Spanish Chorizo Croquetas

There used to be a Cuban restaurant near our house (it closed and a Chicago deli replaced it, which was fine with us, too) and every other weekend we’d frequent the little shop to get perfect Cuban sandwiches, tostones or maduro, and if they had them croquetas de jamon. That last item was very rare – they were simply that good!

I remember the first time Stuart had croquetas. He was driving with me back home from Auburn and I don’t know where we stopped for gas and food but we found a little Cuban restaurant off the beaten path. I ordered croquetas for an appetizer and he fell in love with them, too. I would like to try making croquetas de jamon sometime.

I have a half-check on that culinary bucket list item, though! My friend Tara made a Spanish version of croquetas using Spanish chorizo. That recipe was pinned in a heartbeat (almost a year ago!) and when we finally found Spanish chorizo this appetizer was made immediately.

Well, almost immediately. I wanted to have an extra set of eyes around to watch the little man when it came time to frying the tapas so I made the recipe in batches. I made the filling on Friday and then on Saturday I formed, coated, and fried them.

I’ve seen a few recipes for baking croquetas and I was extremely tempted to alter Tara’s recipe for the cleaner, easier route, but I’m glad I didn’t. Sometimes you just need that extra grease in your life. I will try a baked version sometime though – frying foods with an almost-walker underfoot isn’t exactly the best idea…

These croquetas melt in your mouth and I’m not even ashamed to admit that I ate over half of these throughout the day. The recipe makes 15-16.

I’m really wishing I had a few (okay five) next to me right now….

Spanish Chorizo Croquetas

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 C plus 2 1/2 tbsp flour, divided use
  • 1 1/2 C hot milk
  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 100 g Spanish chorizo, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C bread crumbs
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Steps:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter and olive oil. Saute the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 C plus 2 1/2 tbsp flour and cook until golden. Slowly add in the hot milk, whisking constantly, followed by the chicken stock. Cook for 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick. Season with S+P. Mix in the diced chorizo and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In a shallow bowl beat the eggs. Place remaining 1 1/2 C flour on a plate and place the breadcrumbs on another plate.
  3. In a high sided skillet over medium-high heat, bring 1″ of vegetable oil to 350 degrees F.
  4. Form croqueta filling into 15-16 2″ logs.
  5. Coat croquetas in flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs.
  6. Fry croquetas for 2 minutes, flip, and fry another 2 minutes, or until golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Do this in 3 batches, making sure the oil returns to 350 degrees F between each batch.

*This recipe is adapted from Tara at http://www.tarasmulticulturaltable.com/chorizo-croquetas/*

Spanish Chorizo Croquetas | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Spanish Steaks and Cheesy Potatoes

Before I get to today’s amazing recipes I’m taking a trip down memory lane. A “Flashback Friday” if you will.

Six years ago to the day I was asked a very important question by a very important person.

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February 6, 2009 was just a normal Friday. Stuart and I both had a break between classes that lined up perfectly for us to grab lunch together. My brother had a break at the same time and Stuart told me that he was going to be joining us. I got out of class a little early and headed down to the concourse to wait for them. That morning Stuart had asked me to bring my camera to campus because he needed a photo for ROTC. We handed the camera to my brother and he caught the proposal on video! They’d obviously coordinated this ahead of time.

2275_634287859951_9621_nI’d be lying if I said I didn’t know this was coming. The 7th was our two year anniversary and there’d been comments and hints that we’d be getting engaged then. I have to give a big shout out to my best friend for telling Stuart I was on to him. It’s because of him that I experienced a surprise proposal better than I could have imagined. (Although it would have been nice to have showered, put make-up on, and brushed my hair!) It meant a lot to me to have my brother there – catching it on video was just a bonus. We even got a loud “War Eagle!” from a campus tour that was walking by.

Today’s recipes, which come from the January/February 2014 edition of Food Network Magazine, make a perfect meal to celebrate a special occasion – a birthday, anniversary, or even Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed this meal for Stuart’s birthday this year. It was the first time I’d had rib-eye steak and I loved it! Cooking in the cast iron skilet also provided a perfect sear for this melt-in-your-mouth piece of meat. We enjoyed these steaks alongside the cheesy mashed potatoes suggested in the article and some roasted carrots.

