Saturday, 2 April 2016

Chorizo meatballs and Los Monteros Crianza & Santiago 1541 Syrah Cabernet Malbec

Though the unequivocal star of our Easter feast was those lamb shanks cooked with chorizo and beans, we kicked off the lunch in equally Spanish style with these tapas meatballa. The key to these tasty, juicy little wonders? Chorizo. Let's face it: when has it adding some chorizo ever made anything worse?

Oh, Andalusia, mi corazon. Somehow I will get through these remaining weeks, but trust me, I can't be back under your sun soon enough!

In case you've already tried and tested my recipe for albondigas, Spanish meatballs, give these a go, too. The original albondigas recipe quickly became one of the most popular recipes on the blog, but something tells me you just might go un poco loco for these babies as well...!

24 meatballs

Chorizo meatballs:

1/2 large onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chillipowder
1/2 tsp pimentón
400 g ground beef
200 g fresch chorizo
handful of finely chopped parsley
salt, pepper

The sauce:

rest of the onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash (appr. 1/2 dl) dry sherry (or white wine)
500 g passata
salt, pepper

Squeeze the chorizo meat out of the casing and finely chop using either a knife or a blender. Add to ground beef. 

Sauté onion and garlic in a little bit of oil until translucent. Add spices and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add, along with parsley, into the meats. Season and quickly work into a smooth mixture. Take a little ball, fry it and check for taste, adding more seasoning as needed. 

Transfer to fridge to rest and prepare the sauce.

Add a little oil into the pot you used for sautéing the onion and spices for the meatballs. Sauté remaining onion and garlic until translucent. Then add cinnamon and sherry. Glaze the pot, scraping any bits from the bottom. Bring to boil. 

Add passata and season. Let simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. 

Roll the meatball mixture into 24 meatballs. Drop into the sauce, shaking the pot carefully to make sure all the meatballs are covered in sauce. Cook, covered, until meatballs are done - 15-20 minutes. 

Serve with good crusty bread to mop up every last bit of the sauce.

Our esteemed jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the wine pairing, so here's a two for one offer - both of them good.

Los Monteros Crianza comes from Valencia and is made with Monastreel grape which elsewhere in the world is known as Mourvedre. The producer is the same as the one behind the wine pairing for those lamb shanks with chorizo and beans: Bodegas Murviedro.

This crianza is an easy-drinking wine with sweet ripeness and fruitiness, with a little bit of spice on the side. Oak lends it gentle vanilla aroma, too. Soft, mellow wine for just about any BBQ feast and variety of pork dishes.

But why is itcalled Crianza if the grape is Monastrell, you ask? Ah. Let me explain. 

Crianza refers to the classification of Spanish DO (Denominación de Origen) wines. First one of these classes is called Sin Crianza or Jouven and these might not be oaked at all. Next up is Crianza, which is aged for a minimum of two years, out of which minimum 6 months in oak (usually Spanish though French oak has become increasingly popular, too). Third one is called Reserva, and these reds are aged for at least three years, out of which at least one in oak. The highest is Gran Reserva, which are subject to minimum 5 years ageing with minimum 2 years in oak.

Another easy and fairly fool proof wine pairing for spicier meat dishes is this Chilean. While Chilean reds have traditionally not been much to write home (or on the blog) about, Santiago 1541  Syrah Cabernet Malbec  was a nice surprise and offers plenty of value for the money. 

It's smooth with berry notes and gentle toastiness which makes it great all round wine for buffets, picnics and grilled meats. Its jamminess accommodates even spicier marinades and even sausages. 

While not necessarily outstanding in any way, easy drinking Chilean blends are wildly popular in Finland. Recently I have had the chance to sample some genuinely interesting new Chileans that I hope to explore more in the near future. Stay tuned! 

What's your take on Chilean wines? Yay or nay? 






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