Last week, while in Spain, I helped my buddies plan a concert and after party. The main event was the concert, but after the show we chowed down on a delicious cheesy stuffed pork appetizer and a hearty rabbit arroz — a dish that is similar to a paella. I spoke with Javi, the sous chef who created the pork rolls, and he gave me both of the recipes! These dishes would work wonderfully at a Spanish themed dinner. To see how they are made,
Red Pepper Stuffed Pork Rolls
From Javier Navarro Rivas
4 boneless pork loin fillets
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped Piquanté Peppers (jarred sweet pickled peppers) or chopped jarred piquillo peppers
4 sweet dill pickles, chopped
1/2 cup chopped Spanish onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
6-8 slices Spanish goat's milk cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. When hot add the peppers, pickles, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pound the pork fillets flat between two pieces of saran wrap.
- Remove the vegetables from the pan and add the pork fillets, seasoning with salt and pepper. Sear quickly on both sides cooking through but not completely.
- Once the pork has cooled enough to handle, spoon 2 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture on top of the fillet.
- Roll and secure with toothpicks. Repeat with remaining pieces of pork and the rest of the vegetable mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the pork rolls, seam side down in a small glass roasting dish. Cover with the cheese slices.
- Bake in the oven until pork is cooked through and the cheese is bubbly and crispy, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove garnish with leftover sliced red pepper, chopped parsley, and fresh black pepper.
One 2-1/2-pound rabbit, small chicken or chicken thighs, skin and fat removed
2 tablespoons slivered blanched almonds
1 1/4 cups canned asparagus (drained and rinsed), reserve the liquid
About 5 to 5 1/2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton)
1/4 teaspoon crumbled thread saffron
1/8 teaspoon yellow curry
Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 portabello mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups imported Spanish rice (bomba preferred) or Arborio short-grain rice
- Cut the rabbit or chicken with kitchen shears into pieces about 2 inches in size. If using thighs, leave whole. (Discard the bony tips of the rabbit legs.) Sprinkle all over with salt.
- Toast the almonds on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven until lightly brown, about 4 minutes.
- Combine the liquid from the asparagus with the broth to make 5 1/2 cups.
- In a mortar or mini-processor, mash to a paste the garlic, parsley, pimento, saffron, curry, almonds and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mash in 1 tablespoon of the broth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place oven rack in the lowest position. Keep the broth hot over the lowest heat.
- Do this next part of the preparation in a large skillet. Heat the oil and saute the rabbit or chicken pieces over high heat about 5 minutes (do not fully cook). Remove to a warm platter.
- Add the onion, mushrooms, and pepper to the skillet and cook slowly until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add the tomatoes, turn up the heat and saute 2 minutes more.
- Scrape the vegetables and oil into a 16-inch paella pan. Stir in the rice and coat well with the vegetable mixture. Add the reserved mortar mixture and stir. Then add asparagus and rabbit or chicken. Pour in 5 cups of broth, bring to a boil then simmer without stirring for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and correct seasoning.
- Transfer the paella to the oven and cook an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the rice is almost al dente.
- Remove to a warm spot, cover with a tea towel and let the dish rest for 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.