Chorizo en vino con cebolla – Spicy Sausage with wine and onion

Chorizo in Spain is not like the chorizo you used to be able to buy in England – it was the hard, dry variety, rather like a little salami. In Spain chorizo is sold fresh – it looks like a bright red sausage and if you buy it at the butchers it’s sold in strings. You will be asked if you want it “fresco o seco” “fresh or dry”. The fresh variety is like a recently made sausage and is for cooking on the “plancha” or in a pan. The drier will have been made a few days or weeks previously and can be sliced and eaten as it is, in the same way as a salami.

Chorizo con Cebolla (5)

It’s typical to buy a good supply and then hang some up for eating later and cook the fresh chorizo. I’ve noticed that in England, in some butchers at least, they are coming up with some wonderful and authentic tasting varieties of fresh chorizo, but if you can’t get hold of any, use your favourite sausage and add a little spicy pimentón to give it a warm Spanish taste.

This is a very typical dish served as tapas, with or without the addition of the onions. As we were still working our way through the onion glut, I did it with onions!

Ingredients (to serve as many as you like)

  • For every chorizo you cook, you’ll need about half a medium onion finely chopped and a splash of medium dry Spanish sherry

Slice each chorizo into 4-6 pieces and fry in a little olive oil until the outside is slightly charred. If you are lucky enough to have a terracotta cooking pot, use this as it really does add something special to the flavour.

Chorizo con Cebolla (1)

Remove the chorizo and put to one side. Add the onions to the olive oil (and the chorizo will also have released some oil) and if you are using it, add a little pimentón. Fry the onions until they start to soften, but not caramelize and then add the wine. Cook until the liquid has almost completely disappeared and the onions are soft and coloured from the juices.  Add the chorizo back into the dish and cook for a couple of minutes more until warmed through.  Normally you won’t need any seasoning as the chorizo is highly spiced and salted, but check to taste and adjust if necessary.  Serve with a glass of ice cold fino and plenty of delicious bread.

Smokey Pork Belly Strips with Roasted Vegetables

Pork belly is a big favourite in our house but from reading recipes and comments on other lovely blogs, I’ve realised that not everyone can get hold  of whole pieces of pork belly. In fact, in Spain I have to ask the butcher to not slice it up as it’s also more typical to sell belly slices.

Smokey Pork Belly (3)

Usually pork belly slices are barbecued in Spain but here in the UK in December the weather doesn’t really lend itself to outdoor cooking – not that I wouldn’t grab the chance if the weather was perfect at the right moment!

I wanted to use belly slices and to try to recreate some of the smokey flavours in my kitchen without setting off the smoke alarm and causing panic amongst the neighbours. Easy…use the oven Chica!

Ingredients (to service 2)

Turn oven on to almost the highest setting

  • A mix of root vegetables cut into large chunks (I used sweet potatoes, potatoes and carrots)
  • An onion cut into thick slices and about 6-8 whole garlic cloves
  • 6-8 pork belly slices
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked pimentón or paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Put all the vegetables with the onion and garlic into an oven tray, season, drizzle well with oil and mix to ensure all the vegetables are coated.

Rub the pork belly slices in the mustard powder and the pimentón and season lightly.

Cook the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Lay the pork belly slices over the top of the vegetables and continue to cook for about another 20 minutes or until the pork belly is browned and crisp.

Enjoy with a warming glass of red wine and if you have any vegetables left over, add some stock the next day, blitz and enjoy a delicious roasted root vegetable soup.

For another pork belly recipe, check out my Smokey Pork with Pimentón and Peppers or Crispy Pork Belly with Stir Fried Cabbage.

Speedy Suppers – Smokey Pork with Pimentón and Peppers

I do love alliteration don´t you?! Even more I enjoy a speedy supper dish which tastes amazing and looks pretty too.

Smoky pork & peppers (1)

If you don´t eat pork, this would be delicious too with chicken. It just wouldn´t be so alliterative.

Ingredients (to serve 2)

  • 1 pork fillet cut into small strips (or use a small piece of pork loin)
  • 1 pepper, sliced (I used an orange one)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced quite thickly
  • About 6 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked pimentón
  • A small glass of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons of crème fraiche (or use full fat yogurt)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive oil

Start by browning the little strips of meat in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When they are browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Now add the onions, garlic,  peppers and mushrooms into the same pan and cook gently until softened then turn up the heat slightly to give some colour to the onions.

