Baked Patatas Bravas

Baked Patatas Bravas

I think it’s only appropriate to begin this post by saying that I’ve never been to Spain. If you’d like to take me there, I can be packed and ready in an hour, but until then, my experience with authentic Spanish tapas will remain limited. That said, I have plenty of experience with tapas restaurants in the states – they’re possibly my favorite kind of restaurant. Sitting down with friends to experience not just a dish or two, but instead a wide variety, is how all meals would be served in my ideal world.

One of the best and simplest tapas out there is Patatas Bravas. How could anyone not get excited about golden brown potatoes that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, drizzled with a spicy tomato sauce and a creamy garlic aioli? There are a million recipes out there for Patatas Bravas – my intention was to replicate the ones I like best. All the tapas restaurants in my area seem to serve an almost identical version, so hopefully I’ve done it justice!

The spicy tomato sauce is actually very similar to my Tomato Basil Bisque recipe, with a few key flavor alterations. The aioli is a fairly standard lemon garlic aioli. Patatas Bravas are typically fried potatoes, but I chose to bake mine to make them slightly healthier, and for general ease. Deep frying at home is quite a process, compared to throwing a tray in the oven.

Baked fries/chunks of potato are a little difficult to get perfectly crispy in the oven, but the technique I used cooked them just the way I wanted. You start by putting your chopped potatoes in a pot of cold water and bringing it to a boil. Once the pot reaches a boil, you remove your potatoes from the heat, toss them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and flour, and bake them on a tray at very high heat in the oven. I haven’t tried this method for fries but you better believe I intend to. This technique could also be something that experienced chefs have known about for years, and here I am just discovering it. The more I learn about cooking, the more I find that I will never know enough about cooking.

I served my Patatas Bravas with a cheese board, some salsa bruschetta (a recipe that I will be posting here soon!), and of course some sangria. Can’t forget the sangria. Bobby (my husband) and I basically gobbled it down, sitting on the floor of our apartment (we do have furniture – we’re just weird). I prefer to imagine that we sat on a balcony in Spain, in the warm glow of the last of the day’s sunlight, glasses of cold, fizzy, white sangria in hand, reaching for another helping of everything. Food can transport me the same way a good book does – or maybe I’m just delusional? You be the judge. I’ll be busy eating Patatas Bravas on my “balcony.”

 




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Baked Patatas Bravas

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Potatas

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps white flour

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme

Lemon Garlic Aioli

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/16 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pot with enough cold water to submerge them completely. Cook over high heat, just until the water reaches a boil. Drain, keeping the potatoes in the same pot. Add olive oil and flour to the potatoes and shake the pot until they're well coated - this is much easier than stirring to get them evenly coated. 

    2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spread potatoes on the tray in a single layer, and cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven after 15 minutes, and flip the potatoes to ensure they brown on all sides. When they're golden brown and the outsides are all crispy, they're done. 

    3. While the potatoes cook, make your sauces. For the aioli, add all five ingredients to a small bowl and stir until well combined. For the tomato sauce, chop onion and add to a small pot with 1 Tbsp of butter. Let cook until the onion is soft and starting to become transparent. 

    4. Mince 1 clove of garlic and add it to the pot, with the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Let it come to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. After lowering the heat, add the remaining ingredients, and stir frequently.

    5. Remove sauce from heat and pour into a blender (I used my NutriBullet, as always). Blend until smooth. 

    6. Remove potatoes from the oven, pour into your serving dish and drizzle with both sauces. Enjoy!


Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

I was roaming the internet, looking for inspiration, when I came across this cranberry and goat cheese flatbread. It clearly has made the rounds on Pinterest, and for good reason – it’s quite pretty. Having posted a flatbread recipe recently, I figured this would be a great time to try out some interesting new toppings. Although to be fair, you could put just about anything on flatbread and I’d try it. Not to turn this post into an ode to flatbread or anything.

I love the goat cheese and cranberry combination, but I wanted to give the dish another dimension, and make it more filling. With the tart, yet sweet cranberry sauce already in mind, I knew spicy, smoky pulled pork would be the perfect addition. The cranberry sauce is reminiscent of a barbecue sauce on the pulled pork, but with a different, fruitier flavor profile. The goat cheese is a perfect element to mellow some of the spice from the pork, and keep the tang of the cranberry sauce from being overwhelming.

Cranberry sauce seems to get attention only around the holidays, and I think that’s kind of a tragedy. It’s delicious with so many other things besides turkey and stuffing. That said, finding fresh or even frozen cranberries after January 1st is like trying to find truly good gluten-free pizza crust: may exist, but hard to locate. My cranberry sauce calls for part dried cranberries and part canned whole cranberry sauce, so it can (and should!) be made between the months of January and October. My recipe for this is adapted from a Food Network version.

The pulled pork in this recipe is done in the slow cooker, with a rub from Kevin and Amanda. Their recipe has a lot more to it, brining, and cooking in the oven, etc., but I just took the rub, coated my pork, tossed it in the slow cooker with a little water, and let it go, and it’s some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever eaten. Every bite is extremely flavorful and a little spicy, without being overpowering. The goat cheese I used is “La Bonne Vie Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese”- I just got it from my local grocery store, but you could honestly use any decent herb goat cheese. Trader Joe’s has a great, inexpensive one.

Since I’ve essentially given you a rundown of how wonderful all the components of this dish are on their own, you can imagine how I reacted when I tried them together. There was a lot of swooning, and uncivilized devouring, and general elation.




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Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbread

Pulled pork recipe is adapted from Kevin and Amanda's Perfect Pulled Pork.  

