Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos Tapas (stuffed Piquillo peppers)
Considered a Navarran speciality, neighboring La Rioja also enjoys the celebrated peppers. Stuffed in Longroño style, the capital of the region, which is a good starting point for visiting local wineries. Start the recipe the previous evening, allowing meat to marinate over night. Serves 4.
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 pound ground veal
- 1/2 pound lean ground pork
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, grated
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped jamón (dry-cured ham)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon fine dried bread crumbs
- 1 jar preserved whole piquillo peppers (about 18 peppers)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
In a mortar, pound together 2 of the garlic cloves, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the parsley, and 1 tablespoon of the water until a paste forms. Place the veal and pork in a bowl, season well with salt, add the garlic paste, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over high heat. Add half of the grated onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until shiny and tender. Add the veal and pork mixture, decrease the heat to medium, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and then stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until the meat starts to crumble a little.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Add the jamon, 1 of the eggs, and the bread crumbs to the bowl. Mix well and reserve.
Drain the piquillo peppers in a sieve or colander placed over a bowl. Measure 1/2 cup of the brine and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining grated onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden. Meanwhile, in a mortar, pound together the remaining garlic clove, 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley, and 1 tablespoon water until a paste forms. Add the garlic paste to the onion in the saucepan and mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of the flour, stirring to incorporate with the onion. Add the pepper brine, increase the heat to high, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to low and cook the sauce for 10 minutes longer, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, let cool, and then pass through a food mill fitted with a medium plate held over a large cazuela.
With a small spoon, carefully fill each pepper with the meat mixture, taking care not to tear the pepper by overfilling it. Close the opening of each pepper by gently folding the edges. Spread the remaining flour in a shallow bowl. In a bowl, combine the remaining 2 eggs and the milk and whisk them together lightly.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil over high heat. One at a time, lay the peppers in the flour, coating them on both sides and shaking off any excess, and then dip into the beaten egg and set aside on a plate. When the oil is hot, add 5 or 6 peppers, decrease the heat to medium, and fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers in the same way, always making sure the oil is hot again before adding the next batch.
Just before serving, place the peppers in the cazuela (shallow unglazed earthenware) with the sauce, place over medium heat, and heat through. Serve hot. © Recipe courtesy of Spain-Recipes.com
AUGUST WINE CLUB:
BOLD WINE STYLE
Francisco (Paco) Garcia and Julia Pablo founded the family winery in their town, Murillo de Río Leza, in 2001. The hand logo is the original hand tracing of Paco Garcia, the soul of the winery. It represents the hand craftsmanship and handwork of each and every wine.
Bodegas Paco Garcia winery owns 40 hectares of vineyards spread over seven estates in the central area of La Rioja, near the provincial capital Logroño. The winery is situated in the town of Murillo alongside the Rio Leza river, in the Rioja Denomination of Origin in Spain. The winery has vineyards in a small valley between the Sierra Cantabria and Clavijo Mountains. The average age of the vines is 30 years and in some cases, reaches up to 80 years.
Since 2008, his son Juan Bautista has been managing it with his wife Ana, and together they have brought a new air to the winery as well as the wine. “We are focused on the production of quality wines respecting the most deeply rooted traditions of Rioja but without forgetting the most modern oenological techniques.” – Juan Bautista.
This young Rioja wine was aged six months in barrels, seeking the highest expression of the varietal, embracing all possible flavors of the Tempranillo grape and maintaining a sweet and harmonious palate. The result, Paco Garcia Seis, with great aromatic power, velvety mouth and awakening of the senses.
Blackberry and ruby red color, clean and bright. Aromatic explosion on the nose, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and violets. On the palate, tons of fresh red fruit, floral tones (violets), sweet blackberries. Round mouth, full and pleasant. Hint of oak and caramel. Very harmonious with long finish. Pair with light cheeses, salads, white meats and fish. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Appellation: Rioja Alta DOCa, Spain
Varietal: 100% Tempranillo
Analysis: 13.84% alcohol / volume
TA: 4.7 g/l
Residual Sugar: 1.4 g/l
Aging: 6 months French oak, semi-new, low toasted
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed & approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine.