Posts Tagged With: spanish

Morcilla De Verano – Spanish-Style Aubergines

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Morcilla De Verano

A traditional vegan classic from the south of Spain, originally cooked to replicate Morcilla (black pudding basically).  You regularly see it served around Murcia, especially on tapas bar counters.  Its a great option for me in the land of jamon.  All Murcians know the dish and are rightly proud of it.  We’ve added some tempeh to the traditional recipe making it more of main event.  I love cooking aubergines right down with sweet onions and the addition of proper Spanish herbs and spices really pack a punch flavour wise.

Even though its called a ‘summer’ dish, we think this is great all year around.  Due to its slightly meat like texture, this is a dish to sate all.  We’re always trying to find dishes that will appeal to meat eaters aka most of our family and friends.  This is exactly what this dish was created for, people couldn’t afford meat and were looking for a delicious substitute.

You know, I love Spanish food and this dish really taps into the rustic heart of their magical range of cuisine.  Spanish food speaks of the land and culture.  It is the perfect expression of such a diverse land and for me, the cuisine of the South perfectly matches the arid plains and craggy red mountains.  Its rugged, its got bags of soul and it can take your breath away.

As some of you will know, my parents have a little place over in Murcia, Jane and I are regular visitors chasing the sun and the peaceful Med life.  This dish is based on a recipe passed to us from wonderful friends over that way, Fey and Jose.  It is actually Jose’s brother Andres recipe and he created it in an attempt to eat less meat (he’s a real maverick in the area, only 0.3% of Spain’s population are veggies after all).  I still have the little scrap of paper that he wrote it down on one night, for me that is real soul cooking.  This recipe is connected with so many memories of wonderful people and places, we can’t help but love it.  We have of course made our usual Beach House alterations, but this does not stray too far from Andres Murcian delight.  Gracias HombresX

Recipe Notes

Don’t be shy with the oil here, remember it is Spanish after all!  The dish should be slightly on the oily side which of course makes it very rich and satisfying.  After eating this for dinner Jane exclaimed “I feel like I’ve just eaten meat and two veg” rubbing her belly.  Always a good sign.

We decided that this is a star dish and very versatile.  It could be used to stuff a vegetable, a courgette or potato sounds perfect.  Of course, its great for tapas and picnics and is lovely even when served cold.

Buen Provecho!

The Bits

2 small aubergines

1 courgette

1 small onion (all three finely diced and kept seperate)

2 garlic cloves (crushed)

2 teas fresh rosemary (finely chopped)

2 teas sherry vinegar

2 teas sweet paprika

1/2 teas cinnamon

1/2 teas all spice

2 teas fresh oregano (finely chopped) or 1 teas dried

200g tempeh (or tofu)

1-2 teas sea salt

1 1/2 teas cracked black pepper

Olive oil (for frying)

 

Topping

2 tbs toasted pine nuts or almonds

 

Do It

This is a three part saute/ pan frying routine, meaning a number of stages until your meaty morcilla is just right.  The trick is to get everything nicely caramelised, bringing out maximum flavours.

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First saute, courgettes and aubergine

Start with your aubergine and courgette.  Add 2 tbs of the oil and warm on a medium heat in a heavy based frying pan.  Add the aubergine and saute for 8-10 minutes, until nice and golden and releasing some of their liquid, then add the courgettes and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.  This is the real flavourful aspect of the dish, the aubergines should be nicely browned and gorgeously sweet by this stage.  Set aside.

Next, your tempeh needs sorting.  Chop it up finely, it will resemble dried scramble egg.  Add 1/2 tbs of oil and saute for 5-7 minutes, until it is beginning to get brown around the edges.  Set aside with the aubergine mix.

Now, add 1 tbs oil, fry the onions in the same pan (wipe out if necessary).  Lower the heat if things are getting a little hot.  Stir, the onions should take 6-8 minutes to become golden, we don’t want to rush them and risk burning them.  Once they are golden, add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, pop your vinegar in to a big hiss.  Now it’s time to spice things up.

Add your paprika, all spice and cinnamon, saute for a minute, stirring all the time and not allowing the mix to stick.  Then add your herbs and the aubergine/tempeh mix to the pan.  Stir well and warm through for a couple of minutes.  Your ready for the plate.

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Warm through and enjoy the awesome aromas

Serve

In a warm serving dish, topped with some pine nuts and a sprinkling of paprika.

We served our morcilla with some steamed green vegetables (broad beans, runner beans and broccoli) with some pan fried lemon cabbage.

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Morcilla de Verano – looking good!

We Love It!

Really satisfying rustic style Spanish fare.  I imagine this is pretty close to Morcilla itself and cannot wait to try it out on some meat eaters.  Dads coming soon, one of our favourite guinea pigs.

