Tag Archives: spanish food

pollo de corral asado*…

*…free range chicken casserole…

Time for another of my Mum’s classic and timeless recipes, honed to perfection over nearly 60 years as a professional chef.

Carne Asada is a classic Spanish dish, a kind of meat casserole if you will. You can adapt this recipe to pretty much any kind of meat but for today’s purpose we will be using pollo or chicken. This recipe also works well with lamb, beef, veal and rabbit. The meat should always be portioned into big chunks and it should always be on the bone. No weights and measures in this recipe, just use your common sense. The chicken we use is our own, corn fed, organic and free range, but if you can’t run to that, this recipe will make a regular supermarket chicken taste pretty darned good…

THE RECIPE

The night before:

Marinade your chosen meat in some good olive oil, black pepper, plenty of garlic, fresh chopped parsley some decent white wine or dry sherry and even a splash of brandy if you are feeling fancy. No salt tho, that will be added later during the cooking process.

The next day:

Remove meat from the marinade and brown it in a large frying pan. You should take your time with this process and really get the meat good and brown all over as this caramelisation is where a lot of the flavour will come from.

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Meanwhile in another large pan, start to gently fry some roughly chopped onions and red pepper and garlic. When your meat is good and brown you can add it to the onions and pepper pan. Deglaze the frying pan with some good meat stock and add this to the chicken along with some saffron, dry sherry, a splash of brandy and more stock till the meat is just covered with liquid, simmer for a few minutes and then add salt to taste.

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You can then put the pan with a lid into the oven (or keep it on the hob) and allow to simmer gently till the meat is tender, depending on the cut and type this could take anything from 45 minutes to a couple of hours. Add a little more stock if you need to during this process.

When the meat is cooked remove it from the sauce and keep it warm in a dish. Meanwhile. Add some peeled potatoes and carrots (both cut into big chunks) and add them to the delicious meaty sauce. Simmer gently till they are cooked. The potatoes will take on a lovely golden colour from the saffron and will be super tasty. 10 minutes or so before the veg is cooked you can add some thick slices of red pepper for garnish and colour. Once your veg is cooked put the meat back into the pan and make sure it is thoroughly warm.

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Serve with big hunks of bread to soak up all those lovely juices. This is an absolute Spanish staple and is really worth the trouble. As ever thanks to Carmen, my mum, a genius in the kitchen and semi legendary round these parts for her cooking prowess!

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other foody posts on this blog:

pollo de corral asado  nadars coffee and general stores upgrades like buses and a lot of food fabada con almejas/beans and clams preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

fabada con almejas/beans and clams…

We need to talk about food so it’s time for another recipe from my mum…for those who don’t know she was a professional chef for 50 plus years, now in retirement she still lives to cook and i for one am not complaining! Here is how she makes Fabada con Almejas or Beans with Clams, it’s rich deep and unctuous in flavour and always has to be eaten with really good crusty bread.

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Into a large pot put:

1 large onion cut in half, 1 large leek cut into 2 or 3 big chunks, 2 big carrots cut into 2 or 3 chunks each, 3 large peeled but whole cloves of garlic, a good glug of virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper and 750g (or thereabout) of dried white beans (soaked overnight) *

Add plain cold water, enough to just cover the contents in the pan, add some saffron and put to boil,  (adjust seasoning to taste) and cook until the beans are almost tender**. When the big chunks of vegetables and garlic are soft, fish them out and liquidise them in a blender with a little of the bean liquid and/or cooked clams liquor (see below). Put the thick veg puree back in the pan with the beans to thicken the sauce. Meanwhile fry some sliced garlic in a frying pan with lots of olive oil, when the garlic begins to be golden, take off the heat and allow to cool a little, add a teaspoon of Spanish sweet paprika, stir it in and deposit the oily mixture into the pan with the beans. Add a little chilli at this point (flakes or powder).

While the beans are cooking:

In another pan pour in a little cold water and add some salt, a bay leaf and washed clams (anything from a half kilo to a kilo) NO wine necessary. Put on the hob and bring to the boil, cook till the shells are open and remove from the heat. Drain and reserve the (sieved) liquor from the clams. Add the clams to the cooked bean stew and add as much of the clam liquor as you need to loosen up the sauce. Cook altogether for a couple of minutes to amalgamate nicely and make sure the beans are fully cooked. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Sounds a bit more fiddly than it is and it’s really REALLY work the bother (and it’s not that much bother!)

