Spanish tapas meatballs in sherry sauce

I absolutely love authentic Spanish food and a homemade tapas-inspired lunch or dinner menu is a summer favourite. I recently made these delicious little meatballs (called albondigas in Spain) for friends and they went down a treat. They are an easy make-ahead course as they are best eaten just warm – I served them on small plates with a slice of crusty bread to mop up the extra sauce alongside a bowl of freshly cooked Padron peppers. The flavour of the pork is really lifted by the lemon zest and chopped olives and the tomato sauce with fresh bay leaves and dry fino sherry is a winning combo. You can substitute dry white wine for the sherry but it’s not quite the same. Buy a small bottle of fino, cook the sauce with it then and serve chilled glasses of it as an aperitif – it’s perfect with olives, gazpacho and Serrano ham. This recipe makes about 30 baby meatballs so perfect for 4 to six people. You could even add pasta to make it into a tasty main course.

Albondigas

Meatballs

  • 25g crustless stale white bread 
  • Finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 75g Serrano ham, finely chopped
  • 350g minced pork (I also make mine with a 50/50 mix of pork and veal)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed into a paste with a little sea salt
  • 25g pitted green olives, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot Pimenton (Spanish paprika)
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons of light olive oil

Sherry sauce

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 x 400g chopped tinned tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot Pimenton (Spanish paprika)
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 100ml fino sherry (you can substitute dry white wine)

To make…

First, make the meatballs. Crumble the bread into a small bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and a couple of teaspoons of water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, add the minced pork, Serrano ham, garlic, lemon zest, chopped olives, paprika, parsley and a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze out any excess water from the bread, add with the beaten egg into the meat mixture. It should be thoroughly mixed together – use your hands to get the best result. Pop into the fridge to firm up while you make the sherry sauce.

To make the sauce, add the oil to a large sauté pan, add the onion, paprika and garlic and fry gently for about 8 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, sherry, bay leaves, stock and a half teaspoon of salt. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

While the sauce is cooking, prep the meatballs. Take the mixture out of the fridge, form the mixture into 30 tapas-sized meatballs – a generous teaspoon of the mixture is about right. Brown them in batches on both sides by adding the olive oil to your frying pan and cooking them on a medium heat. As each batch browns, set them aside on a plate. They just need to have a brown crust, they will cook through properly in the sauce.

Now, gently add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes until cooked through. Take the bay leaves out and spoon a few meatballs with some of the sauce onto little plates – you can add little toothpicks or forks to serve.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
Posted in Meat main courses, Recipes, Summer recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tomato salad with olive salsa

Perfectly ripe, juicy tomatoes are in plentiful supply right now – this simple yet delicious #TheFridayRecipe salad with olive salsa makes a great alternative to the usual pairing with basil (lovely as that is) and is perfect served with BBQ meats or as part of a tapas selection. The secret lies with good quality basic ingredients and the red onion which is steeped in lemon juice for about an hour and then mixed with finely chopped green olives and fresh coriander. This is one of those recipes that can be easily scaled up or down – you’ll find yourself making it over and over again once you’ve tried it. I also make a big batch of the salsa to serve sprinkled over pulled pork or lamb kebab wraps Enjoy!

tomato salad WITH OLIVE SALSA

Serves four

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes.
  • 1 dessertspoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt
  • The juice of a lemon
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 pitted green olives 
  • A generous handful of fresh coriander
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper

To make…

Firstly, prepare the onion – it needs to be finely chopped, placed in a ceramic or glass bowl and then steeped in the lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt. Set aside for an hour. The onions will lose their raw edge and the lemon juice will turn pink.

To make the salsa, pour away half of the lemon juice and mix the onion thoroughly with the finely chopped olives, coriander and cayenne pepper. Set aside. It will keep for a day in the fridge but is best served fresh.

Slice the tomatoes thinly and layer on a serving plate, pour over any juices that have run out. Drizzle generously with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Spoon the salsa evenly over the tomatoes. If you’re not serving this immediately just cover and leave it out until you need it – tomatoes should never be refrigerated as it robs them of their flavour.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
Posted in Recipes, Salads, Summer recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cherry pithiviers

This #TheFridayRecipe dessert is very easy to make and so delicious, everyone will want an extra helping! The combination of fresh, juicy cherries soaked in Kirsch, the soft almond sponge and the crisp pastry is delicious served just warm with either thick cream or vanilla ice cream. You will need a cherry stoner to remove the pits easily – I bought an inexpensive one and had great fun with it!

cherry pithiviers

  • 2 x 350g packs of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry 
  • 125g butter
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg and 2 medium egg yolks (reserve a little to join the pastry discs together)
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 15g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of Kirsch
  • 225g fresh cherries, stoned
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar 
  • Cream to serve

To make…

  • Unroll each sheet of puff pastry. Cut into 2 large circles – use a large dinner plate as your template. Lay one on a greased baking sheet to use as the base – prick it with with a fork, evenly just a few times. Lay the other on the greaseproof paper the pastry is rolled in, chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  • Stone the cherries, add them to a bowl and macerate them in the Kirsch.
  • To make the sponge, cream the butter and sugar together, mix in the eggs, then the flour, almonds and cherries.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge, spoon the cherry sponge mix in a mound in the middle and spread it out to within 2.5cm of the edge. Brush a little beaten egg around the edge.
  • Cover with the second circle of pastry, crimp the edges Chill for a further 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the fridge, make a small hole in the top to let the steam out. Brush with the remaining egg glaze. Using a sharp knife, gently score radiating arcs from the centre to create a decorative crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to 180°C for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, dust with icing sugar and bake again for a further 3 minutes to create a high gloss finish.
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool and serve with cream or ice cream.

Share, follow, like, enjoy!

  • To get the latest #TheFridayRecipe from the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen blog, just add your email address to the subscribe box at the top right-hand column of the website.
  • Follow me on twitter @pigeoncottage,  on Instagram at Pigeon Cottage Kitchen and the Pigeon Cottage Kitchen page on Facebook.
  • Click on the link to get your very own copy of my family recipe book, Whats4teaMum?
Posted in Desserts, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment