Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blood Sausage in Puff Pastry and Chorizo in Puff Pastry


I love morsels: hence the name of the blog. I love those little tiny bites to eat, those nibbles, canapés, hors d'oeuvres, appetizers, cocktail snacks—whatever you want to call them. Thus, it was almost written in the stars or the tea leaves or the cards (choose your divining practice) that tapas and I became such good friends.

The very philosophy of tapas is morsels (sometimes coupled with sauces) is something I can get behind: a banquet of bites combined to make a meal. I am in! It’s true that I am thrilled with a life of tasting, sampling,  pausing, coming back for favorites. Sure, tapas can stand on their own to make a meal when combined with other tapas, yet they can easily be adapted into an appetizer for a main course. And that’s just what these two tapas did as openers to a larger, delicious spread put out by the in-laws on the night of the Oscars (I know, I know--I am late in posting this; however, I have been busy teaching a class on fiction writing and traveling up the coast to Fort Bragg, where the husband and I rode our bikes along the ocean. My dilatoriness comes with a reason, I promise.)




First off, it’s true that you can make your own puff pastry, and I am certain that you can do it to miraculous results, as long as you have three hours. I, however, did not have time to make my own, and I find that store-bought sheets fare just as well as homemade without all of the fuss. Even the kitchn grants you permission to snap up a box of store-bought over homemade, when necessity dictates. However, if you feel you must make your own, you can find a couple of recipes here and here. Store-bought generally uses shortening over butter, so homemade is going to have that rich, buttery taste; however, sometimes convenience does trump butter. Not very often, but sometimes.

Now, let’s address our tapas one by one, shall we?




As far as I know, this was the first time I had ever eaten morcilla or blood sausage. Sure, the thought of eating pork blood and fat with a little rice and onions encased in intestines is, well, repulsive even as I write that sentence. Don’t let your rational thinking get in the way, for morcilla turns out to be rich, savory, and certainly satisfying. Like all sausage, morcilla's flavor is determined by the seasonings included by its manufacturer, but by and large, it is a wonderfully hearty and complex sausage; this simple tapas celebrates the richness of the meat. Combined with sautéed onions and a smattering of herbs and spices, morcilla turns out a heavily seasoned filling for a puff pastry roll. While eating this particular tapas is not an elegant affair because the meat comes tumbling out when you try to lift the pastry (I recommend a fork for this one), it is certainly a satisfying one. 

 

The second chorizo tapas is about as simple as a tapas can be. Slice sausage, slice dough, put sausage on dough, seal, bake, eat. Sure, there is nothing fancy here, so that means you should splurge on your favorite chorizo, for that sausage is doing all of the heavy lifting. Chorizo can be boiled down to two kinds: Mexican and Spanish. Mexican chorizo is seasoned with vinegar and chile peppers and needs to be cooked before eating. Spanish chorizo smacks of garlic and paprika, can be sliced like pepperoni, and is a vibrant red color (although its flavoring can range from spicy to sweet). (Click here to learn more, again from kitchn.)  Among the Spanish chorizo, one can further distinguish one's sausage: we used was a softer, semicured chorizo rather than a drier, firmer, fully cured chorizo. It was quite tasty and made for an easy bite you can just pop in your mouth.


Coupled together, these two tapas are pretty heavy on the pastry and the meat, so you may want to serve them separately and save one for another night. However, feel free to make them at the same time, for both freeze easily

Then you have tapas on hand the next time you need a morsel.  

Or a nibble or a bite or a snack.
 



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Blood Sausage in Puff Pastry


Yield:
Serves 4

Ingredients:  
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp minced onion
3 ounces morcilla (blood sausage), skin removed, finely chopped
¼ tsp oregano
¼ tsp paprika, preferably Spanish style
salt
pepper
¼ pound puff pastry dough

Instructions:
1.    Preheat the oven to 450°F.
 
2.    Heat oil in a skillet and sauté the onion until wilted. Add the morcilla and mash with a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and stir in the oregano, paprika, salt and pepper (the mixture should be well seasoned).
 
3.    Roll the puff pastry to a 3½ x 9-inch rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place the filling in a narrow strip down the center of the pastry. Wet the edge of one long side with water, bring the two long sides up and pinch well to seal. Wet and pinch the open short ends to seal as well. (May be prepared ahead and refrigerated or frozen.)
 
4.    Place pastry roll seam side down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, reduce to 350°F and bake for 4 minutes more until browned.
 
5.    To serve, cut the pastry roll into 1-inch wide strips.

Chorizo in Puff Pastry

Adapted from  Tapas: Little Dishes of Spain


Yield:
Serves 4

Ingredients:  
½ pound puff pastry dough
¼ pound Spanish chorizo sausage, in ¼-inch slices
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Instructions:
1.    Preheat the oven to 450°F.
 
2.    Roll the puff pastry to the thickness of 1/8-inch thick, and then cut into circles ¼-inch larger than the chorizo slices. (I used a small  biscuit cutter.)
 
3.    Center each slice of chorizo on each circle, wet the edges of the dough with the egg yolk, and cover with another circle of pastry. Seal the edges well with a fork. Refrigerate each puff as it is made so that the pastry does not soften. (May be frozen at this point.)
 
4.    Place the puffs on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed.






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