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Rioja & Food

Recipe of the Month Archive

Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp (April/May 2016)

Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Yield: Serves 2 as a main course or 3 to 5 as an appetizer


12 cloves garlic

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, shells reserved

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch red pepper flakes, or a 1-inch piece dried guajillo chili

1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Finely mince 4 garlic cloves and place in large bowl. Smash 4 cloves under the flat side of a knife and place in a large skillet. Thinly slice remaining four garlic cloves and set aside.

Add shrimp to bowl with minced garlic. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and baking soda. Toss to combine thoroughly and set aside at room temperature.

Add shrimp shells to skillet with smashed garlic and add remaining olive oil and pepper flakes. Set over medium-low to low heat and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until shells are deep ruby red, garlic is pale golden brown, and oil is intensely aromatic, about 10 minutes. Oil should be gently bubbling the whole time. When ready, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, tossing and pressing the shrimp shells to extract as much oil as possible. Discard shells and garlic.

Return flavored oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sliced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until pale golden brown, about 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until shrimp are barely cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add sherry vinegar and parsley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Serious Eats


Mac and Cheese (February/March 2016)



Spiced Lentil Soup (October/November 2015)


Yield: serves 4


1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 teaspoons cumin, ground

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 pound red or brown lentils

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Sea salt

Black pepper, freshly ground


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over medium heat until tender and slightly golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the chard and simmer until tender. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Wine Pairing: The earthiness of the lentils and the spices would pair well with a Rioja Crianza or a Reserva.


Jill Paradiso is a classically trained chef who has worked in the kitchens of Mario Batali and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. She has also done recipe development for Martha Stewart, Whole Foods Markets, and Dean and Deluca and she’s been kind enough to share some of her recipes with us.


Goat Cheese, Walnut and Honey Bruschetta (August/September 2015)

1 baguette, sliced into 2 inch slices

4 ounces soft goat cheese

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup basil leaves, chopped

¼ cup local honey

In a small bowl, gently mix goat cheese, walnuts, and basil leaves. Generously spoon mixture on top of baguette slices. Drizzle with honey and serve. Pair with a Rioja Rosado.


Lemon Soup (June/July 2015)



Spring Orecchiette (April/May 2015)


Beef-Stuffed Peppers "Pimientos Rellenos de Carne" (February/March 2015)

Serves 6

Award-winning chef Lorenzo Cañas makes this dish with the gloriously sweet pimientos Riojanos that grow in Rioja Baja. You may be able to find them at some farmers’ markets during the summer, but the creamy meat filling is delicious in domestic peppers too.

Wine Pairing: Alavesa Reserva (Subzonal)


12 (5- to 6-inch) piquillo peppers (Anaheim or poblano peppers can be substituted)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

½ pound lean ground pork

½ pound lean ground beef

2 teaspoons paprika, preferably Spanish

3 large eggs

Vegetable oil for frying


1. Using a long-handled fork, char the peppers over the open flame of a gas stove or set a metal cooling rack over a burner on an electric stove and turn the peppers with tongs until the skin blackens on all sides. Place the peppers in a plastic bag and allow them to steam for 10 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the bag and, when they are cool enough to handle, peel them, keeping them whole. Cut off the tops and remove the seeds. Set aside.

2. While the peppers cool, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.

Stir in the 2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Slowly but steadily pour the milk into the pan, whisking constantly over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Crumble the pork and beef into the skillet and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, for 5 to 7 minutes or until well browned. Add the paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Allow the mixture to cool.

4. Gently stuff one-twelfth of the filling into each pepper through the hole in the top. Then refrigerate the peppers until cold, to facilitate frying.

5. Break the eggs in a shallow bowl and whisk well. Place the remaining 1 cup of flour on a plate. Pour 1” of vegetable oil in a deep-sided skillet and heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F.

6. Dip the peppers into the flour, then into the egg, and then into the flour a second time. Place the coated peppers into the hot oil with tongs, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until brown and crisp on all sides, turning them gently with tongs. Remove the peppers from the oil with a slotted spatula and drain well on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Note: The peppers can be prepared up to the stage of coating and frying 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered with plastic wrap.

