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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Use for Romesco #1 – Gambas y Calamar a Romesco / Shrimp & Squid à la Romesco

Finishing the romesco with fish stock and adding sautéed seafood is what this Catalonian treasure is all about.

Served on a bed of rice.

  • 1 cup/250 ml Romesco sauce
  • ½ cup/125 ml Fish stock
  • ¾ lb/300 g whole Squid
  • ¾ lb/300 g whole Shrimp
  • 2 tbsp/15 ml Olive oil

Whole small squid.

I asked for medium squid, but the fishmonger pointed out these and said, "Es muy bueno." I said, "." Good thing I did because "muy bueno" was a big understatement.

Put It Together:
  • Shell and clean the shrimp, saving the heads and shells for stock.
  • Clean the squid, saving the tentacles, and cut the body into rings.
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the olive oil, shrimp, and squid.
  • Sauté, stirring continually, until almost done.
  • Add the stock and romesco.
  • Continue stirring, and heat through and slightly reduce the sauce.
  • Serve.
  • Shirlee – Liked It
  • John - Liked It
  • Do Again - Yes
  • Leftovers – None
What I'll Do Next Time
The same exact thing. I'd like to get some scallops or fish fillets in there too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Romesco Sauce

Here in Cartagena I have seen the tapas Calamar a Romesco offered at several cafés. Calamar is squid and Romesco is a wonderful mild chili sauce that uses nuts and bread as the thickening agent. Without a food processor it is a bit of a pain to make. It requires much pounding and grinding with a mortar and pestle to make the base paste. However, it is worth it.

I can finish this sauce with fish stock and use it on sautéed seafood (post coming). I've also finished the sauce with veal stock and added onion and additional tomato for a chili rellenos sauce (future post coming). I may try finishing the sauce with a roasted chicken stock and use it to bake chicken with green chilies topped with Manchego cheese—that sounds good. The imagination goes on and on for what can be done with this yummy goodness from Catalonia.

This sauce freezes well. Prior to long passages I will make a batch and freeze it for use on fish we catch along the way.

  • 6 dried Choricero Chilies (soaked in hot water and flesh scrapped out)
  • ¼ cup/60 ml Olive Oil
  • 3 ½ ounces/100 g Bread (I've been using baguette)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, whole and peeled
  • 15 Blanched Almonds
  • 5 Blanched Hazel Nuts
  • 1 ½ tsp/5 g Salt
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tomato, peeled & chopped
  • ½ cup/120 ml Dry White Wine
  • 1 tbsp/10 ml Red Wine Vinegar
  • ½ tsp/2 g Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 cups Water (or stock of choice for intended use fish, chicken, etc.)
Chilies soaking in hot water

Mise en place
1st row—Red wine vinegar, olive oil, almonds & hazel nuts, and salt
2nd row—Dry white wine, garlic, and red pepper flakes
3rd row—Onion and processed chilies
4th row—Bread and tomato

Put It Together:
Remember I'm doing this on a sailboat without a blender or food processor.
  1. Place the dried chillies in a sauce pan and add boiling water to cover. Put on a lid and let soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the chilies and cut them open. Discard the stems and seeds.
  3. Scrape out the flesh with a knife and set aside.
  4. Assemble your mise en place (see photo above).
  5. In a frying pan heat half of the olive oil and fry the bread until golden (3 minutes per side). I cut the bread into cubes to make the mortar & pestle pounding stage a little easier.
  6. In a mortar combine the fried bread, garlic, almonds, hazelnuts, and salt.
  7. Pound until you have a paste (I have a small mortar and did this in batches).
  8. Add the chili flesh and pound until fully incorporated (the resulting paste should be slightly coarse).
  9. Heat the frying pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil.
  10. Add the onion and sauté until lightly golden (3 to 4 minutes).
  11. Add the tomato and salt.
  12. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the chili paste, wine, vinegar, red pepper flakes and water* or stock of choice. Give a good stir to combine.
  14. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  15. Remove from heat and pass the sauce through a food mill with a medium plate.
  16. Then pass through the food mill again with a fine plate.
  17. The sauce is ready to use hot or cold.
*Note: I used water and reduced the sauce down by a quarter. This is enough sauce for three, two-serving dishes. I refrigerate or freeze the sauce divided in thirds. When I use the sauce I add 1 cup/250 ml (or more) of the appropriate stock and reduce to the desired thickness.

Pounded paste in mortar

2nd pass through the food mill and done

Shirlee - Liked It
John - Liked It – I'm thinking “New Mother Sauce”
Do Again - Yes
Leftovers - None

What I'll Do Next Time
For now I'm going to keep the sauce as is and prepare it for use with different stocks according to the protein it is accompanying.

Leche Frita – Fried Milk

This is my first Spanish postres (dessert) and it worked well. I had never seen nor heard of fried milk prior to exploring the cuisine of Spain. I went to the Assistant Harbor Master, Julia, and asked her about leche frita. Once we got past my horrible accent and I was understood, Julia said, “Leche frita! Oh that's my favorite!”