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*about those beans…well it’s easy if you are in Spain, you just use Asturian fabas/beans i think you can find them in the UK  if you look hard! Don’t use Judion beans, ‘cos the skins can be a bit tough. Basically you need a big fat white dried bean that has been soaked overnight… but don’t use butter beans…they are not robust enough and they will beak up in the cooking process. The quest is yours!

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** how long to cook the beans? in the photos above mum used her own beans fresh from the garden so it took less than half an hour till they were tender, but if you are using pre soaked dried beans it can be anything from 45 mins to over an hour, you just have to keep checking them.

other foody posts on this blog:

preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

lebre con castañas…

LEBRE CON CASTAÑAS (HARE WITH CHESTNUTS)

As i have mentioned in the past, am a firm believer in being able to deal directly with whatever it is you choose to eat…especially meat. My mum (a professional chef for more than 50 years now) was given a brace of wild hare recently and this is how she chose to deal with them.

OVERNIGHT
Having already been hung for a few days for the meat to mature, you must skin your hare (it has already been gutted – you do this in the field directly after you have killed it – just as you should to with venison). You split the skin at one hind leg and run the slit along to the other back leg, cutting off the tail as you go…then you pull the skin down, this should allow you to pull it all off with a bit of effort right down to the head. I am for chopping off the head personally, in the butchers where i sometimes live in Italy they like to display their rabbits skinned, head in tact, with eyes…well it’s all a bit too David Lynch even for me!

So, now you joint your hare and marinade it overnight in some good olive oil, white wine (v important that it’s white for the marinade as it helps to draw any remaining blood from the hare), red wine, fresh parsley, chopped onion, carrot and celery and some black pepper…

NEXT DAY
Shake off the marinade and roll your jointed hare in some seasoned flour and brown well in a heavy based frying pan.

In another roomy casserole gently saute some chopped onion, leek, garlic, celery, carrots and red pepper till softened. Add your browned meat to the casserole, meanwhile de-glaze the frying pan with some dry white sherry (Tio Pepe is excellent), some red wine and add a tablespoon or so of the seasoned flour mixture along with a tablespoon of sweet Spanish paprika.

Add this to the casserole along with some good stock and allow to come to the boil, salt to taste and  place in a slow oven for around 2 and a hall hours or until the meat is tender.

When the casserole is almost done you can add a generous splash of port to the dish along with some whole chestnuts (frozen are fine) cook for five minutes and then garnish…

Garnish the dish with croutons made from bread and potatoes…

other foody posts on this blog:

callos a la gallega

ossobuco vs xerrete

in praise of colombian food

restaurant still lives

few flowered recipes

first forage of the season

nose to tail and farajullas

flloeira

cocido gallego

albariño wine genius

chorizos

returning to the matanza

chocolate con churros

pani puri sunday

cicchetti tea-break

baracca

empanada

revelations in a milanese restaurant

further adventures in foraging

cooking the haul

foraging2

foraging

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano

food as a diffusion…

Here in UNIDEE we talk about food a lot – remember that most of the time, we share a table 3 times a day…for 4 months! It can be a little much some times…once you have left home you simply don’t share so much time – all the time – with the same people…

(escalibada – roasted aubergine, peppers and onions in a garlicky dressing)

Especially at the beginning of the residency food is something we all have in common, something we all can talk about…we talk about the differences, our eating habits…our national culinary peculiarities…the Philippine love for bannana ketchup…

(preparing the sangria – the vodka gives it that extra “kick”)

I have to say though, that preparing food together and then sitting down to eat it has to be one of the most satisfying group activities available. During times of stress it can diffuse (at least temporarily) tense situations. Right now, three quarters of the way through this 4 month residency, things can get pretty tense, people get pissed off, impatient…normal stuff… However for one night at least, all this can be forgotten. On this particular occasion it was the turn of the Spanish contingent…who went off to the cafeteria to prepare a dinner of iberian delicacies. Four of us cooked gazpacho, tortilla, croquetas de pollo, escalibada, pulpo a la gallega, calamares and pan tumaca all washed down with a delicious but deadly sangria. Two hours of frenetic kitchen activity followed by a long evening shared around the dinner table…Life for those few hours at least was pretty good though i say so myself…

(pulpo – octopus, is first boiled till tender to prepare pulpo a la gallega – full recipe here)

(thanks to Aleksandrija Ajdukovic or the photos on this post – ‘cos i was too busy cooking!)

other foody posts on this blog:

empanada

further adventures in foraging

revelations in a milanese restaurant

cooking the haul

foraging2

foraging

more foodie questions

foodie questions

nose to tail,

(s)light relief,

pulpo a la gallega

the matanza

morcilla and dying arts

jamòn serrano