The Gastrosite of Spanish Recipes

A Guide to Cooking Correctly by Carlos Mirasierras


Technically speaking, the sofrito is a hot sauce that can be obtained by simmering a series of veggies,such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, shallots, etc. (grated, cut into small dice,chopped, etc.) in oil, butter, margarine, etc. The sofrito is a very important part of the Spanish cuisine, and some dare to say that it is the cornerstone of its recipe book; although it's not the leading character of any preparation, so to use too much tomato, or onions, or any other veggies will ruin the preparation, no matter how good or expensive the meats, fish, or otherfood stuffs might be. A tomato sauce, for example, contains a large amount of tomato, onion, leek, etc; the aim is to "wrap" the meat or the fish in a sauce, so in this case we're not talking about sofritos. And going back to the subject, tough meats will gain in flavor during the stewing process because the sofrito will enrich the surrounding liquid/sauce/stock, and the aromas and other organoleptic properties will finally end up in the meat, above all when the stew meat is eaten a day later. There are in fact variations of the sofrito and they include the addition of other elements, such as species (hot or sweet),alcoholic drinks (wine, brandy, flambé or not). A sirloin steak doesn't need asofrito since it is broiled on an intense heat for a short time, so it is juicyand doesn't get overcooked in the process; then you can add a home-made sauce,and that is all about. The arrival of tomatoes and other exotic products from the New Word (Las Indias) changed the cooking rules, and made possible to detach from certain Moorish cooking influences, which were not bad, although the advent of new veggies stirred the creativity of cooks (mostly women at that time), with the result that a new recipe book was beginning to emerge. Today it is unthinkable to cook many of the Spanish recipes without the use of a sofrito; there are many variations that do, or do not, include tomato, and use flour, together with other ingredients, to thicken and flavor the sofrito and turn it into a more elaborate sauce, which in turn could be used on that broiled sirloin that I mentioned before. The imagination is the limit, as long as it is guided by the common sense and the practical knowledge of a series of basic cooking rules.

Red sauce (My recipe) Salsa roja M (61)


Ingredients: 5-6 piquillos peppers (or roasted red bell peppers; although canned ones are OK, too); 1 small onion finely chopped; 1 tbsp of flour; 1 tbsp of butter; 350 ml of veggies broth; salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation: Start by preparing a béchamel sauce with the onion, the flour, the butter, and the broth. Next put the red peppers in a glass blender and process;once they're finely ground, add the béchamel, some salt and mix it all with the blender for a few seconds.

Cabrales sauce (Salda de Cabrales)

Cabrales (queso de Cabrales, in Spanish) is a cheese in the artisan tradition by rural dairy farmers in the north of Spain. This cheese can be made from pure, un-pasteurized cow'smilk or blended in the traditional manner with goat and/or sheep milk, which lends the cheese a stronger, more spicy flavor.
All of the milk used in the production of Cabrales must come exclusively from herds raised in a small zone of production in Asturias, in the mountains of the Picos de Europa. In fact this sauce is a copy developed by me from the French Roquefort sauce, since both cheeses share the same production system.
Ingredients: 1lb of Cabrales, softened with a fork; 3tbsp of unsalted butter, softened with a fork (do not use salted butter as Cabrales is quite salty); 2 cups of dry white wine; 4-6 tsp of dried green peppercorns; 2 cups of cream; 2 tbsp of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped.
Preparation:Mix the cheese and the butter in a bowl until both ingredients form a smooth mixture. Next, boil the wine and the peppercorns in a sauce pan until both things become reduced; add the cream and bring to a boil again until the mixture is reduced by half.
Reduce the heat a moderately low level, whisk in the cheese mixture, a little at a time, and then whisk in the parsley. Remove the pan from the heat and keepthe sauce warm.
Check for seasoning and add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Do not add any salt, since Cabrales cheese is quite salty on its own.

Vinaigrette sauce (Salsa vinagreta)

Ingredients: 1 onion; ½greenpepper; 2 hardboiled eggs;1 tsp of mustard; olive oil;
vinegar; salt; black pepper

Preparation: Mix theonionwith the pepperand eggs in a bowl, all previously chopped.
Add themustard andseason all withoil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Wine sauce (Salsa de vino)

Ingredients: 50 grams of butter; 50 g of wheat flour; 500 ml of broth; 1/2 cup of dry white wine.

