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The Hungry Girls - Quick Spanish Dinner

19th January, 2012
Jenny Butler
Thursday 19th January 2012

Today is your last chance to leave a comment and go into the draw to win a set of all 3 editions of The Hungry Girls’ Cookbooks. To go into the draw, simply leave a comment on any of this weeks HG posts before 10pm ]tonight. The winner will be drawn at random and announced tomorrow- I wish I could enter! -Jenny x

There are some dishes in the world that, if you changed an ingredient or a technique or two, could suddenly be from another place.

One of my favourite pastas from Italy is with spinach, garlic and anchovies – the anchovies disintegrate as you fry them so they’re not too pungent; instead they add a very more-ish savoury background flavour. Transport yourself to Malaysia (or a Malaysian restaurant) and there is a very similar dish that’s delicious in just the same way – belacan kangkong, stir-fried water spinach with garlic and shrimp paste.

The recipe below has Spanish flavours, but if you made a few changes such as using green capsicum and csabai sausage, nothing would stop you from calling it Hungarian. My husband’s mother is Hungarian and we have a few great recipes that stem from his grandmother kicking around in our family recipe books. One simple dish features rice cooked with green capsicum, tomato, sweet paprika and kabana – this last ingredient is admittedly quite daggy and adds an element of 1980s Australia when authentic Hungarian ingredients weren’t available (at least not in the country where my husband’s grandmother settled), but I can still vouch for its deliciousness!

Quick Spanish Dinner is from The Hungry Girls’ Cookbook Volume 2. It’s a very satisfying jumble of pan-fried red capsicum, chorizo, onion and potato, laced with parsley and smoked paprika … without any element of dagginess I don’t think. Mildly spicy and smoky, caramelised and sweet, it’s a perfect weeknight meal.

Quick Spanish dinner

Serves 3–4

4 medium potatoes (about 800 g)
2 large red capsicums
1 medium onion
1 small semi-dried chorizo (about 125 g)
2 garlic cloves
big handful of parsley leaves
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon salt

Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the potatoes in their skins until just soft.

Meanwhile, get everything else ready: halve and seed the capsicums and cut them into thick strips, then cut the strips in half widthwise. Finely slice the onion. Cut the chorizo in half lengthwise then thinly slice it. Finely chop the garlic and roughly chop the parsley.

When the potatoes are half cooked, heat a frying pan over high heat and add the oil and capsicums. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the capsicum skins are starting to wrinkle. Turn the heat back a little, add the onion and continue cooking for 8–10 minutes, until the onion and capsicum are collapsed and browning at the edges. Meanwhile, drain the potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks.

Add the chorizo, garlic and paprika to the pan and fry for another few minutes, until the chorizo has browned slightly. Add the potatoes and salt and stir gently until the potatoes are covered in the rust-coloured juices. Stir in the parsley. Taste to check the seasoning, adding a little more salt if you think it needs it.

Spoon onto plates, or simply take the pan to the table and let people help themselves. Serve with lemon wedges, natural yoghurt or sour cream if desired.

- Rachel, Leah and Katherine x

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