Archive for category Spanish

Spicy Spanish Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash with chorizoSpaghetti squash is delicious, and I’ve already posted one recipe on this site that is an Italian version. This particular recipe for spaghetti squash is a more spicy Spanish version made with Chorizo. I recently made as a side dish when serving Paella.

The recipe also incorporates Manchego cheese, a sheep-milk cheese that also happens to be the most popular and tastiest of Spanish cheeses. It is made in the La Mancha region of Spain.

Many people cut and remove the seeds prior to baking spaghetti squash. However, I prefer to bake the spaghetti squash whole, removing the seeds once the squash is cooked.

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash

6 oz of chorizo, diced

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

3/4 cup Manchego cheese, shredded

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pierce the spaghetti squash all over with a fork or a knife. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. You will know when it’s done because a fork will slide easily into the flesh. Do not be concerned if the outside of the squash becomes browned during the baking. You’re not going to use the skin.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes. If you’re going to add the red pepper flakes (and I, of course, would not skip this), this is a good place to do it. Add your chorizo and garlic and continue to sauté. Add your salt and pepper to taste.

The squash should now be cool enough to handle. Cut off the top close to the stem, then cut the squash down the middle. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Take a fork and scrape the squash away from the skin and into the skillet. It will separate easily into long, spaghetti-like strands (hence, the name). Your squash is already completely cooked, so this is all about mixing the ingredients together, not about cooking the squash.

Add the chopped cilantro and the Manchego cheese. Stir completely and remove from the heat. Again, I urge you to taste the dish and adjust the flavor as you wish. If you think it needs more Manchego, feel free to add it. (Then again, I am admittedly a cheese-o-holic.)

Garnish with a touch of shredded Manchego on top.

This is a delicious side dish, but it can also serve as a great main dish with some bread, a salad, and some good wine.

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Paella Mixta

Paella MixtaI just perfected my recipe over the weekend. We had a celebration dinner for my sister, who just finished up a grueling schedule of straight chemo and chemo/radiation, so I wanted to make something very special for her and those who have helped her get through this. Paella is the perfect dish because it combines both meat and fish. It originated in the fields of a region of Spain called Valencia, which is on the east coast.

When I went tooling around the web way back when I first started to think about putting this together, I found one person who complained about a recipe being nothing more than “rice with stuff in it.” I started thinking about this and determined that it’s a perfect description for Paella. So, frankly, I don’t know what his problem was. It’s also a great description for Jambalaya (which I promise to add very soon, since I have a great recipe in my head for that).

I would recommend you purchase a Paella pan. You could, of course, use a large all-purpose skillet, but a Paella pan is just perfect and can be used for other things…like Jambalaya!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs. cut in 1-inch pieces

1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz chorizo cut into 1/4-inch slices and peeled

8 oz Serrano ham, diced

1/2 lb squid rings

1/2 lb langostinos (Chilean lobster tails)

20 mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 cup red. yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1.5 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

2.5 cups short-grained rice (Valencia preferred)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp smoked paprika

30 strands of saffron threads

2 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

Place the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of hot water in a bowl and all it it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to steep. Heat oil in a 15-18″ Paella pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, shrimp, ham, squid rings, and chorizo to he pan and cook until brown, remembering to turn occasionally. You don’t want it to burn. Remove the shrimp and squid rings to a plate, leaving the meats in the pan.

Add the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, chopped peppers and onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften. This should take about 6 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, saffron broth and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil over high heat.

Now, add the rice and distribute it evenly with a spoon. Add peas and return the squid rings to the concoction. Cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed a good portion of the liquid. This should take about 12 minutes. Your Paella pan will definitely be bigger than the burner, so it’s important that you turn the pan every couple of minutes to ensure that the rice cooks evenly. Do not worry if the rice “burns” a bit on the bottom. This is perfect. It’s one of the important things that happens with Paella. Adds to the incredible flavor.

Turn the heat down to “low” and add the reserved shrimp. Give the concoction one stir. Nestle the mussels into the liquid (hinge side down). Allow it to cook without stirring until the mussels have opened, the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is al dente. This should take about 5-10 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the burner and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. This is crazy good stuff.

 

 

 

 

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