Pairings: Spanish garnacha a match for pork and prawn dish


Our Wine of the Week, Las Rocas de San Alejandro 2014 Calatayud, Spain, Garnacha ($14) is as dark as the night sky on a moonless night, with a corona that glistens mysteriously at the edge of the glass. The fruit is dark, too, with black cherry, black raspberry, and black plum. Little bursts of black pepper and dried herbs tickle the palate, with a lush suggestion of sweetness contributed by the alcohol that hovers at 15 percent.

The wine is ideal with slow-cooked stews, braised sausages, osso buco, and roasted sweet peppers. Spaghetti Bolgonese, papardelle with lamb ragout, eggplant Parmigiano, and portobello mushrooms braised with bacon and onions also flatter this wine.

In warm weather, pair the wine with dead-ripe tomatoes, grilled pizza, barbecued ribs, and a mixed grill of peppers, onions, corn, and zucchini, with a lusty romesco sauce alongside.

Today’s recipe takes its inspiration from the wine’s homeland. The match works because of the picado, with its toasted hazelnuts and almonds, and the bittersweet chocolate, added at the end of cooking.

Mar i Muntanya with Pork and Prawns

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, cut into small dice

6 garlic cloves, minced

— Kosher salt

4 pork shoulder chops, cut in half lengthwise

1 pound jumbo shrimp, preferably wild

1/2 cup dry sherry

— Black pepper in a mill

— Pinch of smoked paprika, preferably Spanish

— Pinch of hot paprika, preferably Spanish

3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and minced

3 cups chicken broth or stock, preferably homemade

— Picado, recipe follows

1 tablespoon grated bittersweet chocolate

Put the olive oil in a heavy deep pot set over medium heat, add the onion and sauté until it is limp and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Do not let it burn. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minute more. Season with salt and use a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula to push the aromatics to the sides of the pan.

Increase the heat to high, add the pork and brown evenly all over. Push to the sides or transfer to a plate. Add the shrimp, cook for 1 minute, turn and cook for 1 minute more. If you’ve remove the pork, return to the pan, add the sherry and cook until the sherry is nearly completely evaporated, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the shrimp to a plate and set them aside.

Season the pork with salt and pepper, add the paprikas, tomatoes and chicken broth or stock and reduce the heat to low. Cover partially and simmer slowly until the pork is very tender, about 1 hour.

Stir the picado and chocolate into the stew, taste and correct the seasoning.

Return the prawns to the pan, cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the prawns are heated through. Divide among individual soup plates and enjoy.


Makes about 1/3 cup

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

— Generous pinch of salt

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and peeled

1/4 cup almonds, toasted and peeled

Put the garlic cloves into a mortar or suribachi, add a generous pinch of salt and crush the garlic to a paste. Add the nuts and use a wooden pestle to crush each one. After the nuts are crushed, continue to grind the mixture until it forms a nearly smooth uniform paste. Set aside until ready to use.

Michele Anna Jordan hosts “Mouthful” on KRCB-FM on Sunday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. Email her at