Recipe Courtesy of The Wine Region of Rioja by Ana Fabiano


Easy BBQ Short Ribs (December 2014/January 2015)

Yield: 6 servings

4 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch long pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried ground thyme
2/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Arrange the short ribs in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Pour the sauce over ribs and toss well, coating all the pieces. Cover with aluminum foil and roast until cooked through and tender, about 3 hours. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown the top. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2009


Seafood Paella (October/November 2014)

Serves: 6-8


    2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil

    1 yellow onion, chopped

    1 red bell pepper, chopped

    2 cups brown rice

    ½ teaspoon ground turmeric*

    4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

    1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

    1 bay leaf

    1 cup canned peas, drained

    1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

    1 pound chorizo links, sliced**

    1 pound clams, scrubbed



1.    In a large pot or paella pan, heat the oil over medium and sauté the onion until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2.    Add the chopped red bell pepper, uncooked brown rice, and turmeric and continue sautéing until vegetables have softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3.    Add the low-sodium chicken broth, salt, and bay leaf and bring to a full boil.

4.    Reduce the heat and cover. Allow the rice and veggies to simmer until much of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.

5.    Add the peas, shrimp, and chorizo and mix. Place the clams, hinge-side down into the paella and cover the pot. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until chorizo is heated, shrimp is cooked through, and clams have opened.

6.    Discard any clams that refuse to open.

7.    Serve with your favorite wine!



You can use ½ teaspoon saffron threads in place of ground turmeric, if desired. I used pre-cooked chorizo links. If you use Spanish dry-cured chorizo, it will need to be cooked and you can sauté it with the onion and bell pepper after they have softened up a bit.


Bison Kebabs with Roasted Cherry and Hazelnut Couscous -Small Plate (August/September 2014)

Spiced bison kebabs with nutty couscous and a glass of Rioja wine is a blissful combination. Make a mint and yogurt dipping sauce for a complete meal. Author: Tian Lee, Juicy Peach Diaries




For bison kabobs

3 tablespoons finely chopped mint

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ pound ground bison


For couscous

1 cup whole wheat couscous

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

½ teaspoon salt

1.5 cups fresh cherries (pitted, halved, and roasted in oven until caramelized ~5-10 minutes)

½ cup raw hazelnuts (toasted in oven ~5-7 minutes)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice


For mint yogurt dipping sauce

½ cup fat-free Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped mint, divided

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon water (to thin out if it’s too thick)



1. Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes.

2. Whisk together yogurt, 2 tablespoons mint, garlic, lemon juice, sugar and water. Cover and chill.

3. Pit, halve and place cherries on pan with cooking spray. Roast for 10 min or until carmelized. Roast raw hazelnuts and let it cool for 15 minutes. When cool, roughly chop with knife.

4. Prepare whole wheat couscous (use Trader Joes – it’s delish) according to box. Mix in cooled roasted cherries, leftover chiffonated mint from the yogurt dipping sauce, and add in chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

5. Mix mint and next 6 ingredients in a bowl. Form into 12 football shaped meatballs. Coat grill pan (or regular pan) with cooking spray; preheat over medium-high heat. Cook kebabs, turning, 3 minutes for medium. When done, poke wooden skewers through meat and finish for a 1-3 minutes in the oven to make sure the meat is cooked through.

6. Serve bison kabobs medium or medium rare with side of couscous.


Fresh Salmon Burgers with Tarragon Mayonnaise (June/July 2014)

Summertime is the perfect season to invite friends over for a glass of wine and some light fare. Check out this recipe  from our friends at Epicurious. Pair with a crisp stainless white or juicy Rosado, such as Rioja El Coto or Ontañon. Enjoy!

