piquillo peppers



  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • ¼ lb Ground Beef
  • ¼ lb Ground Pork
  • 1 tbsp Jamon Serrano, finely chopped
  • 1 Egg, whipped
  • 1 ½ tsp Fine breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • ¼ Onion, grated

Filling Mise en place
Front row: Ground beef and pork, onion, egg

Back row: Bread crumbs, parsley, Jamon Serrano, garlic

Making the Filling:

  1. Mash the garlic and parsley in a mortar and pestle until a paste is formed.
  2. Whip the egg until it has a uniform consistency and color.
  3. Combine meat, egg, bread crumbs, and the parsley and garlic paste.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Grate the onion.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  8. Sauté the onion and meat (breaking up the large pieces until done).
  9. Remove from heat and set aside allowing to cool.
Stuffed Peppers:
  • 5 oz. jar of Piquillos peppers (reserve brine for the sauce)
  • ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tblsp Milk
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • Cooked meat filling cooled to room temperature
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Reserved Piquillos brine
  • 1 ½ tsp Parsley, chopped fine
  • ¼ Onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp flour

Sauce Mise en place
Front row: Flour, garlic

Back row: Grated onion, parsley, olive oil, pepper brine

Creating the Sauce:

  1. With a mortar and pestle mash the garlic and parsley until a paste is formed.
  2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and parsley paste to the sauce pan.
  4. Sauté for a minute.
  5. Add the grated onion and stir in the flour to mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the pepper brine to the saucepan.
  7. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
  8. When a boil is achieved reduce heat to medium and simmer to thicken the sauce (about 20 minutes).
  1. Combine the egg and milk and whisk until combined to a uniform consistency and color.
  2. Rinse and dry the peppers.
  3. Stuff the peppers with the cooked ground meat mixture.
  4. Dredge the peppers with flour. Shake off excess flour.
  5. Dip the peppers into the egg and milk mixture and coat thoroughly.
  6. Dredge the peppers with flour again. Shake off excess flour.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  8. When the oil is just below the smoking stage, add the peppers (do in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan).
  9. Fry on both sides until the coating is golden and the filling is heated through (about four minutes per side).
  10. Sauce the serving plate.
  11. Place the finished peppers on the sauced plate.
  12. Serve.
Frying the stuffed peppers.

Finished and plated stuffed peppers.

Shirlee – Loved It
John - Liked It
Do Again – Yes
Leftovers – None

What I'll Do Next Time
Like most Spanish cooking this is mild on the seasoning side. We like a little more spice in our food. I may add some cayenne pepper to the filling to bring up the heat.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Calabacines Rellenos de Carne / Zucchini Stuffed with Ground Meats

Two things stood out for me when I read about this dish in The Cuisines of Spain. First, there are no peppers or pimentón. It seems to me if you use olive oil and a mild red pepper, you can call it Spanish. Second, the preparation called for grating the tomato. Grating tomatoes and onions seems to be a popular method in Spain.

I went to the kitchen section of the local mega market and was amazed by the types of graters. I liked one that was a box fitted with a snap on grater as the lid. I didn't get it as I already have a box grater, a micro plane, and cheese grater for hard cheeses. That's three graters on one boat and that's enough.

Mise en place
Front row: Olive oil, bread crumbs, Manchego cheese, grated tomato

Middle row: Hollowed out zucchini, ground beef & pork

Back row: Diced onion, diced zucchini pulp

  • 2 small Zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 oz/30 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Tomato, grated and skin discarded
  • 2.5 oz/70 g Ground Pork
  • 2.5 oz/70 g Ground Beef
  • 1 tblsp/3 g Fine Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tblsp/3 g Semi Curado Manchego Cheese, grated

Fresh from the oven.

Put It Together:
  1. Scrape out the pulp from the zucchini halves creating a little dugout canoe.
  2. Finely dice the zucchini pulp and reserve.
  3. Cut the tomato in half and grate each half. Discard the skins.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat.
  5. Add the olive oil, onion, and grated tomato to the hot pan.
  6. Sauté until the onion is softened.
  7. Add the beef, pork, and zucchini pulp to the pan.
  8. Turn the heat to high and break up the meat to small pieces.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Cook until the meat is crumbly and cooked.
  11. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  12. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini halves.
  13. Sprinkle the tops with the bread crumbs.
  14. Sprinkle the tops with the cheese.
  15. Bake for 30 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. This will firm up the filling.
  17. Serve.
Ready to eat.

  • Shirlee – Liked It
  • John - Liked It
  • Do Again - Yes
  • Leftovers – None
What I'll Do Next Time
I need to figure out a sauce for these little canoes to be floating in. Maybe a spicy tomato or a cheesy mornay.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Getting Stuffed

This week I'm going to see how far I can stretch a 400 gram package each of ground pork and ground beef with two "stuffed" dishes. The third stuffed dish uses canned tuna and spinach as the filling.

From Murcia - Calabacines Rellenos de Carne / Zucchini Stuffed with Ground Meats

From La Rioja - Pimientos del Piquillos Rellenos de Carne / Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Ground Meats

From Madrid - Canelones Marijos / Cannelloni Stuffed with Spinach and Tuna with Béchamel & Tomato Sauce

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lentejas / Lentils

I'd never had lentils and really had no interest in trying the little legume. In the markets of Spain a wide variety is carried. There are peeled, brown, green, and yellow. Given the obvious popular demand for lentils and that both of my Spanish cookbooks have recipes (and that Shirlee was lobbying for them), I bought a bag. I have prepared two dishes—one from each cookbook—and have decided that lentils will be a regular part of our cruising diet. It's always handy to have a one-pot dish for passages that provides a galley trifecta: it's hot, filling, and tasty.

After researching and cooking two lentil recipes, I've concluded that, like beans, lentils are a catch-all dish. Do you have sausage, ham, roast beef or chicken left over? Dice it and throw it in the pot with some onion and red bell pepper. Spice it with garlic, pimentón (paprika), salt & pepper, and sautée. Then add the lentils and water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm), bring up the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Done!

Portion Basics:
Lentils: Main course 100 grams per serving; side dish 50 grams per serving
Water: Add enough water to cover with 2 inches (5 cm)

Recipe #1 (from The Cuisines of Spain)

Mise en place
Front Row: Olive oil, sweet pimentón, salt, garlic

Middle Row: Onion, jamón serrano, dry white wine

Back Row: Dried lentils, tomato

  • 7 oz/200 g Lentils
  • 2 Tomatoes peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 7 oz/200 Diced Jamón (ham) Serrano
  • ½ cup/120 ml White Wine
  • ¼ cup/60 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp/8 g Pimentón (sweet or spicy)
  • 1 tsp/ 3 g Salt
  • 1 Whole Head Garlic
Put It Together:
  1. Put the lentils in a pot and add water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm).
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
  3. Add the garlic unpeeled.
  4. Simmer for 60 minutes.
  5. During the last 15 minutes of the simmer, heat a frying pan over medium high heat.
  6. In the frying pan, add the olive oil, onion and jamón serrano.
  7. Sauté until the onions are soft.
  8. Add the tomatoes, wine, pimentón, and salt.
  9. Sauté until the flavors come together and it is slightly reduced.
  10. Combine the contents of the frying pan with the lentils in the pot.
  11. Give a good stir.
  12. Serve.
Everything but the lentils simmering

Lentils simmering

Dinner: Lentils, tuna salad on a baguette, and a glass of the local red

Recipe #2 (from Menu del Dia)
I used Iberico ham hocks just because…how often do you get to do that?

Mis en place
Row 1: Lentils, eggs
Row 2: Carrot, potato, pimiento rojos (red bell pepper)
Row 3: Garlic, onion, bay leaf, thyme, & parsley
Row 4: Jamón serrano, Iberico ham hock, bacon
Row 5: Tomato, chorizo


  • 1 oz/30 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 5 oz/150 g Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 9 oz/250 g Carrots
  • 4 oz/110 g Bacon, ¼ inch (7 mm) dice
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
  • 250 g Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 7 oz/200 g Lentils
  • 4 oz/110 g Chorizo, ¼ inch (7mm) dice
  • 4 oz/110 g Jamón Serrano, ¼ inch (7mm) dice
  • 9 oz/250 g Iberico Ham Hock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Thyme Sprig
  • ½ tsp/1.5 g Cumin, ground
  • Parsley, chopped
  • 300 g Potatoes
  • Eggs, one per serving

Put It Together:
  1. Heat olive over low heat in a pot large enough for all ingredients plus 2 cups (475 ml) water.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, and carrot. Cook until onion is soft.
  3. Add bacon and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook 10 more minutes.
  5. Add the lentils, 2 cups (475 ml) water, chroizo, jamón serrano, ham hock, bay leaf, thyme, cumin, and parsley.
  6. Give it a good stir.
  7. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer.
  8. Simmer for 25 minutes. Check occasionally to add water if necessary.
  9. Poach eggs in the simmering pot just prior to serving.
  10. Serve the lentils in a bowl with a poached egg on top.