Preparation: Cook the butter and the flour in a pan on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the broth and increase the heat to a moderate level. Continue stirring until it begins to boil. At that time add the wine, return to a low heat and cook a little longer. Turn off the heat, let it cool and skim off the fat on the surface. Strain and keep it in the fridge until needed.

Cheese Sauce (Salsa de queso)
Ingredients: 200 grams ofwhite cheese; 2 tbsp ofmustard;salt; black pepper; fine herbs.

Preparation: Place theingredients intoa bowland mixuntil it becomes an homogeneouspreparation. Store inthe refrigerator untilserving time.

Walnut sauce (salsa de nueces)


Ingredients:1 tsp of oregano; 1 sprig of rosemary; 1sprig of thyme; ½onion; 1 cup of beef or chicken broth; 1 cup water; black pepper; salt; 2 or 3 chopped walnuts.
Preparation: Make a broth with the herbs and the cup of water by cooking them for a few minutes. Strain the broth and set aside.
Sauté the onion and add the broth, the pepper, the salt, the nuts and cook another few minutes until the broth is reduced. It is an ideal accompaniment to grilled meats.
Meat marinade sauce
Ingredients: Five garlic cloves, finely chopped; several parsley sprigs (to use only the leaves), finely chopped; 2 tsp of paprika & 1 tsp of hot paprika; 2 tsp of salt; 1 tsp of black pepper; 3 tbsp of olive oil; 4 tbsp of vinegar; a cupful of hot water.
Preparation: Mix the garlic, parsley, paprika, salt, and the black pepper in a glass with a screw cap, add the hot water and let sit the mixture until it cools down; then add the oil, and the vinegar. Give a good shake and keep this sauce in the fridge for at least a week. This sauce is ideal for marinating meats that will be barbequed or cooked on a griddle.
Béarnaise sauce (Salsa bearnesa)

Recipe provided by the Cooking School,IES Escuela de Hosteleria de Leioa

Ingredients: 250g of butter,melted;4 eggs; tarragon vinegar; some tarragon, finely chopped: 3-4 shallots, cut into brunoise.

Preparation: Put the vinegar and the shallots in a saucepan and reduce the vinegar on a mild heat. Drain the reduced preparation, add the egg yolks and emulsify on a medium heat. Once this is achieved, addthe melted butter (clarified ornot).Completethe process of fusion of ingredients, add the choppedtarragon andmix it all. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bilbao sauce (raw preparation) (Salsa bilbaína cruda)

Recipe provided by the Cooking School, IES Escuela de Hosteleria de Leioa

Ingredients: 200 ml of olive oil; 4 garlic cloves,sliced; a sprig of parsley, finely chopped; red chili; 6 tbsp of vinegar.

Preparation: Slowly simmer in olive oil the garlic slices untilthey are soft but not brown.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the chilies, some finely chopped parsley, vinegar, and mix everything well.

Gazpacho sauce (Salsa de gazpacho) Recipe provided by the Cooking School, IES Escuela de Hostelería deLeioa

Ingredients: 1 garlic clove, sliced; 1 green pepper, chunked: 4-5 tbsp of vinegar; 200 ml of water; a pinch of fine salt; 4-5 tomatoes, grated; 100 ml of olive oil.

Preparation: First of all put the ingredients (reserving a little water, the vinegar and all the oil) in a tall glass and mix them with a hand blender; next emulsify the sauce by slowly adding a fine drizzle of oil in the container, while mixing it all well with the hand blender. Strain the mixture through a sieve, add a pinch of salt, vinegar, as well as some of the reserved water in case you want to thin the sauce.

Piquillo sauce (Salsa de piquillo) Recipe provided by the Cooking School, IES Escuela de Hostelería de Leioa

Ingredients: 1 large onion, finely chopped; 10 piquillo peppers, chopped; 7-8 tbsp of flour; 1 l of fish stock.

Preparation: First simmer the onion, and when it is nearly cooked add thered peppers, continue to simmer a little on a low heat, add the flour, give a good stir, add the fish stock and bring the preparation to a boil. Finally, mix the sauce with a hand blender and sieve.

Parsley sauce (Salsa de perejil) Recipe providedby the Cooking School,IES Escuela de Hostelería de Leioa

Ingredients: a small bunch of parsley; 100 ml of water; some salt; 1 garliccloves, sliced; some vinegar to taste; 100 ml of olive oil.