Yield: serves 4


•1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 2 1/4 cups)

•4 green onions, chopped

•1 tablespoon drained small capers

•1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

•1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

•1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

•1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish

•1/2 teaspoon salt

•1/2 teaspoon pepper

•1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

•1 tablespoon butter

•8 slices brioche loaf or egg bread, toasted

•4 large tomato slices

•8 radicchio leaves

•tarragon mayonaise



To make burgers:

Combine first 9 ingredients in medium bowl. Add 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and mix well. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix breadcrumbs into salmon mixture. Form into four 1-inch-thick patties. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon patties; cook until just firm to touch and brown and crusty, about 3 minutes per side.

To assemble:

Place 1 slice of toast on each of 4 plates. Top each with burger. Spread burgers generously with mayonnaise. Top each with tomato slice, 2 radicchio leaves and second toast slice. Serve immediately, passing remaining mayonnaise separately.


Chop House Spaghetti (April/May 2014)

This is a recipe courtesy of the James Beard Foundation. The London Chop House was a Detroit dining institution during the 1940s and 1950s, and a favorite of James Beard’s.

Yield: 4 servings


1 dozen large or 2 dozen small oysters, fresh or canned

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped onions

1 cup white wine, oyster liquor, or clam juice

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 pound spaghetti

Fresh basil, chopped



Chop oysters or leave them whole, as you wish. (Beard preferred his chopped.) Save any liquor from the oysters. Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet, add garlic and onions, and sauté until wilted and just beginning to turn golden. Add the oyster liquor plus enough clam juice or white wine to make 1 cup liquid. (If you don’t have any oyster liquor, use 1/2 cup clam juice and 1/2 cup white wine.) Cook this down for 2 to 3 minutes, until it’s reduced by nearly half, then add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, have ready a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water to cook your pasta. Boil the spaghetti rapidly until it reaches the stage of tenderness you like. Drain well. Toss oysters in the sauce just enough to heat them through. Add more chopped parsley and a touch of fresh basil. Divide the pasta among 4 plates, spoon the oyster sauce over it, and serve at once.


Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse (February/March 2014)

Recipe courtesy of James Beard Foundation

Pastry chef turned Indian take-out queen Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez demonstrated how to make this rich, dairy-free chocolate mousse at her chocolate workshop at the Beard House. The recipe was inspired by her good friend, Teresa Barrenechea, author of The Basque Table (2005) and The Cuisine of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking (2005) and chef/owner of Marichu restaurant in NYC. For the most delicate flavor, choose a sweet, subtle olive oil, such as those produced in the Lake Garda region of Italy.


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 large eggs, separated

2/3 cup confectioners' sugar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup brewed espresso

2 tablespoons liqueur, such as blackberry brandy


Yield: 8 servings


Melt the chocolate over a double broiler and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed until light and lemon yellow in color. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, as you would for a mayonnaise. Once the olive oil has been incorporated, add the melted chocolate, espresso, and liqueur. Mix on low speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Fold the whites thoroughly into the chocolate mixture and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.


Chorizo Corn Bread Stuffing (December 2013)

Recipe courtesy of Photo by Chris Gentile.

This corn bread stuffing is a stroke of genius. It's so easy, you'll be making it far more often than once a year for Thanksgiving! Shelley Wiseman, author of Just Tacos, knows a thing or two about corn—and not just in tortillas—and she decided to skip the process of drying the cubes of corn bread in the oven. That alone is a huge time-saver. To enliven the corn bread, she balances the flavor punch of chorizo with the sweetness of onions and corn kernels. When it comes time to bake it in a dish (not inside the turkey), she forgoes the old process of covering the stuffing—which allows steam to soften the dried bread—because the bread isn't dry. She simply bakes it uncovered, so that the top gets golden with crispy brown edges, while the interior stays moist. Makes 8 to 10 servings (10 cups).

Corn bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 8 ounces Spanish chorizo (dry-cured spiced sausage), casing removed and sausage coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups packed; see Cooks' Notes)
  • 2 cups fresh, or thawed frozen, corn kernels (one 10-ounce package)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups turkey stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • Special equipment: 8-inch square baking pan


For corn bread:
1. Heat oven to 400°F with rack in middle and butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Whisk together milk, egg, and butter in a small bowl and stir into dry ingredients. Pour batter into buttered baking pan.

