So this is definitely one of those cook books that I have read a lot from but pretty much never cooked any recipe from and looking through this recipe I probably have a good idea why that is the case.
Its an older style cook book and that’s not just from the fairly sexist title, what Spanish Men don’t cook or have kitchen’s!!! It was published in 1999 and while its a much more visually appealing cook book (i.e. it looks good on the shelf and would sell well) than some of the traditional all text ones of the 60’s and 70’s it has one striking feature. None of the pictures in it are of any of the recipes listed. Its all locations and scenery around Spain. So while its a great travelogue and sets the scene for the evocative food it describes it doesn’t really give you any visual clues. Am pretty sure I purchased it after Carrie and I traveled through Spain in 2000 and came home looking for ideas to recapture the experience.
The reason this is so interesting is that is pretty much the opposite of recipe books and food magazines now, its all about enticing you with detailed visual clues to how the final dish will look to inspire you to cook it. The problem with this is course is that its almost impossible for the home cook to replicate the tools of a food stylist (just search online for Food Stylist Tricks if your interested). The great thing about the old recipe books with their lack of pictures was you could pretty much make it look like whatever you felt like and none of your friends would judge you. But this wont fly in today’s age of instant step by step instructions!!
Another thing different about this recipe book compared to others is that its not laid out in the traditional manner of Snacks, Soups, Salads, Entree’s, Mains and Desserts. This is set out based on regions of Spain, so again more of a travelogue. This recipe is from Galicia which in the far north west corner of Spain. Interestingly was the only region not taken over by the Moors when they were in Spain and was occupied by the Celts so it keeps lots of its Roman and Celtic origins without the Moorish influence the rest of Spain has. It is said it has more in common with Scotland or Wales than Spain. It also where half of Spain’s fresh fish are caught in the rich Atlantic coast. Sounds like a pretty good place to visit to me
The other rant I have with the recipes in the general vagueness of some of the ingredients and method. Such as “add 1/2 glass of water”. How big a glass??
So enough of my ranting, on with the cooking. This is pretty much Roast Pork with Chestnuts and Cognac, I didn’t have any Cognac so substituted Calvados which I thought was rather appropriate for a Celtic cider type of region.
First up you need a 1kg piece of Pork Loin Roast. So of course you buy a whole Loin and trim it down yourself.
Once its all trimmed up this is pretty much what you get. The roast piece from the centre, a couple of mini roasts, a heap of chops and trimmings for stir fry’s. This all ends up vac packed and ready for future meals.
So you end up with the roast piece and this gets simply marinated in garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves and sherry.
Pretty much chuck it all in a large ziplock bag and refrigerate for a few hours
When ready I put it in the base of the Targine we have which all looks very Spanish. Now is another of those wacky recipe instructions, “Spread the pork with lard” well lard is pretty much hard most of the time so that a bit difficult. One of the offset of BBQ Comps is having lots of scraps and trimmings so has some lovely Wagyu beef tallow to use. Just softened it a bit and rubbed and added the infamous half glass of water and then into the oven to roast. And yes another dodgy instruction, cook for 1 1/2 hours, no indication of what level of doneness of internal temp so who knows…..
Towards the end of the cook you baste the pork with the Calvados and end result looks like this
While the meat is resting you throw the cooked Chestnuts into the roasting dish, sprinkle with some paprika and put back in the oven to warm. Just roasted up some potatoes and has some dodgy frozen beans in the freezer and bingo here is the result. Flavour and tenderness was really nice. The sherry in the marinade and the basting of Calvados really came through. Like previous recipes this is pretty simple its just using some different ingredients and flavours.
Next cook is another recipe without a photo so more creative solutions coming up.