We invite you to a gastronomic virtual tour to the Spanish cuisine! It is not necessary to physically travel to Spain to enjoy its unique and tasty traditional food. And if you have traveled to Spain before, probably you are tired to see at every corner restaurants that will serve you “la mejor paella” in the city. The Spanish cuisine is so much more than Paella and Sangria. We would like to offer you the recipes of 3 Spanish dishes that are easy to cook and easy to find all the ingredients no matter the country you are in. These dishes are: (1) Canelones de Carne, (2) Croquetas de Jamón and a super tasty dessert (3) Torrijas. Let start the tour!
1. Canelones de carne
Canelones de carne or “Meat Cannelloni” is a traditional Spanish dish that actually has Italian origin. Italian chefs who were working in restaurants in Barcelona made the Cannelloni popular in Catalonia. Curiously, the dish became traditional especially on San Esteban holiday (St. Stephen’s Day) that in Spain is celebrated only in Catalonia on the day after Christmas (26th December). So, the reason was to use the meat leftovers from the Christmas table. Thus, the Canelones were stuffed with this meat scraps. But of course, you don’t have to wait for Christmas to be able to cook this delicious Spanish dish ;).
- 500 gr of minced meat (mixture of beef and pork)
- 20 squares of cannelloni pasta
- 1 onion
- 1 green pepper
- homemade tomato sauce or tomato sauce in can
- salt, black pepper and oregano
- grated cheese
For the Bechamel sauce
- 500 ml of milk
- 60 gr of flour
- 60 gr of butter
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- black pepper
Step 1: Poach the onion and green pepper over low heat with some oil.
Step 2: Once poached, add the minced meat, season with salt and pepper. Cover it and leave it over low heat about 10 min.
Step 3: Add the tomato sauce to the meat and vegetables. Leave it for another 10 min. Remove it from the heat when it’s cooked.
Step 4: Prepare the Cannelonni pasta. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add some salt , and one by one add the pasta to the water, cooking about 12-14 minutes (see also the recommended time on the package). Drain the water and move the pasta on a cloth to cool.
Step 5: Prepare the Bechamel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Stir until the flour is well mixed with the butter and fry it until it is a light golden color. Add the milk to the pan and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg, salt and black pepper.
Step 6: Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Put the meat at one end and roll the pasta up. Place the rolls in a baking dish in a single layer.
Step 7: Cover with the Bechamel sauce and the grated cheese on top. Bake it for about 10 minutes and then another 3 minutes for bowing the cheese.
Enjoy your meal!!!
2. Croquetas de Jamon
Croquetas de Jamon or Ham Croquettes are normally served as tapas in Spain or a light dinner along with some salad. The croquettes has French origin where the base is the mashed potato. When arrived in Spain, the croquettes changed and the mashed potato has been replaced with Bechamel sauce, making them much more creamy inside. The ham also can be replaced by vegetables, cheese, chicken or mushrooms. So, prepare your taste buds and start to cook the traditional Croquetas de Jamon. Here you have the recipe:
- Bechamel sauce: use the same recipe as for the “Canelones de carne” presented above. You also can add some onion if you want.
- 250 gr jamón serrano or another type of dry-cured ham
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
Step 1: Cook the Bechamel sauce following the steps previously described
Step 2: Chop the ham in fine pieces. Add the ham in the Bechamel sauce, mix and continue to cook it for 2-3 minutes over low heat.
Step 3: Allow to cool the mix about 5-10 minutes and then leave it in the fridge until it’s completely cold.
Step 4: Put the breadcrumbs in a ball and beat the eggs. Make small balls from the Bechamel sauce with ham and pass it through the breadcrumbs, then egg and again breadcrumbs. Put all the croquettes on a plate keeping space between them.
Step 5: Prepare the frying pan with a generous quantity of olive oil and heat it. Place the croquettes in the pan, turn them several times and quickly fry them until get a golden color.
Step 6: Remove the croquettes on a plate covered with a paper towel. Serve while they are warm!
Are you ready for the most tasty Spanish dessert? 😉 Torrijas is traditionally cooked during the Holly Week, the week preceding Easter. It originates in Andalusia and most people associate it with the French toast. Still, Torrijas taste totally different. The cooking process is very simple and they are perfect for a delicious breakfast <3 See below the recipe.
- 1 French-style baguette (it doesn’t have to be fresh, perfectly to use it after 1 day)
- 1 l milk
- 2-3 eggs
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 300 g sugar (of which 3 tbs. for the milk)
- 1 tbs. ground cinnamon
- 1 small piece of orange peel
- 4-5 drops of vanilla essence
Step 1: Pour the milk in a saucepan. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar, the cinnamon stick, orange peel, and vanilla essence. Cook them until the milk start to boil. Pour the milk in a large bowl and remove the cinnamon stick and the orange peel.
Step 2: Cut the baguette in slices of approximately 1.20- 1.30 cm. Beat the eggs in another bowl. In a plate, mix the sugar with the ground cinnamon.
Step 3: Introduce the bread slices in the bowl with milk and leave them covered during 15-20 min. Before removing the bread, pour oil in a frying pan to cover the bottom and heat it. Remove the bread slices and pass them trough the egg and fry them.
Step 4: Remove the fried bread slices on a paper towel. Pass them while they are hot through the mix of sugar and cinnamon. Repeat the process until the bread is over. Serve the juicy Torrijas when they are cold. Enjoy your delicious Spanish breakfast 😉
Hope you enjoyed this interesting virtual tour in the Spanish Gastronomy. Leave us a comment if you liked the tour and share with us your experience!