Preparation: Put the parsley (only the leaves and fine stems) with the water, the salt, the vinegar, and the garlic in a mixer glass and grind it all. Sieve the preparation, place again in the mixer glass, and emulsify by adding the oil with a fine drizzle through the upper window of the cap, and finally add salt to taste.

Green pepper sauce (Salsa de pimiento verde) Recipe provided by the Cooking School, IES Escuela de Hostelería de Leioa

Ingredients: 1 large onion; 1 green pepper; 5-6 tbsp of flour; 1 l of fish stock.

Preparation: Sauté the onion, and when it is half cooked add the pepper, simmer for 3-5 minutes, add the flour, give a good stir to build the sauce, and add the fish stock. Bring the preparation to a boil, mix with a hand blender and sieve.
Mushroom sauce (Salsa de champiñones)

Ingredients 4 persons: A small can of sliced mushroom (they can be replaced by fresh ones); 1 medium-sized onion, grated; 1 tbsp of flour; a large cup of beef broth (warm);1-2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce; olive oil & salt.

Preparation: Sauté the mushrooms until they brown a bit, and set aside; add the onion, and simmer it until it crystallizes. Add thef lour and stir with a whip to form the roux. Bit by bit add the warm broth and slowly stir it all until the sauce starts to thicken. Next add the mushrooms, give a good stir, and finally add the Worcestershire sauce. Let it simmer for some mins, check the salt taste, add some water if the sauce gets too thick, and process in the mixer to get an homogeneous sauce. This sauce can be used tot op thick cuts of beef cooked to medium rare; or even immerse such cuts when the meat is undercooked.
Béchamel Sauce (also known as white sauce)

Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter;1/4 cup all-purpose flour; 2 1/4 cup milk; pinch of freshly grated black pepper; nutmeg (optional); and salt.

Preparation: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour when the melted butter is bubbling a bit. Pour in all the milk (better if it is warm), and start whisking the ingredients constantly to get an homogeneous mix and wait until it starts to boil. Season with salt, lower the heat, put a lid on and simmer gently, while stirring occasionally for at least 20 minutes to cook it thoroughly and so avoid it takes a floury taste. During the cooking process check if it needs more salt, add some black pepper and some nutmeg. Add some more milk if the sauce is too thick , but when it is too runny, pour some cornflour (from 1 to 3 tsp) in a cup with some cold milk, whisk both ingredients thoroughly and pour them in the sauce. Next, return the sauce to the fire and check if the béchamel is at the point of thickness you were looking for.

A variation to this sauce is used when preparing croquettes, and it involves adding finely chopped onion (French cooks would use shallot, which is much better to my taste) once the butter is melted and starts to boil. It is also recommendable to initially add half tsp of olive oil to the butter so it doesn't get overheated.
Bolognese sauce (Quick recipe)

Ingredients for 4 servings: 250 gm beef ground meat; 150 gm pork ground meat; 2 onions, finely chopped; 400 gm tomato purée; half glass of white wine;1 tsp corn flour, salt, pepper.

Preparation: Heat some oil (2 tbsp) in a saucepan, add the meat, cook for 2 minutes,and next add the onion and the tomato purée straightaway, together with the wine, and the corn flour to thicken the resulting sauce and some salt to taste. Let simmer the sauce with no lid on for some 25 minutes on a small-to-low fire,and check the salt taste. In the event that the tomato sauce is too thick you can add some water, or cooked tomato sauce. It is better to use cooked tomato sauce (canned) to avoid simmering the preparation for a long time, as ground meat loses its taste properties during the cooking process; it also makes unnecessary to add sugar for lowering acidity.
Allioli (Garlic sauce)

This is a Catalan sauce used for accompanying meats,fish, legumes and some rice preparations. There are two versions: one (the original sauce) for very "brave and iron-mouthed men", and the light one, for current people. It is not a garlic mayonnaise as most people think

Ingredients for the original recipe: All the cloves of a garlic bulb, 1/2 tsp of salt, and olive oil (a mortar and a pestle).

Put the cloves, cut into small dices, in the mortar with the salt; Start pounding both elements to get a very fine paste. Then is the moment to start adding the oil from an oil dispenser, but drop by drop for the first steps of the process. Next go on adding oil, but always with extreme care, that is, a fine drizzle of oil. You will see that the sauce starts to thicken and to get clung around the pestle and to form a single mass. At this point, don't add more or it will turn into a liquid oily sauce (cortarse el allioli).

