Sweet sherry is consumed especially in Málaga area. Spanish people don’t even call it sherry, it’s Málaga dulce or Vino de Málaga. One of the most popular grapes used for making this wine is sweet Pedro Ximénez. It’s a beautiful dessert wine, but there are a lot of Spanish recipes utilizing this fine product, too, for making a sauce. Duck breast with Pedro Ximenez sauce is one of them.
Ingredients for Pedro Ximenez Sherry Sauce
splash of olive oil – aceite de oliva
4 shallots – chalotes
half a bottle of Pedro Ximénez cherry – Málaga dulce de PX
pinch of sea salt – sal marina
Chop shallots very fine and soften in olive oil on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer until reduced to about half. It takes about half an hour. Season with salt to taste.
Ingredients for Seared Duck Breasts for 4 Servings
2 large duck breasts with the fat on – pechugas de pato
sea salt – sal marina
ground black pepper – pimienta negra
Place the duck breasts in room temperature about an hour before starting to prepare them. Score the fat. Don’t cut too deep, we only want the fat to be scored – not the meat. Put the breasts to a cold frying pan and put it on high heat. When most of the fat is melted (about 3 minutes), turn the breasts and cook the other side for another 3 minuts. Don’t toss the fat away, you’ll need it for the apples.
Season the breasts with salt and pepper on both sides and wrap them into aluminium foil. Let them cook in 200 ºC (400 ºF) oven for 10 minutes and rest another 10 minutes before cutting.
Ingredients for Caramelized Apples
4 green apples – manzanas verdes
3 tablespoons of duck fat – grasa de pato
1 dl (1/2 cup) of brown sugar – azucar moreno
Peel the apples and cut them into thumb size cubes. Put a frying on medium heat and splash some olive oil on the bottom. Add the apples and sugar to the pan and fry them until they are medium soft. Don’t overcook them. There should be some structure left in the apples.
One of of our favorite liquor/poultry combinations is Spanish chicken with sweet sherry and garlic. The mixture of saltiness and sweetness along with herbs brings a boring roasted chicken to a whole new level. And with this recipe you won’t end up with dry chicken – guaranteed.
Basically any sweet sherry can be used, but if you can get a bottle of Pedro Ximénez, use that. It is very sweet (so sweet that you can serve it as a dessert drink!), but it works very well with the chicken, too.
Ingredients for Spanish Chicken with Sherry and Garlic
1 whole fresh chicken – pollo entero
A few sprigs of fresh thyme – ramitas de tomillo
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary – ramitas de romero
4 tablespoons of butter – mantequilla
1 lime – lima
4 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
1/2 dl (1/4 cup) of olive oil – aceite de oliva
Sea salt – sal de mar
Ground black pepper – pimienta negra
1/2 bottle of sweet sherry (use Pedro Ximénez, if available) – media botella de PX
Preheat the oven to 225 ºC (450 ºF). Put the chicken on a roasting pan. Cut some slashes to the skin so that you can season it under the skin. Rub sea salt generously on top of the skin as well as under the skin.
Next let’s make the herb paste. Mince garlic, thyme and rosemary and mix with the olive oil. Season with black pepper. Scoop the herb paste to the slashes and rub some on top as well. Put butter nobs in the slashes. They make the skin crunchy and beautifully browned when they melt. Cut the lime to 4-5 slices and place on top of the chicken.
Pour half a bottle of sweet sherry on top of the chicken and put in the oven. After 15 minutes lower the heat to 180 ºC (350 ºF) and scoop the sherry from the bottom on top of the chicken so that is fully coated. Roast for 30 minutes and repeat the coating every 15 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting it and cover with sherry once more. You can use the reduced sherry from the bottom of the roasting pan as a sauce when serving the dish. Roasted vegetables go nicely as a side.
This is easy, yet very tasty dish. We made this for our friends last weekend. Pork fillet is very popular meat in Spain mainly because it is quite cheap to buy (about £3,5 / $5,5 / 4 € per fillet). If you are serving a special meal, you can always choose more expensive fillets from Iberian pig, which are even more tender and bigger as well.
The real king in this dish, however, is the sauce. Its main ingredient is sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry. Actually, a lot of it. For sauce for 4 persons you will need half a bottle. It may seem like a waste of good sherry to use such amount for just a sauce, but trust us, it’s worth it! This sweet and salty sauce have such depth that you will want it with all your steaks after you’ve tried it!
For a side dish we recommend slow roasted vegetables. With slow, we really mean slow. When you do the roasting in low heat (about 100 ºC, 210 ºF), the structure of vegetables becomes soft, but remains solid. Also they dry a bit making the taste more intensive. Of course this requires a lot of time. For this temperature about 4 hours is about right. If you are in a hurry, you can always raise the temperature and shorten the time.
The ingredients above are just an example. You can use what ever vegetables you like (or what you have in the fridge). Cut everything into large cubes (see the photos below in the gallery) and season with olive oil, ground black pepper, salt and thyme. Put them in 100 ºC, 210 ºF oven for 4 hours.
Ingredients for Pork Fillets for 4 Servings
2 pork fillets, cleaned from excess fat and membranes – solomillos de cerdo
5 sprigs of thyme – ramitas de tomillo
5 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
green, red, black and white peppers – pimientos verdes, rojos, negros y blacos
salt – sal
olive oil – aceite de oliva
Make the marinade mixing all ingredients together. You don’t need to peel the garlic, just cut them in half. Place the fillets as whole in the marinade and put in the fridge for about 2-3 hours. Return to room temperature 1 hour before grilling them.
Grill the fillets on medium-high heat so that the inner temperature is 60 ºC, 140 ºF. Shut down the gas and leave the fillets to rest in the grill. The meat should be little bit pink inside when you cut them, but first, let them rest in the warm grill for about 10 minutes.
Ingredients for Pedro Ximénes Sherry Sauce for 4 Servings
3 shallot onions – cebolla chalota
1 bunch of parsley – perejil
1/2 bottle of Pedro Ximénes sherry
2 meat stock cubes – cubitos de caldo carne
1 dried cayenne chili – pimiento picate seco
2 dl (1 cup) of double cream – nata de cocina
ground black pepper – pimimenta negra
salt – sal
cornstarch – maicena
Cut the shallots and parsley fine and soften in medium heat in olive oil. Add the sherry and the meat stock cubes and let it simmer in low heat until the sauce is reduced in about half (20-30 minutes). Add the cream and begin seasoning with chili, pepper and salt. When the taste is right, add a little cornstarch to create some structure in the sauce.