4. Bake until golden and a tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

5. Cool corn bread in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.

6. Cut corn bread into 3/4-inch cubes and put in a large bowl.

For stuffing:
1. Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, then add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.

2. Add chorizo, corn, sage, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add parsley.

3. Toss chorizo mixture with corn bread and transfer to a 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Drizzle with chicken broth.

4. Bake at 400°F uncovered, until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cooks' Notes:

•Spanish chorizo is a dry-cured pork sausage that gets its distinctive smoky flavor from pimentón de la Vera, a sweet red chile grown in the La Vera valley of western Spain, and slowly smoke-dried before being ground into a powder. There are many different brands of Spanish chorizo and they vary surprisingly in looks, texture, and flavor. Some are imported from Spain and some are made in the United States. A Spanish brand we particularly like is Palacios, which is available in some specialty markets, Latino markets, and by mail order from

•Corn bread can be baked 1 day ahead and kept covered at room temperature.
•Stuffing can be assembled without stock 4 hours ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.


Penelope Casa's Garlic Green Beans (Judias Verdes con Ajo) - November 2013

Photo by James Ransom

Author Notes: This technique looks embarrassingly simple, and it is. But it shakes up our habits, and with four ingredients, lets green beans become their best selves. Resist the temptation to add liquid. The beans will stew in their own juices, and their flavor will be completely undiluted. You could leave the garlic out, but its pushy sting will soften a little on the warmth of the beans. Adapted from The Foods and Wines of Spain (Knopf, 1982) - Genius Recipes

Serves 4

 ¾ pounds fresh green beans

1 tablespoon butter

1 clove garlic, crushed

Coarse salt

1. Snap off the tops of the beans. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beans, and cook them over a medium to medium-high flame, stirring, until they begin to brown.

2. Lower the flame, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.

3. Mix in the crushed garlic, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.


Coca de cebolla con pimientos, anchoas y queso Manchego (October 2013)

(Traditional Catalan flatbread with caramelized onions, roasted peppers, anchovies, and Manchego cheese)

Bread with a roasted topping seems to be a registered trademark of the Italian kitchen. But this is also a very traditional and popular way of cooking in Catalonia. Instead of pizza, we have coca -- hundreds of varieties of sweet and savory cocas. What distinguishes cocas from their Italian cousins is the almost complete absence of cheese and tomato. This version uses Spanish ingredients that are easily found in supermarkets across the United States.

Serves 4

For the onions
1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

For the flatbread
1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt 20 black olives, pitted and cut into small pieces
one 13-ounce jar piquillo peppers (Spanish wood-roasted sweet peppers), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
16 anchovy fillets (oil-packed)
6 ounces Manchego cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Prepare the onions: Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and brown (caramelized), around 30 minutes. If the onions start to get too dark, add 1/2 tablespoon of water to keep them cooking evenly without burning. Set them aside.

Make the flatbread: In a small bowl, stir the yeast into the milk. Place the flour and salt in a food processor, add the yeast mixture, and process for 60 seconds, until you have a well-mixed dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the dough to rise. Meanwhile, heat the owen to 350 degrees. Take out the dough and knead it for 5 minutes. Then cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface and roll a ball of dough out to form a very thin long strip, around 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Prick the strip with a fork. Repeat seven more times, creating 8 strips of dough. Cover the strips of dough with the caramelized onions and the olives. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, leaving it on.

Cover the cocas with a layer of piquillo pepper strips. Add 2 anchovies on top of each, and sprinke with the grated cheese. Return to the oven for 2 minutes.

Drizzle the cocas with olive oil, add sea salt to taste, and sprinkle with the chopped chives. Serve hot.


