Inspired by the Spanish cooking class Robert and I attended last summer, my family decided to do a big Spanish feast for Christmas Eve dinner. It was one of the more hectic cooking experiences I’ve had. Since my sister couldn’t make it for the full day of cooking, and since we were now the so-called “experts of Spanish cuisine,” Robert and I were responsible for more of the cooking this year. Robert pitched in both with dicing various ingredients and attempting to keep a calm atmosphere in the kitchen. Unlike me. I’m very good at making lists, organizing tasks, and taking care of any leisurely advance cooking, but once the pre-dinner chaos ensues, I tend to freak out a little. Cooking two giant pans of paella while simultaneously sautéing greens, filling mushroom tartlets, making sure the table is set and that the guests have drinks in hand – all this plus a toddler underfoot, sweeping up after you with his brand new broom – makes for a pretty crazy time. It was a miracle the way everything came together. Here is the menu:

The paella and the pork & bean stew were the evening’s biggest hits. I was worried about the paella since, in spite of my planning, we ended up making it up as we went along. It turned out great. The rice was cooked perfectly and the seafood was moist and flavorful. We even managed to develop a nice socarrat, the caramelized crust that forms on the bottom of the paella pan and is considered by many in Spain to be the best part. The pork & bean stew was especially tasty. Then again, how could a recipe that calls for spicy Spanish chorizo and smoked paprika be anything other than wonderful? Other highlights included the sautéed greens, which we made using a combination of red chard and Tuscan kale, and the mushroom tartlets, which highlighted my sister’s perfect pie crust. Our Spanish feast will definitely go down as one of the most memorable Christmas meals in my family’s history. Happy holidays!

1 Comment »

  1. okay, now I have GOT to get on your invitation list! YUM!

    Comment by Philip Swanstrom Shaw — December 29, 2009 @ 12:10 pm

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