May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Soups, Vegetables, Starches, and Legumes Thread
Please use this thread to discuss Soups, Vegetables, Starches, and Legumes from the following chapters:
Food of Spain - Soups, pages 169 - 193
Food of Spain - Salads and Vegetables, pages 225 - 295
Food of Spain - Rice and Pasta, pages 439 - 481
Food of Spain - Beans and Chickpea Stews, pages 483 - 499
Moro - Soups, pages 53 - 76
Moro - Rices, pages 159 - 176
Moro - Vegetables, pages 227 - 246
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Patatas Bravas – p. 232 Moro
Who doesn’t love Patatas Bravas? This is one of my favourite Spanish dishes so I was keen to try the Moro version and I’m happy to report, this version did not disappoint. We really enjoyed it!
The tomato sauce is made by stir-frying some sliced garlic until golden then adding dried chili, tomatoes and herbs. The tomatoes are simmered while in another pan, chopped onions and green pepper are sautéed until they caramelize slightly. White wine is then added to the onion mixture before incorporating the tomatoes from the other pan. Sugar, paprika, S&P are added and the sauce simmers until thickened. The book suggests 5 mins but mine needed more time. Approx 20 additional minutes in fact.
Instead of frying my potatoes, I’ve taken to roasting them. I peeled, then cut the potatoes into chunks before tossing in EVOO, paprika, S&P then roast them @ 400˚ until tender, tossing at least once. To serve, the sauce is spooned atop the potatoes. The book suggests you can pass paprika and aioli at the table which we did.
What takes this from good to great, IMHO is the roasted garlic aioli. We did have some of the tomato sauce left over so I froze it for another round of this dish.
Taking a break from my Spanish meals to have good ol steak and potatoes. Making marinated rib eye with gorgonzola sauce, sautéed mushrooms, and oven roasted potatoes. I could kick myself for not making the patatas bravas but it is too late to amend the menu. Hope to be back on course as of Thursday night.
Paella de Cerdo Con Chorizo y Espinaca, Moro pg. 164.
There's much to like about this paella and one thing that I didn't like, Mr. QN on the other hand simply gobbled it up and was quite happy to have leftovers for lunch too.
On the plus side the slow cooked sofrito is lovely and rich, most of the flavors come together very well in the end including the spinach, and the rice texture and taste has that marvelous paella-ness that is so crave-worthy. On the minus side, while the pork, which is lightly cooked in unseasoned oil at the beginning, then removed and added back at the very end, retains a lovely texture, the taste seemed dull to me and was rather a sore thumb in the flavor mix. Still and all I would make this again.
Made this paella last night and it came together very nicely and pleased our family group. Its also a very pretty dish with the freshly cooked spinach. I do agree that the pork was not a big enhancement - I used some boneless country spare rib meat and it was a little bland.
I didnt have nora peppers so soaked a dry mexican chile, but it dod not add much flavor. Daughter commented that this could have used some spice, end everyone salted vigorously.
Paella de Cerdo Con Chorizo y Espinaca (acelgas), Moro pg. 164
Made this last night and thought it was just wonderful! I made a few changes: used b/s chx thighs after reading the reviews about the pork being a big lackluster, but I added a spoonful of lard to the olive oil for a touch of porky lusciousness. I had a yellow tomato entering the for-cooking-only phase so tossed that into the sofrito. Finally, I used swiss chard for spinach, which added a pleasing tangy contrast to the smoky rich tones of the rice. No noras, so added extra pimenton (though after thoroughly perusing the moro cotm reviews ,I wonder if kashmiri chiles would have been the better substitute).
Anyway, we really, really enjoyed this and polished it off nearly-instantly. A definite make-again. Moro has become an absolute treasure.
Saffron Rice, Moro pg. 170
Persian rice? Well, why not. Due to some missing ingredients and some personal taste preferences, I played with this one quite a bit, given that caveat, we loved this and I'll make it again. Here's how it is supposed to go, and what I actually did.
Soak 200g basmati (kalizeera for us) in salted water for 3 hours.
When ready to cook, melt 80 g butter (80 g butter for 200 g rice? yikes. I went with 40 g butter and the end result was plenty rich) in a sauce pan, add cinnamon, green cardamon, and black pepper sauteing until fragrant, add the drained rice and stir, then add pistachios (I was out and so was my local Indian grocer, so cashews it was) and if you can find them add barberries, none available so I skipped this.
Add water and put a parchment drop lid on the water's surface cover the pot with top lid and simmer for 5 minutes, uncover drizzle with saffron infused water, replace the two lids, and cook on low for 5 more minutes. Serve topped with caramelized onions, and a side of garlic flavored yogurt.