Cranberry sauce recipe is adapted from Gourmet Magazine's Savory Dried Cranberry Sauce - Recipe found through foodnetwork.com

Servings 3 flatbreads

Ingredients

Pulled Pork

  • 1 4-8 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Cranberry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp balsamic vingar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
  • 1/2 cup canned whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/8 tsp rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp tarragon

Other Ingredients

  • 3 large flatbreads
  • 8-12 oz herb goat cheese (2-3 small logs), depending on how much you like goat cheese - I used 12oz.
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme or parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slow cook the pork: mix together all dry ingredients to create a rub. Roughly chop yellow onion, and place in slow cooker with the 1/2 cup of water. 

    2. Pat pork shoulder dry with paper towel, and coat generously with the dry rub on all sides. Massage it into the meat with your hands to make sure it really sticks. 

    3. Place pork in the slow cooker, on top of the onions. Cover and let cook on high 4-6 hours, or on low 8-10 hours, until pork is falling off the bone and tender. Remove bone from the pot, and shred the meat with two forks. 

    Note: this pulled pork recipe yields much more pork than you'll need to use for your flatbreads. Extra meat can be frozen to use later.

    4. If you're making your flatbread, do it when the pork is about an hour and a half from being done. You can easily use pre-made flatbread if you prefer. You can find my flatbread recipe linked in the post above.  Instead of splitting the dough into eight pieces like I typically do, I split it into three, to make larger flatbreads. The method for cooking them is the same. 

    5. When your pork is about a half hour from done, make the cranberry sauce. Stir together brown sugar and cornstarch in a small sauce pan. Add white wine and chicken broth and set over low heat. Stir until well combined. Add vinegar, dried cranberries and canned cranberry sauce, rosemary, tarragon, and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be quite thick. Remove from heat. Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a week. 

    6: Assemble Pulled Pork and Cranberry Flatbreads: spread each flatbread with a generous amount of goat cheese, saving 2-4 oz aside. Top with a layer of pulled pork- you can add as much or as little as you like here. Drizzle with cranberry sauce (again, quantities are up to you).  I used all of my sauce between three flatbreads. Top with small crumbles of the remaining goat cheese. Bake flatbreads in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, until the cheese gets soft and the flatbreads are warm and a just little crispy on the bottoms. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley. 




Stuffed Corn Bubbles

Stuffed Corn Bubbles

When you do a search for Super Bowl snacks, you’re inevitably greeted with photos of cheese plates arranged to look like football stadiums, and cute little cupcakes topped with green grass frosting and tiny field goal posts. There’s certainly nothing wrong with these if you have the time for them, but I can’t say I know anyone who does! When I’m planning Super Bowl snacks, I’m thinking easy, throw-in-the-oven food that doesn’t require days of prep work ahead of time. Stuffed Corn Bubbles have everything you could want in a party appetizer, or even an after-school snack for the kids. The active cooking time is only about thirty minutes, the recipe makes a ton, and they reheat well.  They have a slightly crisp outside, a fluffy yet doughy inside, and can be filled with anything you desire – in my case, buffalo chicken dip.

This is another recipe that I’ve had forever – the original came from Fleischmann’s Yeast, although I discovered it on Recipe Link. My version is quite different, as I’ve added a lot more flavor to the dough itself. Onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chipotle powder, and chili powder flavor the dough, and combined with their outstanding texture, these go way beyond typical stuffed-dough recipes.

They’re named Corn Bubbles because the dough uses both flour and corn meal. This combination gives them the outstanding texture. They’re heartier than a regular dinner roll without being heavy, chewy without being tough. Filled with anything you can dream up, and brushed with melted butter, these are satisfying bites of pure comfort and happiness.

Stuffed Corn Bubbles seem like they take a long time to make, but that’s only because of the yeast in the dough. There’s about an hour total of resting time. If you’re not in a hurry, I think resting time for a dough is actually wonderful, because it means you’re multi-tasking without even trying.  Plus that whole developing flavor thing. Completely passive parts of cooking still count as getting something done, right? I did use rapid rise yeast for this recipe though, because no one wants to wait longer than a couple hours for these to be ready.

Filling these with buffalo chicken dip is an excellent choice, but I’d also recommend barbecue pulled pork, or some variation of a beefy queso dip, with plenty of beef to keep it from being too drippy. Just make sure to pinch the seams really well when you’re stuffing them, or the filling will ooze out the bottom, into your pan. The dough is wonderfully stretchy after kneading, so filling your corn bubbles is an easier process than it might sound. I use a kitchen scale to weigh the bubbles as I fill them, to make sure each corn bubble gets exactly 16g so they don’t get too full. This helps them all stay uniform, which means they’ll bake evenly.

If you give these a try, let me know what you filled them with! I’m always looking for new ideas for a recipe this versatile.

Need more ideas for Super Bowl snacks? Check out my Loaded Baked Potato Tots!




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Stuffed Corn Bubbles

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 32 bubbles

Ingredients

Corn Bubbles

  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 packages Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsps salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter

Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb cooked, shredded chicken

Instructions

  1. Set aside 1 cup flour. In large bowl, mix remaining flour, cornmeal, undissolved yeast, sugar, salt, and seasonings; set aside.

    2. Heat milk, water and butter until hot to touch (125 to 130 degrees F); stir into dry mixture. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough.

    3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover (I just turn the bowl upside-down over the dough). Let rest 10 minutes.

    4. Divide dough into 32 equal pieces. With palms of hands, flatten to 3-inch circles. Place a tablespoon (about 16g) of your filling in the center of each circle. Pull up edges and pinch to enclose filling. Place balls in 2 greased 10x10-inch dishes. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

    5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.