Tapa Thursdays: Carillada (Braised Pig Cheek)

When I say I’ve eaten every part of the pig, I seriously am not joking. While my family is more about beef and chicken than pork, having a partner whose family business revolves around the acorn-munching cerdito means that we’ve often got a small gama (offering) of swine in our fridge.

While I don’t eat all of it for knowing better, Kike did trick me into eating carrillada, and I’m all the better for it:

Pig cheek is lean, tasty and quickly becoming my favorite party of the pig. In fact, it reminds me of coming home to pot roast after school during the harsh Chicago winters I grew up with.

While various versions exist (including a tasty Christmas thought-provoking version with dried cloves that Kike makes), my favorite is traditional carrillada with potatoes and carrots, perfect for a chilly winter day.

Lasaña de Carrillada with mashed potatoes at Barajas 20

What it is: The lean cut of pig cheek, often called the carrillera in a butcher shop or meat section of the supermarket. It’s often cooked on low temps for hours to make sure it’s tender.

Where it’s from: Carrillada is typical all over Spain, though the pork-producing regions of Western Andalusia, Extremadura and Gijuelo are rumored to have the freshest cuts.

Where to get it in Seville: This dish is about as common on menus in Seville as salmorejo is, so new ideas for incorporating the meat have become popular. At Pura Tasca (Calle Numancia, 5 in Triana) and Barajas 20, you can find ravioli filled with the meat, oft served with mashed potatoes as above. If you’re looking for the traditional version, I recommend Barra 20 in Bellavista or Zahora in Los Bermejales.

If you’re willing to make the drive, there’s an unassuming roadside restaurant on the A-92 highway near Antequera with carrillada so tender and braised with sweet Pedro Ximénez wine. This is, without a doubt, the best carrillada I’ve ever tried.

Goes perfectly with: A robust glass of red wine. If you’d like to make carrillada in your own kitchen, try this recipe by Lauren of Spanish Sabores, and enjoy the smells as you wait for it to slow-roast!

If you like tapas, tell me which ones you’d like to see featured on Sunshine and Siestas? Here are my picks for the Five Must-Try tapas in Spain. Alternately, there are more pictures on Sunshine and Siestas’s Facebook page.


Tapa Thursdays: Huesos de Santos

As a self-confessed Halloweenie, I love things spooky, from cemeteries to haunted houses. Lucky for me, Spain celebrates a national holiday, Día de Todos los Santos, or All Saint’s Day, so I can celebrate my Anglo holiday with a day off.

Todos Los Santos is celebrated in the Catholic world on November 1st, where family members of the deceased visit their final resting places. Many cities around Spain have their own traditional fiesta. In a country that loves its reliquía, there could be no other dessert on All Saint’s Day served but huesos de santos. These marzipan pastries are rolled to look like bones and stuffed with egg yolk cream, called  yema, or fig, yogurt or chocolate. It’s kind of like a Spanish type of cannoli, made in a similar way.

What it is: An almond pastry typically eaten during the All Saint’s Day feasts.

Where it’s from: The origins of this sweet are still unknown, but it’s believed they were first made in Madird. Still, their popularity is widespread, making it the de facto treat for the holiday.

Where to get it in Seville: Practically any pastry shop will have huesos de santos between the week leading up to Todos Los Santos and up to a fortnight afterwards. I bought a half-dozen at Cafetería Ochoa (locations on Sierpes, Repúblic Argentina and Eduardo Dato) for 36€/kilo.

Goes perfectly with: a hot coffee with milk. Sevillanos have their afternoon coffee often accompanied by something sweet.

If you like tapas, why not tell me which ones you’d like to see featured on Sunshine and Siestas? Alternately, there are more pictures on Sunshine and Siestas’s Facebook page.

Tapa Thursdays: The Effervescent Jamón Ibérico

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