IMG_1907The carrots were Wesley’s first food! He surprised me with how well he took to trying them. He even managed to swallow a little bit. However he hasn’t touched carrots since! He likes yellow bell peppers, flank steak, and apples – at least for now.

These steaks feed 2-4 people, let’s be honest though, they’ll only feed two because you won’t want to share. I doubled the potato recipe and it will serve 4. (I wanted the leftovers.)

Pan-Seared Spanish Steaks

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in rib-eye steaks (3/4 lb each)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Steps:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  2. Pat steaks dry, lightly rub with a little canola oil, and season with S+P.
  3. Put 1-2 tbsp canola oil in the skillet. Add the steaks. (I had to do one steak at a time.) Sear on one side for 3 three minutes. Flip and cook 1-4 minutes, depending on your desired doneness. Remove steaks and set aside, covered with foil.
  4. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional 60 seconds. Whisk in the beef broth, Worcestershire, and vinegar. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
  5. Serve sauce overtop the steaks. Garnish with chives.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb gold potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

Steps

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water, season generously with salt, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the cream until just warmed through.
  3. Add the cream and cream cheese to the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency. Season to taste with S+P.

Spanish Steak and Cheesy Potatoes | Sew You Think You Can Cook

UPDATE May 2017: (written March 2018) I honestly can’t remember why I remade these steaks – I mean, other than the fact that they’re DELICOUS! I’m guessing I’d made them for our 7th wedding anniversary last May? Regardless, you really don’t need a fancy excuse to make such delicious steak. The above picture isn’t horrendous, but that giant bone-in steak was tricky to photograph, especially under tricky Ohio winter lighting. For round two, I decided to slice the steak to get the visual of the beautiful pink center and golden crust. Unfortunately, the juices still ran, no matter how long I let it rest. But hey, dragging those cheesy potatoes through the steak juices makes for a perfect last bite.

Spanish Steaks with Cheesy Potatoes | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Risotto Paella

Mexican Monday took a back seat this week for a Spanish cousin to shine through.

Of course, I could pretend I just made this dish some other day of the week and find a decent photo of a past Mexican Monday, but then I’d be out of a personal back story to the dish!

I was not about to have a repeat of last week where we ate out way too much, so I “forced” Stuart to help me create our weekly “Everson Menu”.

“What do you want for Mexican Monday?”

“Paella”

“That’s not Mexican….”

Stuart’s favorite Food Network star is Bobby Flay and we record Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction. There was an episode last year in which Bobby had a grill the size of a breakfast table and a paella pan to cover it up. He made the largest (and most expensive) paella I’d ever seen. So for a year Stuart’s been wanting to try Paella.

Most traditional Spanish Paellas involve Mussels or other shellfish, which I am allergic to. I don’t know why it took me a year to realize that I can put whatever I want into the recipe, it’s my kitchen! So I finally gave in to his craving. I read a few recipes and articles about paella and created my own rendition.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find authentic Spanish paella rice, but the cooking method reminded me of risotto, so I compromised and used risotto rice. (Sorry!) I also couldn’t find authentic Spanish chorizo, so I kept the casing on Mexican chorizo, sliced it into rings and cooked it. I also opted to use salmon as my seafood choice.

An Original Recipe

Risotto Paella

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C Arborio rice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 C white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 qt chicken stock
  • 2 links chorizo, sliced into rings
  • 6 oz salmon, cubed

Steps

  1. In a large pot bring stock to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer.
  2. In a large, non-stick skillet, saute onion and pepper in olive oil. Season with salt. When the onion is translucent add the garlic, rice, and seasonings. Stir with a wooden spoon. When rice is slightly toasted and everything is yellow add in the chopped tomato.
  3. Deglaze the pan with white wine, if using, or a ladle of stock.
  4. While waiting for the wine to evaporate, start cooking the chorizo in a separate skillet. Remove from pan and cook the salmon in the same skillet.
  5. Add 1-2 ladle-fulls of stock at a time to the rice, stirring constantly. When the liquid is absorbed, repeat the process until the rice is cooked through. This will take approximately 15 minutes.

*This recipe was inspired by http://foudefoodmtl.com/eatsathome/shrimp-and-chorizo-paella and http://mongoliankitchen.com/salmon-paella/*

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