Rub for Steak and Fine Cuts of Beef (September 2013)


Pork and Lamb Rub (August 2013)


Shrimp and Fish Rub (July 2013)


Chicken Rub (June 2013)


Burger Rub (May 2013)


Pollo al Ajillo (Chicken with Garlic) by Chef José Andrés (April 2013)

Chicken may seem fairly ordinary, but until recently it was an expensive item in Spain. Not so long ago, this dish was a combination of poor man's ingredient (garlic) and a rich man's ingredient (chicken). It's now a classic tapa. The sauce you're left with -- an emulsified mixture of the olive oil, the natural juices of the chicken, and the sherry -- is perfect for dipping bread. The heavy garlic and herb presence harmonize well with a Rioja Alavesa, which has an herbaceous quality. Try Ysios Reserva, or if in the mood for something lighter, Luis Alegre Rosado
Serves 4
10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
12 chicken wings cut in ahalf at the joint
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Spanish Manzanilla sherry
1/4 cup chicken stock
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard with the base of your hand or with the flat side of a knife. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium flame, add the garlic, and sauté until it is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the chicken wings, and sauté until browned on all sides, 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and sherry. Stir the mixture well so the oil and sherry emulsify, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook for 1 more minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Asparagus and Eggs (March 2013)

Here is a dish that can be put together in just around 10 minutes. It looks beautiful and can be served as a main dish at brunch or as a salad for dinner. As always, the fresher the eggs, the better the dish, especially in simple preparations such as this. Note: adding a bit of wine or vinegar to the poaching water helps the egg hold its shape by causing the outer layer of the egg white to congeal faster. We recommend wine over vinegar, simply because it tastes better!
2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons wine, preferably a Rioja rosé
8 eggs
¼ cup pine nuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, quartered
Sea salt to taste
1. In a deep frying pan, bring 2 ½ inches of water to boil. Salt generously; add asparagus; cook about 3 ½ minutes; remove from water.
2. Add wine to water; reduce heat to medium-low. Gently crack eggs into water; cook 3 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer eggs to small stack of paper towels to absorb excess water.
3. Serve on large serving platter, arranging asparagus in one layer; place eggs on top. Garnish with pine nuts and olive oil; serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Yield: Serves 8
Rioja Pairing:
Both asparagus and eggs are notorious for being difficult to pair with wine because they both contain sulfurous elements that can make wine taste vegetal, but difficult does not mean impossible! Try this dish with a bright, fruity Rioja rosé, you will not be disappointed.

Root Vegetable Stew (December 2012)

Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a glass of Rioja with a hearty stew. This satisfying dish truly highlights the various textures, colors and flavors of root vegetables. It can be served as a main course but would look especially beautiful as a side dish on a holiday table. Enjoy!
Note: This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated, but do not add turnip greens until ready to serve - they are best when they are bright green and lightly wilted.
6 cipollini onions, peeled
6 baby turnips, washed and halved (or 2 large turnips, quartered); turnip greens reserved
½ lb baby carrots
4 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 leeks, washed, cleaned and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 parsnips cut in ¼-inch rounds
1 celery root, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup Rioja, preferably barrel fermented white or Crianza
2 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
Sea salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In heavy roasting pan, combine vegetables and olive oil; toss to coat. Roast turning every 10 minutes, until vegetables are browned, about 30 minutes.
2. Transfer pan to stove over high heat. Add wine, stock and herbs; cook 15 minutes. Add turnip greens; cook and stir to wilt; season with salt. Remove herb sprigs before serving.
Yield: 8-10 as a side dish
Rioja Pairing:
Root vegetables have a delicate creaminess and earthy flavor that would pair beautifully, but not be overwhelmed by the warmth and spice of a Rioja Crianza or the richness of barrel-fermented white.

Rioja-Style Potato and Chorizo Stew (November 2012)

This month’s recipe, Rioja-Style Potato and Chorizo Stew is from Chef Teresa Barrenechea, also a Spanish cuisine author. A famous peasant dish, it is typical of the Rioja region of Spain. Paired with a Rioja red, this dish makes the perfect appetizer for a crisp fall night.
Recipe courtesy of
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized Spanish onion
2 chorizo sausages, about 1 pound
5 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon hot paprika powder
1 tablespoon salt
Yield: 4 servings
Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat a 2- or 3-quart stockpot over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the chorizo sausages in small (1/4-inch) dice and add to the onions. Stir for 1 minute more.
There is an old peasant trick to keep in mind when preparing the potatoes. Cut them so that they are the size of chestnuts. When cutting the potato, insert the knife only partway, so potato is not cut all the way through. To complete the cut, break the piece off. The broken edge of the potato allows its starch to be released more efficiently. Add them to the stew.
Add the paprika powder and salt. Stir the stew well. Increase the heat to high and add water just to cover the ingredients. Bring the stew to a rapid boil. When boiling is reached, turn the heat to medium low and let the stew simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. If additional thickness is desired, crush a few of the potatoes against the wall of the pot and mix them in before serving. Serve the stew in soup plates.