Add the meat back into the pan and sprinkle over the pimentón and season.  Fry gently for a minute then add the wine. Turn the heat down and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes then turn the heat up for a minute or so just to reduce a little of the liquid.

Check to taste the seasoning, turn off the heat and stir in the crème fraiche. Delicious served with plain boiled rice and some green vegetables.

Popping Home Pimentón Pork Pot

Yes, I mentioned the “H” word. Home! Big Man and I arrived back Up our beloved Mountain in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Only for a week mind you. This weekend is our village fiesta, and it was time to touch base with family and friends and to pick up some warmer clothes for the English autumn weather.

Our last night in very rainy Bexhill was spent pulling staples out of floorboards, hammering in nails and preparing the floor downstairs in House Number One to be sanded and varnished in our absence. Well, it was easier than trying to varnish around two excited pups (who are staying with my parents this week and creating havoc in their home). We had also spent time at House Number Two knocking down an outside loo, dealing with most of the kitchen ceiling falling in and leaving things ready for the plasterer to do his stuff while we are in Spain. Hectic times.

Before the ceiling fell in…

To get us in the mood for being home again I cooked a delicious one pot (what else) pork dish, reminiscent of Spain with the flavours of smoky pimentón, olives and peppers. I made sure to make double so that when we get back, tired and hungry (as we inevitably are after a day of travelling) we´ll have dinner sorted.

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • 500g of cubed pork shoulder
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked pimentón/paprika
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Approx 150g olives (I used anchovy stuffed olives) sliced or halved
  • 1 ½ cups of your favourite or home made tomato sauce (yes, I made it!)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • A glass of red wine (optional, but of course I added!)
  • Water
  • Olive oil for shallow frying
  • Salt and pepper

Start by frying the pork until browned and remove from the pan. Then add the onions, garlic and pepper and cook gently until softened. Add the pork back into the pan and sprinkle over the pimentón. Now stir in the olives, the tomato sauce, the purée and the wine and season lightly. Bring to a simmer, cover (or half cover) with a lid and cook gently for about 45 minutes while you continue to pull staples out of floorboards (the stapling bit is optional).

If it starts to dry out too much, add a little water, depending on how saucy you like your dish.

When the sauce is rich and thick, and the pork tender and delicious, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve with rice or boiled potatoes or simply crusty bread. Pour yourself a glass of wine from that bottle you opened, pull the staple out that has embedded itself in your knee and relax.

And what did we do with our first day back? Take it easy? Heck no!

We dealt with the last tomatoes in our Huerto.

We met up with a cousin of Big Man´s to pick plums.

Then we went to a wine tasting last night.

Today we planned to attack our very overgrown garden and enjoy some sunshine, but it´s not to be. The weather here is as cold and rainy as Bexhill on Sea.

Time to dig out the winter woolies I think.

Gambas al Pil Pil – Sizzling Spicy Prawns

This is a hugely popular and typically Andalucían tapas dish or starter.  I have tried to find out the origin of the words Pil Pil and some say that it comes from an Arabic word felfel (I don´t speak Arabic so assume it has something to do with spice or chili).  Others say it comes from the sound the prawns make sizzling in the hot oil. I don´t know if either are true – I like both stories, almost as much as I enjoy making and eating Gambas al Pil Pil.

If you can get hold of good prawns (or shrimp) then this is a very easy yet impressive dish to serve to your guests. If you have a terracotta dish to cook them in, well that´s even better as it does add something special to the taste and the prawns stay hot and sizzling for a few minutes as you bring the dish to the table.

Per person for a good tapas serving you will need

  • 100g peeled prawns (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1 dried hot chili and/or half a teaspoon of hot pimentón – this is down to personal taste – crumbled
  • A fat clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • A good pinch of salt

About 2 tablespoons of olive oil (if you are doing a large serving, just use enough oil to half cover the prawns)

Start by putting everything apart from the prawns into a frying pan or terracotta pot. Turn up the heat and cook until the garlic begins to turn brown at the edges.

When you want to serve your dish add the prawns and cook at a lower heat until the prawns are cooked through then turn up the heat until they begin to sizzle.

Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the delicious chili oil. If served in a large pot or pan, it is traditionally served as a sharing dish. Everyone has their own fork and “prongs” their bread into the juices.

Serve with an ice cold beer, a chilled manzanilla or a crisp cool white wine.  ¡Buen provecho!

PS. No fear of me running out of chillis this coming year…the harvest is now safely stored and drying in the shed!