Saffron Rice, Moro, p. 170
OK, time to confess that what I made had only a superficial resemblance to the recipe in the book. I was looking for a tasty rice dish to accompany the grilled tahini chicken wings (oven-baked drumsticks, in my case), and decided to use this recipe as inspiration for a far simpler dish. Here's what I did for 200 grams of basmati rice (= 1 cup on my scale):
Melted 2 tb of butter (about 30 grams), sauteed 5 green cardamom pods, 3 black peppercorns, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, and a healthy pinch of crumbled saffron threads until fragrant, added the rice and toasted for about two minutes, added 1 cup of water and some salt, put the lid on, turned the heat way down, and cooked for 20 minutes. Fluffed and let sit covered in the pot for another 5 minutes. This made a very flavorful, aromatic rice pilaf for which I got rave reviews. I will definitely be repeating my simplified version of this dish, I could see it going well with many kinds of Indian/Middle Eastern flavors and was very easy.
Vegetable with Tomato and Hard Boiled Egg Vinaigrette, Food of Spain, page 228.
This is a very nice treatment for mixed vegetables. I did the vegetables as written, dropping them into boiling water in stages. First potatoes and leeks, then artichokes, then asparagus. But I had to fetch out the potatoes as they were fully cooked when the leeks were still too firm. With the potatoes pulled early, everything came out fine.
The basic dressing is made up of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, chopped tomatoes, and a chopped hard boiled egg. I made the variation, which also includes chopped red onion, capers, and chopped olives. My one further (unauthorized) variation was to add a crushed clove of garlic. This vinagreta is poured over the warm vegetables and they are tossed to absorb the flavors.
This is a colorful and tasty vegetable dish. The hard boiled egg adds an extra dimension to the dressing (and I don't even like hard boiled egg). I made extra dressing just to put on a salad or roasted potatoes, I might even add an anchovy or two.
Vegetables with tomato and hard-boiled egg vinaigrette, Food of Spain, p. 228.
LNightshade has done a great job of describing this delicious recipe, and her photo really gives an indication of how inviting and colorful the dish is. I made it just as she described. I liked needing only one pot to boil all the veggies in sequence--Roden's timing worked for me, but it does pay to watch; my asparagus spears took only 5 minutes. My only change was that I pulled out and separated each vegetable at the end and arranged them as attractively as I could as "spokes of a wheel" on the plate, drizzling each with the vinaigrette. It was kind of fussy, but I had kids at the table that I knew would prefer to choose their vegetables!
Of course, it's the vinaigrette that really makes this dish. Like LN, I also used the chopped red onion and "a few capers and chopped olives" variation in the dressing, which made the vegetables very happy.
All in all, a pretty and savory vegetable dish that feels especially "summery," and could be made with all sorts of other vegetables.
THE FOOD OF SPAIN, CLAUDIA RODEN
Braised Peas and Artichokes, Pg. 264
(Guisantes y Alcachofas - Catalonia)
This was a different combination of ingredients for us and we quite liked how they all came together to create a tasty and satisfying finished dish. Fava beans are used in Catalonia as a matter of course but here Roden gives us her peas variation. As she says, "it's delightful." I didn't make any changes to the recipe but did take advantage of her options: prosciuto rather than serrano ham, grappa instead of brandy, dried herbs instead of fresh, and frozen vegetables not fresh.
Chop a large onion and cook it in olive oil till just it just begins to color. This takes about 20 minutes.
Now add the ham, and cook till lightly browned. Add chopped garlic and after a few seconds add 2 chopped tomatoes, and a bit of sugar. Cook till reduced and almost like a paste. This stuck after 4 minutes so G added a couple of splashes of chicken broth, which corrected the problem, and continued cooking. Pour in the brandy, add thyme, mint, and a cinnamon stick. Put the artichoke hearts in next and add broth to cover. Cover the pan and simmer "enthusiastically", as Nigel says, till artichokes are tender. Then the peas go in and everything continues cooking till the peas are done. I left the pan uncovered at this point because it was more soupy than I wanted. When it was ready we served it hot with a slice of grilled crusty bread but this can also be served at room temperature.
Very nice. We liked the peas and artichokes together, a pleasant textural feel... even G who really dislikes artichokes. It could be a soup I think with some kind of protein or grain which would give it more body but it was quite flavorful as is.
Braised Peas and Artichokes, Food of Spain, page 264.
Gio nicely describes the procedure for this dish above. Using frozen vegetables, this came together quite easily. As I was trying use ingredients on hand, I substituted pancetta for the serrano ham. I did use brandy, and I used homemade duck stock for the broth; I thought it would tie into our ducky main course. This was a nice side, I don't think anyone was ecstatic or anything, but it was good. It could be played with too. I have some frozen limas leftover from another dish, and I think I'll cook them up and combine them with the leftovers from this dish.