Sausage and Bell Pepper Flat Bread (October 2012)

October is the perfect time for enjoying some tapas and red wine with friends. This month’s tapas recipe “Roasted Sausage and Bell Pepper Flat Bread” was created by Chef Rhys Lewis of the Colonial Williamsburg Lodge. Because of the young fruit in Rioja Crianza wines, many of them would pair well with the roasted sausage and cheese in this recipe. Try La Montesa from Palacios Remondo or Ramon Bilbao Crianza. Enjoy!
Ingredients: For the Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. granulated garlic
1 package rapid rise yeast
1 ¼ cup water – at 120 degrees
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
Cornmeal for dusting
Method: For the Dough
In a large mixing Bowl, combine 3 ½ cups of the All Purpose flour, salt, granulated garlic and Yeast. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, honey, and warm water. Blend with the flour mixture until you have formed a ball. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 7 minutes. Cut the Dough into four even pieces and form into balls. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour, covered with plastic wrap.
To make the Flat Bread, remove the dough from the cooler and allow it to come to room temperature, before rolling it out on a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll them out to a thickness of ¼ to 1/8 inch thick.
Dust a baking sheet with the corn meal and place the flat bread dough on it. Bake at 400 degrees until the dough is set, approximately 3-4 minutes.
Flatten the dough gently if they soufflé, being careful to not be burned by the steam inside. Allow to cool to room temperature. Reserve covered until needed.    
Ingredients: For the Flat Bread
1 pound hot sausage, removed from casing
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/8 cup olive oil
Kosher salt & fresh pepper
1 pound Roth Kase -- Serifina Cheese
½ pound Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan, shredded 
Method: For the Flat Bread Ingredients
Toss the bell peppers in olive oil and place directly on a pre-heated grill, allowing them to char on the outside skin evenly. Remove them from the grill and place in an air tight container until cooled.
Top the flat bread evenly with the roasted sausage and bell peppers and the shredded Sartori SarVecchio Parmesan cheese.
Bake the flat breads in a 400 degree oven until crisp and the ingredients are warmed through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest on a cutting board for 2-3 minutes. Cut into pieces and enjoy.

Grilled Skirt Steak (September 2012)

Skirt steak is a great choice for entertaining because it is one of the beefiest, most flavorful cuts of meat and usually quite affordable. The one caveat is that skirt steak requires a bit of tenderizing ahead of time. This recipe uses wine, a natural tenderizer, to help break down the tough fibers in the meat.

Note: Be sure to slice skirt steak against the grain, otherwise the meat will be too chewy.



1 ½ lb skirt steak

1 cup red Rioja, preferably a Reserva or Gran Reserva

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved

2 tablespoons butter

Sea salt and pepper to taste


1. Using a fork, make a series of holes on both sides of the steak to help the marinade penetrate more effectively. In a sealable bag or non-reactive bowl, combine steak and wine; allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, the longer the better.

2. Remove meat from marinade; season liberally with salt. Reserve marinade for later use.

3. Brush heated grill with olive oil; cook steak until medium-rare, about 4 minutes on one side, then 3 minutes on the other. Remove steak from grill; rub with garlic; let rest 5 minutes.

4. While meat is resting, transfer wine marinade to small saucepan over high heat; cool until liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Wisk in butter, salt and pepper. Spoon over sliced meat and serve.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Rioja Pairing:

The deep beefiness of this cut of meat really calls for a red wine. The tertiary aromas of leather and cigar present in many aged Riojas such as a Gran Reserva would be an excellent complement to this dish. You could certainly serve this with the wine used for the marinade.