This week’s recipes are influenced by the life and works of Ernest Hemingway. Not enough has been told about his very sophisticated palate. The cuisine of France, Spain, Italy, Cuba and, of course, America fascinated him. Whether a Parisian sidewalk café, the Paris Ritz, a Madrid restaurant or one of his favorites in Key West, Havana or at his home, the feast would be bountiful and outstanding wines would be served.
Stuffed Red Peppers
2 large sweet red peppers
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pound ground chorizo
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, divided
Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds. Place peppers and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside.
In a small skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat; stir in the rice, parsley, salt, cayenne and allspice.
In a small saucepan, bring tomato sauce and broth to a boil. Stir in the vinegar, basil and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese; stir about 1/2 cup sauce into rice mixture. Spoon into peppers. Place in a greased shallow 1-qt. baking dish.
Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until peppers are tender. Serve with remaining sauce.
Monkfish with Saffron Rice
7 tbsp olive oil
400g monkfish fillets, trimmed and cut into bit-size pieces
2 large Spanish onions, finely chopped
2 green peppers, halved, seeded and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 cups fish stock
1 tsp saffron threads
1 1/2 cups paella rice
1 cup white wine or fino sherry
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
½ tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
4 piquillo peppers, torn into strips
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a paella pan or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the monkfish and toss gently to fry until slightly undercooked in the centre. Remove the monkfish and any juices to a bowl and set aside.
Place pan back onto the heat. Add the rest of the olive oil and heat until hot, then add the onions and peppers, and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic and the fennel seeds, and cook for 10 minutes or until colored and sweet. Bring the stock to the boil in a separate saucepan. Add the saffron, then take off the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
Add the rice to the paella pan and stir for a minute to coat with the oil and vegetables.
Put the heat to medium-high and add the wine to the pan, followed by the stock. Add half the parsley and the paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Do not stir the rice after this point. Simmer for 10 minutes or until there is just a little liquid above the rice. Spread the monkfish and its juices out across the top of the rice and gently push each piece of fish into the liquid. Gently shake the pan to prevent sticking and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes or until there is just a little liquid left at the bottom of the rice. Turn the heat off and cover the dish tightly with foil. Rest it for about 5 minutes before serving.
Decorate with strips of piquillo peppers, the rest of the parsley and the lemon.
Papa’s Cuban Flan
¼ cup water
1 ½ cups sugar (divided)
2 cups milk
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Prepare a caramel by adding ¼ cup water to ¾ cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Stir while cooking until the sugar starts melting. Let it simmer. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash the sides of the pan free of granular sugar. When sugar starts to thicken and turn brown, remove from heat.
Coat a warm baking dish or round mold 9 inches in diameter by pouring in the caramel and swirling it around the sides and bottom. Put the coated mold aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, bring to a boil the milk with lemon peel, cinnamon stick and salt. When mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and let it cool a bit.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks, egg whites, vanilla and remaining ¾ cup sugar until well mixed. Pour into the bowl the slightly cooled milk and strain egg and milk mixture into the caramel-coated mold. Place the flan mold inside a baking dish and fill larger dish with water to come halfway up the side of the mold.
Bake in preheated oven about an hour on the middle rack. Insert a knife or toothpick into the center. If it comes out dry, remove from the oven and let flan cool until it’s warm.
When cooled, place serving dish flat against top of mold and turn it upside down in a fast motion.
Sir Verde’s Wine Suggestion: Hemingway’s knowledge of French wines is displayed throughout his novels. I’ve chosen a Chardonnay, Savigny-Les-Beaune 2018. After one glass, many say they hear Gypsy Jazz.
Be happy. Bonne dégustation. Love one another.