Dinner is ready


  • Shirlee - Liked It
  • John - Liked It
  • Do Again - Yes
  • Leftovers – Oh yeah, and we had them for lunch the next day

What I'll Do Next Time
As previously stated this is a catch-all dish. This will accommodate what leftovers I have, as well local ingredients. Given a prep and cooking time under 45 minutes, this will become a staple aboard Solstice.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tapas Time – Datil con Tocino / Dates Wrapped In Bacon

This is a popular and easy tapas. Grocery stores sell these ready for the broiler. We looked at a package of them at a local store, and I decided that I could make them better and cheaper.

  • Dates - Semi Dry (Pitted)
  • Cheese - Semi Curado Manchego
  • Toasted Almonds
Put It Together:
  • Cut the bacon strips in half crosswise.
  • Stuff the dates with almonds or cheese.
  • Wrap a piece of bacon around the stuffed date.
  • Secure the bacon wrap to the date with a toothpick.
  • Broil until the bacon is crispy.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Shirlee – Liked It
  • John - Liked It
  • Do Again – Yes, and it will become a standard cocktail treat with other cruisers.
  • Leftovers – None
What I'll Do Next Time
I saw a recipe that included serving them with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar with butter. The goodness just keeps getting better.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use For Romesco #3 – Chili Rellenos

We figured the last time I had chili rellenos was when we were on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It's been awhile. Mexican food is not popular in Europe, and when available it has been expensive (5 euro for a taco) and not that satisfying. I think if I had a taco truck in Amsterdam, I could make a lot of money from 2 euro tacos. (There are a lot of ex-pats there.)

Here in Spain the stores have a long green chili that resembles Anaheim chilies called pimiento de freir. This translates to chili to fry. It is mild with a thin skin, and Spaniards simply fry the chili in olive oil and eat it with salt. To me it looked like the perfect candidate for chili rellenos. For the sauce I added veal stock, onion, tomato, and tomato paste to some romesco sauce.

Chili rellenos ready to eat
Stuffed Chilies:
  • Chilies, 2 per serving
  • Tetilla cheese cut into 3 inch x ¼ inch strips (7 cm x 0.6 cm)
  • Flour, enough to dust the chilies
Batter (for two chilies):
  • 1 egg
  • 9 g All Purpose Flour
  • 150 g Romesco sauce
  • 200 g Veal stock
  • 50 g Onion cut into half rings
  • 10 g Tomato paste
  • 100 g Tomato, peeled & seeded

Put It Together:
Stuffing the Chilies:
  1. Steam the pimiento de freir until cooked.
  2. Cut a slit in the side and remove the seeds.
  3. Stuff cheese into the chilies.
  4. Set aside.
Preparing the Sauce:
  1. In a pot add the romesco, stock, onion, tomato paste, and tomatoes.
  2. Bring to a simmer and reduce to desired consistency.
Making the Batter:
  1. Separate egg whites from the yolks.
  2. Whip the whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
  3. Whisk the yolks until creamy.
  4. Fold the yolks and flour into the whipped egg whites.
Frying the chilies
Cooking and plating:
  1. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add enough olive oil for a depth of ¼ inch (7 mm).
  3. Dust the chili in flour and remove excess flour.
  4. Dip the chili in the batter coating the entire chili.
  5. Place the battered chili in the hot oil and fry 3 minutes per side.
  6. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to drain.
  7. Place the fried chilies on a plate and cover with sauce.
  8. Serve.
  • Shirlee – Loved it. Kept making that “mmm”sound all through the meal.
  • John - Loved It
  • Do Again - Yes
  • Leftovers – The plates barely needed rinsing.

What I'll Do Next Time
The same exact thing. Tetilla cheese melts to perfection and compliments the mild chili. Shirlee and I think it was on of the better sauces, if not the best, I've made for chili rellenos.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Use For Romesco #2 – Fideuá a Romesco Con Rapė - Pasta à la Romesco with Monk Fish

This is a dish I made up to use up ingredients from previous recipes. Basically it's pasta coated with romesco with monk fish poached in clarified butter. It worked very well. I know it's not Spanish to poach fish in butter, but it's yummy.

  • 120 g Fideuá
  • 200 g Monk Fish Fillets
  • 150 ml Romesco Sauce
  • 100 ml Fish Stock
  • 80 g Clarified Butter
  • 5 g Chopped Parsley
Put It Together:
  1. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.
  2. Combine the romesco and stock in a sauce pan, and heat and reduce to thicken.
  3. Heat the butter over low heat in a small pot to a bare simmer, and poach the fish until done.
  4. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.
  5. Stir to coat the pasta.
  6. Dish the pasta onto the center of a plate.
  7. Top the pasta with the poached fish.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  9. Serve.
  • Shirlee – Liked It
  • John — Liked It
  • Do Again – Yes, if I have the same combination of ingredients available.
  • Leftovers – None
What I'll Do Next Time
This is not a dish I'd go out of my way to reproduce, but I'd do it again with other types of fish or seafood.