Ready to serve

Leche frita is sweetened milk that has been cooked and thickened with flour and corn starch and flavored with a stick of cinnamon. The resulting custard is poured into a shallow dish and refrigerated. Once cool and firm the custard is removed from the dish and cut into squares. The squares are then dipped in flour, egg and then fried.

We went out for my birthday, and the restaurant served their leche frita with a shot of flaming anise liquor poured on top at the table. I sprinkled my own with cinnamon. I'm thinking that Grand Marnier would be good as well.

Recipe from Menu del Dia
  • 3 ½ tbsp/30 g Cornstarch
  • 7 tbsp/60 g All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup/120 g Sugar
  • 32 oz/1000 ml Whole Milk
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ cup/120 ml Olive Oil
  • Ground Cinnamon

Put It Together:
  • Brush an 8” x 10” (20 cm x 25 cm) dish or container with oil.
  • In a bowl combine 1 cup ( 250 ml) milk with the flour and cornstarch.
  • Combine the remaining milk and cinnamon stick in a saucepan put over medium-high heat.
  • When the milk comes to a boil, decrease the heat to low and add sugar.
  • Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove cinnamon stick.
  • Add the milk, flour and cornstarch slurry to the milk in the saucepan.
  • Increase heat to medium.
  • Stir continually for 20 minutes or until thick, creamy, and smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let cool for two hours to room temperature.
  • Refrigerate until cold.
  • Invert the pan on a cutting board releasing the custard from the pan.
  • Cut into 2 inch ( 5 cm) squares.
  • Heat ½ cup (ml 120) olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.
  • Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat until scrambled.
  • Working in batches. Dust each piece of custard with flour and shake off excess.
  • Dip each piece into the egg and coat.
  • Place the squares in the hot oil and fry for 1 minute per side.
  • Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve the leche frita warm or at room temperature sprinkled with cinnamon.

Chilled and ready to remove

Slab of milk custard ready for cutting

Cut into squares and ready for frying


  • Shirlee - Liked It
  • John - Liked It
  • Do Again - Yes
  • Leftovers - None
What I'll Do Next Time
I know the traditional method is to use only cinnamon, but to me it needed vanilla. Perhaps I'd serve it with a vanilla liqueur. One variation I've seen with this recipe is to add grated lemon zest prior to cooking the custard. Might do that as well.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Tapas and a Confit

A popular cut of pork in Spain is Escalopines de Lomo Cerdo, which translates to scallop of pork fillet. These thin sliced (¼ inch/7 mm) pork fillets are very versatile and tasty. This cut of meat is a little on the expensive side (€5.90 per kg/$3.84 per lb.), but with a 0.73 kg (1.6 lbs.) package we had three meals. Two of the meals were tapas, which served as the main course with other sides, and the third is a pork confit that will ripen in the refrigerator for the next two months.

Lomo del Cerdo Rellenas con Queso y Pimiento Rojo - Pork Fillet Stuffed with Cheese & Red Pepper

This tapas is a top and bottom layer of pork stuffed with cheese and strips of red pepper. It is then rolled, breaded and fried. For the cheese I used Tetilla. This is a soft white cheese from Galicia, which is the NW corner of Spain bordering the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay.

Tetilla cheese from Galicia

  • Pork Fillet Scallops (four per serving)
  • Tetilla Cheese
  • Pimiento Rojo/Red Bell Pepper (roasted, seeded, & peeled)
  • Flour
  • Egg (slightly beaten)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil
Fillets work-in-progress: finished and ready to bread (lower left), fillets with filling (upper left & lower right), out-of-the-package fillets (upper right)

How To Put It Together
  1. Lay out two fillets.
  2. On one fillet pile on the cheese and pepper.
  3. Lay another fillet on top.
  4. Pound the edges to join the two fillets and seal.
  5. Dredge the stuffed fillets in flour (shake off excess).
  6. Dunk the floured fillets in the beaten egg and coat evenly.
  7. Coat the fillets with bread crumbs.
  8. Rest the stuffed fillets for 20 minutes.
  9. Fry the fillets on medium high heat in olive oil for 2-3 minutes per side.
  10. Serve hot.
Crispy on the outside with hot gooey cheese and pepper in the middle

- Thin Pork Roll with Jamón Serrano
(cookbook: The Cuisine of Spain)

This is a very simple and tasty tapas from Andalusia in the south of Spain on the Atlantic. Anything with Serrano ham is by definition tasty. Jamón Serrano is a dry cured ham made from white pigs. I will have a future post devoted to the culture of jamón that is Spain.