Foodie Fact

Pine nuts are just incredible little things.  Now so expensive, but worth every penny as a treat item.  They can make a real difference to a dish, especially when roasted a little to bring out the flavour.

Pine nuts are full of vitamin A, so you’ll be able to see in the dark.  They have good levels of vitamin D, for the bones and are also rich in vitamin C and iron.  They are quite fatty, which is obvious when you enjoy them, but its mono-unsaturated fats.  Pine nuts are also packed full of energy, great on cereal for a morning buzz and fizz.

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Served with some blanched summer greens – Not bad for Thursday!

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Pimiento, Noras and Potato Soup

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A soup with a kick and a tickle that is bound to get you buzzing this winter. A real Sopa de Espana here, all ingredients coming from the Mazarron area.

Many people have asked what the heck we are doing going on a three month holiday. Who one earth do we think we are?!!!!!etc….. Well, we’re making soup; and other things. This soup sprang up from a little potter in the kitchen and rifle through the veggie box.  It’s not snowing in the bay, but it can get slightly chilly some night fall.

Here in Murcia, people are wrapped up warm, scarves wrapped around their faces and big thick coats are all the rage. It’s 18-24 degrees! It makes me smile and also admire the resilience of the good folk of Britain and other cold parts of the world. This soup is an offering from the Beach House Kitchen to all those shivering and sniffing their way through with a smile.

Noras are little dried red peppers sold all over Spain and normally used when preparing stews and soups. They add a lovely sweet, peppery tang to all they touch and remind me of the wonder food of Mexico, where the dried chilli is king. Dried peppers come in many shapes and sizes, some large black and sticky, some dark red and spicy.

Pimiento is another word for pepper, red pepper, we love it because it sounds so Spanish! We are lucky (we know this!) to have wild thyme growing in the ramble (dry river bed) below our home.  Splashing a little olive oil on the top of a soup really adds richness to proceedings, olive oil is of course ubiquitous with all things Spanish food. It’s crops up in biscuits, cakes, shower gel and even amazing crisps (crisps fried in olive oil seems so decadent!). We need alot of calories and fat in winter months when the body is trying to keep us from perishing! Olives lend a hand here. My friend Chris, who lives here swears by it and claims bread is ‘merely a vehicle for olive oil’.

The veg. stock we used here came from last nights dinner, the water used for cooking potatoes. Such a shame to throw it away, it is packed with flavour. Back in Wales, we’d blend this together with a hand blender, soups with potato in always blend amazingly well. They go very creamy and full. Here, we enjoyed the texture of the lumps and chunks, listening to Ravi Shankar (r.i.p. Ravi ji) and toasted our friends and family on the grey island, hoping they were all cosy and shiny.

Gorgeous Spanish Tomato

This recipe makes one big panful, enough for approx, 6 decent bowlfuls.

The Bits

1 onion (sliced), 1 stick celery (sliced), 2 large potatoes (firm variety/ cubed), 3 noras (finely sliced), 2 large tomatoes (skin them if you have the time), 2 heaped teas smoked paprika, ½ teas chilli powder (we used a fresh green chilli named ‘Pimiento Padron – Shepherds Peppers’. Que rico!), 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 teas fresh thyme, approx. 1 1/2 -2 litres good veggie stock, 1 big handful coriander, good extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.

Do It

In a large soup/ saucepan heat a little oil, begin to sweat off your onion. After the onion becomes glassy and soft add your noras and cook for 2 minutes, then add your paprika, thyme and finally your balsamic vinegar. This will begin to bubble and evaporate, stir well and get all the ingredients nicely involved with each other. If things get a little sticky and dry, add a splash of veggie stock to loosen things up. Season nicely.

Now for the potatoes and peppers, cook for 5 minutes until softened, then add you tomato and cook until the tomato has broken down and formed a sauce like consistency. Then add your stock and stir, bring to the boil and cover. Cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes are very tender.

Pimiento, Noras and Potato Soup

Serve

Piping hot, topped with a handful of coriander, a splash of olive oil (a la Espana) and big cry of ‘Buen Provecho!’ My thing with soups is, not too hot! Firstly you’ll burn your poor mouth and secondly the flavours come out a little better when the soup has cooled a tad.

We Love It!

Even though we are not freezing and are wearing our shorts, we know this soup would hit the spot in our little wintery cottage back home in Wales. A lovely tangy soup with all the joys of a fiery chilly kick.  Wicked winter warmer.

Foodie Fact

Paprika (or Pimenton) is a superb, bright red spice used in traditional Spanish cooking.  There are several different types of Paprika; namely spicy, sweet, smoked or combinations of the above.  Paprika is made from dried and ground red chillis, traditionally peppers were dried under the sun.  One of the finest areas for Paprika in Spain is Murcia, the region that we call home.

Jane under Spanish skies

Jane under Spanish skies, Puerto Mazzaron

Categories: Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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