Thu 02 Jan 2014

Food Without Fuss: Well and Truly Stuffed


This recipe, while hopefully of use and interest to all, was written with the New Year 2014 selections of The Society’s Wine Without Fuss subscription scheme particularly in mind. Voted Best Wine Club by both The Independent and Which? Magazine, Wine Without Fuss offers regular selections of delicious wines with the minimum of fuss. Why not join the growing band of members who let their Society take the strain, and are regularly glad they do?

You can now find out more about Wine Without Fuss in a short video on our website.

Janet Wynne Evans

Janet Wynne Evans

Enough of Christmas excess and extravagance! It’s time for a fantastically easy and satisfying Spanish raid on a January store cupboard, provided you’ve stocked it well.

The inspiration for this dish is a combination of a tapas trawl of Barcelona and an Iberian take on Delia Smith’s Pesto Rice salad, ironically, a recipe from her Summer Collection (BBC Books, 1993) but bear with me. The Spanish flavours and enveloping peppers make the rice warm and winter-proof and it can be as hot or as mild as you wish. The black pudding works brilliantly with the sweetness of the peppers, and if you have the Spanish equivalent, morcilla, do use it. Soft cooking chorizo works too, and members opting out of meat should know that the stuffing is delicious without any of these because of the power of pimentón.

Roast your own peppers by all means, but frankly, for this dish, the prepared ones are better and even cheaper, if you buy no-nonsense ones in vegetable oil from a budget supermarket. Rare-breed peppers in first-cold-pressed single-estate virgin olive oil would be wasted here. A 450g jar normally contains 6-8 large whole peppers. Choose these for starters and mains. The smaller variety make excellent tapas.

Happy New Year, Feliç Any Nou and, of course, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

Janet Wynne Evans
Specialist Wine Manager

Serves 4 as a starter (one pepper each), 2 or two as a main course (two each)

• 450g jar long whole roasted or flame-grilled peppers in oil
• 2 thick slices premium black pudding, derinded and crumbled
• A pinch of smoked paprika to taste (sweet or hot, as you wish)
• 100ml paella or risotto rice (measure it in a glass jug)
• 200ml robust red wine
• 2-3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
• A dash of good sherry vinegar
• 75ml dry sherry

For the coriander pesto:
• A handful of fresh coriander leaves, washed and dried
• A few mint leaves, ditto
• A handful of shelled salted pistachios or toasted pine nuts
• 1 clove garlic
• A pinch of whole salt
• 3-4 whole black peppercorns
• A squeeze of lemon juice
• Enough olive oil to make a thick, pesto-like emulsion

Put the garlic, salt and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar or blender and pound them to a paste. Add half the pistachios and pound again. Now add the coriander and mint, mint leaves and crush into the mixture. Add the lemon juice and finally, slowly, the oil until you have a green emulsion that resembles pesto. The brave may wish to use a bit of chilli-infused oil here, but spare a thought for the wine.

Next, cook the rice. Put it in a small saucepan and coat with a generous tablespoon of the coriander pesto. Add the spring onions and red wine and bring to the simmer, giving it the odd stir. Put a lid on the pan and simmer very gently for 20 minutes by which time the wine should have been absorbed. Fork through the grains and let it cool, completely if you are assembling this in advance. Add the black pudding and the smoked paprika and the rest of the pesto. Combine well and add the remaining pistachios, roughly chopped for crunch.

Drain the peppers of their oil, taking care to keep them whole. Scrape out any seeds that remain. Spoon the flavoured rice carefully into each one and lay in an ovenproof dish. Add the sherry vinegar, and the sherry, cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes at a preheated 190C/Gas 6. They should be sizzling and piping hot.

Serve one pepper per person as a starter, two as a main course with crusty bread and a green salad.

This is an exceptionally wine-friendly dish if you don’t overdo the chilli. To start, a perfect accompaniment would be a glass of interesting dryish but full sherry from The Society’s muy serio range. For the main course, you’re spoiled for choice. The exuberance, not to mention the obvious regional connection of Torres Mas Rebell Tinto (Buyers’ Everyday Red and Mixed cases) will take you straight down the Ramblas. On the other hand the sweet fruit of Corte Ignacio Merlot (Premium Red and Mixed Cases) strikes a chord with the peppers. The discreet pepperiness of good syrah works too, so Crozes Hermitage Les Jalets (Buyers’ French Classics Red and Mixed Selections) recommends itself.

White-only aficionados are similarly well-served in the New Year Wine Without Fuss collection. Hispanic rather than Spanish, Doña Paulina Valle Central Chardonnay (Buyers’ Everyday White and Mixed cases) has that all-important note of sweet fruit to counter an enthusiastic hand with the chilli. Perhaps the best match of all, is salty, savoury and zesty local hero, Mas d’En Pol Terra Alta (Premium White Selection) and the Catalan connection also favours Jean Gardiés’ elegant but fearless Côtes du Roussillon Blanc Les Glacières (Buyers’ French Classics White and Mixed Selections).

Categories : Wine Without Fuss


  1. Iris Lane says:

    Sounds great and so tasty. I would love someone to cook it for me as Christmas has me all cooked out!

  2. John Dryburgh says:

    Bliadhna mhath ùr.

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