Jamón Serrano

  • Pork Fillet Scallops (two per serving)
  • Jamón Serrano sliced paper thin
  • Flour
  • Egg (slightly beaten)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Olive Oil
How To Put It Together
  1. Place a fillet between a fold of plastic wrap.
  2. Pound the fillet to expand the width and length. Make the fillet 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) thick.
  3. Put a single layer of Jamón Serrano on top of the pounded fillet.
  4. Roll the fillet up and secure with a tooth pick.
  5. Dredge the rolled fillets in flour (shake off excess).
  6. Dunk the floured fillets in the beaten egg and coat evenly.
  7. Coat the fillets with bread crumbs.
  8. Rest the rolled fillets for 20 minutes.
  9. Fry the fillets on medium high heat in 1 inch (24 mm) olive oil for 2-3 minutes per side.
  10. Serve hot.
Crispy pork fillet rolled with dry cured ham

Complete dinner: boiled potatoes, sliced tomato with blue cheese dressing, and Flamenquin

Lomo de Orzo - Fillet of Pork Confit
(cookbook: The Cuisine of Spain)

This is another Andalusian recipe. Before refrigeration this is how cooked pork was preserved for several months. We will be eating the results of this test in two months. I'm very interested to see how this ultimately turns out. We have our Atlantic crossing passage planned for November/December 2010. It would be nice to have some tasty heat and serve meat available. For this test I used the remainder of our pork fillets. For “passage making” preparation I would use whole tenderloin cut into ½ inch (13 mm) slices.

  • Pork Fillets
  • Lard (equal amounts by weight of pork and lard)
  • Garlic (whole and peeled)
  • Thyme (fresh whole sprigs)
  • Bay Leaves
  • Oregano

Fillets with herbs simmering in lard

How To Put It Together
  1. Over medium high heat melt some lard and brown the pork slices on both sides. Lightly salt while frying (do in batches if necessary).
  2. Reduce to medium heat.
  3. Return all the pork to the pan.
  4. Add lard until the pork slices are covered in melted lard.
  5. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and oregano.
  6. Give a good stir.
  7. Let simmer in the lard for 15 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.
  8. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  9. Arrange the slices and herbs in a storage container and pour in the lard. The meat must be covered by the lard.
  10. Store in the refrigerator for several months

Ready to ripen for two months in the fridge

To use the pork confit I plan on removing the pork from the lard. Heat the slices in a frying pan and serve hot. I will also heat, strain, and save the lard for reuse.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cordero en Chilindrón – Lamb with Red Peppers

This is a braised lamb dish in a sauce of red pepper, wine, and stock. For my cut of lamb I'm using neck. Neck is a wonderful cut of lamb for stews. It has a lot of fat and convective tissue in the meat. This makes it perfect for a long, slow braising. The cartilage will dissolve into the cooking liquid, which adds body and silkiness to the sauce. Shoulder can also be used, but it is a leaner cut and the finished meat will be dryer.

Cuts of lamb neck

Pick A Pepper

You need a sweet red pepper, and Spain has four to offer. Dried, fresh or canned will work. If you're using fresh peppers, you need to roast, seed, and peel. With the dried peppers you will need to rehydrate by boiling in water for 20 minutes. Then you scrap out the flesh and discard the seeds and skins.

The choices in Spain are:

  • Choriceros (dried) are from the province of Vizcaya in the Basque region
  • Ñora (dried) are from the region of Murcia
  • Piquillo from the Navaro region in northern Spain are sold in cans roasted, peeled, and seeded
  • Pimieanto Rojo is like a red bell pepper and sold fresh at all major markets


  • 2 lbs./900 g Lamb neck cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm slices
  • 1 Yellow onion, diced
  • 60 ml/2oz Olive oil
  • 5 Choriceros peppers, medium size dried
  • 2 tablespoons/30 ml All-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups/350 ml Dry white wine
  • 1 cup/250 ml Lamb stock
  • Salt and Black pepper

Mise en place (left to right) Front row: Dried choriceros peppers, flour with salt & pepper, peeled garlic Middle row: Diced onion, olive oil, lamb neck. Back row: White wine, lamb stock

Hydrated and scraped choriceros peppers

How To Put It Together

Start by making the stock. Remove the bones from the meat. Roast the bones for 20 minutes at 350° F. Remove the bones from the oven and cool for handling. Then coat the bones with tomato paste and return to the oven for eight minutes. Place the roasted bones in a stock pot with ½ onion roughly chopped, 1 small carrot roughly chopped, sprig of thyme, two parsley stems, one bay leaf, and three crushed pepper corns. Add two two liters of cold water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for four hours; then strain through cheese cloth.

While the stock is simmering prepare the dried peppers.

When the stock and peppers are ready:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Saute the onion until translucent (do not brown).
  3. Remove the onion and reserve.
  4. Saute the whole garlic cloves until golden.
  5. Remove the garlic and reserve.
  6. Dredge the lamb in the flour, salt, and pepper, shaking off excess flour.
  7. Brown the lamb pieces in the hot oil (may need to do in batches).
  8. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
  9. Add the stock, peppers, onion, and garlic.
  10. Give it a good stir.
  11. Lower heat to simmer and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  12. Remove the meat and pass the sauce through a fine mesh strainer.
  13. Return refined sauce and meat to the pan and bring back to temperature.
  14. Serve with boiled potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Almost done

Plated and ready to serve

  • Shirlee - Liked It

  • John - Liked It

  • Do Again - Yes, with minor modifications

  • Leftovers - None

What I'll Do Next Time

Shirlee would like a leaner cut of meat so next time I'll use shoulder.