As to the light version of this sauce, do as follows:

Pound two or three garlic cloves, cut into slices, with the salt to get a fine paste; next add an egg yolk and mix it all with the pestle. From that point on, proceed as explained before with regard to the addition of oil. Some people use a hand-blender, with all the ingredients put in a mixer vase and the blades right on the bottom oft he vase, but, to me, you need a lot of practice. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Biscay Sauce (Salsa Viscaína) Recipe provided by the Cooking School, IES Escuela deHostelería de Leioa.

Ingredients for 1/2 liter of sauce: 3 large onions,finely chopped; 3 dried sweet chorizo ​​peppers, previously soaked in warm water for a few hours so the pulp can be scraped off; 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped; 3 tsp of flour; 1 carrot; 1 l chicken/veggies stock.

Preparation: Simmer the onion and the garlic until both change their color and then add the pepper pulp. Next add the flour to build a roux-like paste, add the stock (fish or meat or veggies, depending on the future use of the sauce), and simmer for some mins until it thickens, while stirring it all continuously to make an homogeneous sauce. Mix it all with a hand blender and strain through a china cap.
Romesco sauce (Salsa Romesco)

Romesco is a sauce from Tarragona (in Northeastern Spain). It is said that the fishermen of the area used it with fish. It is also great with seafood, but it is mostly used with meats and to dress some salads. It also can be used as aready-made sofrito to prepare some rice recipes.

Ingredients for around two cups of romesco: 12 skinned almonds; 10-12 hazelnuts; 1 garlic bulb, (rub the white flossy skin off) ; 1 slice of dried-out bread fried in some olive oil; 2 ripe medium size tomatoes, or 1 large tomato; 2 large roasted red peppers, well-drained; 1cup of extra virgin olive oil; 1/2 cup of red wine or sherry vinegar.

Note: Add approximately 15 minutes to the preparation time if blanching almonds. This romesco sauce recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce.

Preparation:Place the garlic hub, the red peppers and the tomatoes in a roasting pan, drizzle some oil on them and roast in the oven for some 25 minutes at 160ºC (320º F, this two-fold value is a coincidence, so do not take it as a rule of thumb). Next, peel the garlic cloves, the tomatoes and the peppers, remove seeds, remove some of the juices released by the peppers and the tomatoes (not all), and place in a food processor together with the almonds and hazelnuts (skinned), the bread, the oil and the vinegar, and grind all the elements to get a fine paste. Taste to correct salt.


Salsa española

Ingredients for 1/2 litter of sauce: 1 kg. fresh beef bones;1 k chicken bones (which can be replaced by more beef bones); 1/2 k of beef meat; 600 g carrots; 2 medium-sized leeks; 2 onions; 5 garlic cloves; 1 tsp pepper corns; 1 clove; 1 bay leave; 1 ripe tomato, 200 ml. red wine.

Preparation: First of all, place the beef and chickenbones, and the meat in a roasting pan and in the oven at 200ºC (390º F). Keep turning all the pieces so they can brown uniformly; 30 minutes later add the veggies, cut into coarse pieces, and let it all get a brown color. After this, put all these ingredients in a pressure cooker, add water to cover it all sufficiently, together with the pepper, bay leaves, and the clove.

In the meantime, place the roasting pan on the fire and pour some wine on the bottom; bring to a boil,deglaze the caramelized juices, and pour them into the pressure cooker. Lock the lid of the pressure cooker, place it on the fire and let it boil for an hour from the moment the valve stars to let out steam. After this time, strain the resulting broth, let it sit to allow the fat to rise to the top and skim it off.Finally,reduce the amount of broth to a half (around 1/2 liter), and there it is a beef extract of the best quality, also known in Spain as "Caldooscuro, or fondo oscuro. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Gravy Sauce (My recipe) Salsa Gravy
Ingredients: 1cupful of beef broth; 30 ml of olive oil; 2 tbsp of meat extract (Salsa española, Bovril, or similar); 2 tbsp of mustard sauce; and 1 tsp of cornstarch.

Preparation:First lightly heat the olive oil and add the mustard; then add the broth and the corn starch and simmer for 15 minutes, on a mild fire, while stirring with a wirewhip. The final result must be an oily and slightly thick sauce.
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