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Rioja & Food

Authentic Riojan Recipes

Included in this section are some authentic Riojan recipes as well as tips for entertaining. Here are some of our favorites...

Patatas a la Riojana (Rioja-Style Potato and Chorizo Stew)

from Teresa Barrenechea, Marichu NYC/posted on


“This is a famous peasant dish which can be enjoyed as an appetizer,” says Marichu’s Teresa Barrenechea. “It is typical of the Rioja region of Spain as well as the Basque province of Álava. Accompanied by a glass of smooth, red Rioja wine, it is a perfect winter or summer dish.”



  • 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



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. 

Yield: 4 servings


Spanish Rioja Vegetable Medley recipe - (Menestra riojana)

Posted on
  • 8 small onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • approx. 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 12 canned white asparagus spears
  • approx. 1 cup fresh green beans
  • 4 artichokes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt

Wash and cut the green beans into pieces and boil in salted water for 10 minutes.

Cook the peas for 10 minutes and the artichokes for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside, also keeping the cooking water.

Blanch and peel the onions and gently fry in the oil together with the leeks cut in rings, peel and add the carrots.

Sprinkle with flour, then add the vegetable cooking water, cover and cook for 20 minutes, occasionally shaking to prevent sticking.

Add the green beans, peas, artichokes, and asparagus. Bring to a boil and serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings


Grilled Herbed Baby Lamb Chops

Contributed by Mario Batali on


  • 12 4 oz. baby lamb rib chops
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped dried lavender buds
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper



Light a grill. Rub the lamb all over with the olive oil and drizzle with the vinegar. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, rosemary and lavender and season with salt and pepper. Rub the herb mixture over the lamb and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. Transfer to a platter, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Yield: 4 servings