The Huenefeld family grew up with a wonderful mom, Tita Andita, who was also a great cook. She loved to spend hours in the kitchen preparing everything herself, from soup to nuts, for her eight children.
She was the typical mom of days gone by who had her dining table stacked with all sorts of wonderful things to eat. She was also a skilled baker. Tita Andita’s passion for food was so strong that it influenced her daughter Myleen, who, though not a cook, took a particular liking to charcuterie.
At a time like this when every dish will most likely contain chorizo, Myleen and Colleen Huenefeld of Calidad Española, makers of premium quality Spanish sausages, have come up with their very own cooking chorizo, the Pamplona.
I’ve been adding all sorts of Myleen’s chorizos (to-die-for chistorra, cantimpalos and now Pamplona) to my culinary repertoire—with mucho gusto! These sausages don’t cost as much per kilo, and they are simply delicious.
They pop in your mouth, bursting with flavor. There’s nothing to it except pure good meat and the best fresh spices imported monthly from Spain. Nothing about the Pamplona is overpowering, which is what makes it an excellent cooking sausage. It enhances the dish without overpowering the other ingredients.
I asked Myleen what made her chorizo so delicious. Without guilt or shame, she said: “It has more fat!”
For a recent lunch, we agreed that she would prepare dishes inspired by her mom’s recipes. But she couldn’t remember where her mom’s recipes were, so this was how lunch turned out:
The lentejas con chorizo recipe she used is from a friend, Elda Cazorla of Granada, Spain. For a change, this version has cumin.
My friend Mymy cooked the lentejas perfectly, the flavors whole and delicious, if a bit bland. The paella—she has always cooked delicious paella, flavorful and tasty, as ours turned out to be from the top.
But as I dug deeper into the paellera, one side of the pan was burnt. And the nilaga con chorizo looked exactly the way their mom did the dish—arranged beautifully on Tita’s silver platter, with each component served separately. (But Colleen Huenefeld, Myleen’s sister commented, Mom’s tasted so much better!)
I have come to the conclusion that Mymy and Coco are better eaters than they are cooks. But for me, they are also the best Spanish sausage makers locally. Though our food lacked salt here and there, the chorizos were simply divine, whether added to a dish or eaten as they are. Ah, life really isn’t perfect, but nonetheless always good!
Here’s our lunch in recipe form, plus some cooking tips.
Lentejas con Chorizo
Tip: Follow recipe as is, because it was yummy but a bit bland. Remember, every time you cook, make it a habit to keep tasting your food and season accordingly.
Soak lentils in water for a few hours.
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil, add lentils, whole garlic head, bay leaves, chorizo, potatoes and carrots.
In a separate frying pan, place olive oil, brown onions and green pepper; lower heat and add both paprikas; add tomato sauce.
Incorporate the sofrito into the main pot and season with salt and cumin to taste.
Boil in low heat for about 20 minutes.
Paella de Pollo y Chorizo de Pamplona
This is a delicious, easy-to-make everyday paella. Watch the heat! When cooking paella, once you add the rice and the broth comes to a boil, lower your heat to the lowest possible setting while waiting for your paella rice to cook.
In a paellera, brown chicken in oil; add garlic, onions, chorizo and green pepper and brown.
Add rice, saffron and paprika and stir into ingredients.
Add chicken broth
Boil in high heat for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer in low heat for 20 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges
Beef and Chicken Nilaga with Chorizo
I am sharing my recipe. Enjoy!
Heat olive oil and cook chorizo until slightly toasted; remove from heat.
Brown chicken on the same pot, then remove from heat.
Sear beef ribs. Searing the meat will produce a deeper, richer, more flavorful broth.
To the ribs, add the wedged onions and sauté.
Add 1 tsp peppercorns and 8 cups water and bring to a boil and lower heat.
Simmer until beef is tender.
Add warm water, just enough to cover the ribs while simmering, if the liquid has reduced and the meat is still tough.
Put back chorizo, potatoes, carrots, chick peas.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add chicken, simmer for 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and fish sauce.
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