July 7, 2010

7/7: Spain v Germany

We're typing with palms sweaty today as Spain faces Germany in this much anticipated re-run of the Euro 2008 final. For Germany, who replace the suspended Thomas Mueller? For Spain, will they replace Fenando Torres who has yet to find the net? The winner will face Holland in Sunday's final. It's no secret that Spain is our pick for this year's Cup and this will be a standing, jumping and punching only game as we put off today's menu until later in the evening. Our German Spanish fusion best be eaten as celebration for a Spanish win!

Wassail, a spiced hot punch often served at Christmas, comes from the Germanic phrase "waes haeil," meaning, "be healthy." In our German take on Sangria we use traditional Wassail spices to flavor our wine before making the sangria. We'll also let you in on a little secret, we've been drinking sangria for all the Spanish games all along!
Wassail Spiced Sangria
2 bottles dry red Spanish wine
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
2 tsp allspice
1 lemon, halved
1 orange, sliced thin
1 orange, juiced
1/4 C sugar
Lemon Lime soda for serving
Bring 1 C wine with the spices to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer at least 15 min until a syrup. Add to the remaining ingredients and let sit over night. When ready to serve, remove the spices and top each glass with a light lime soda.

Beer and fig, an unlikely combination to some, are a match made in Heaven, provided you chose a proper beer. Avery Brewing even released a fig beer with their Fifteen. German Doppelbocks, with their dark amber caramel malts and nutty hints of sweetness, provide a perfect match. We use one here in place of the traditional sherry in our German take on Lomo de higo, a pork tenderloin stuffed with figs and topped with Idiazabel, a lightly smoked Basque sheep's cheese.
German Doppelbock-glazed Lomo de higo
1 3 lb pork tenderloin
½ C serrano ham, chopped
½ C dry figs, chopped 
6 dry figs, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp rosemary, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 bottle German doppelbock such as Spaten Optimator
Butterfly the pork loin and rub with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Soak the chopped figs in the beer for 10 min. Combine with remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Spread this mixture over the meat. Roll the pork and secure with twine. Sear in oil and then transfer to a shallow baking dish. Cover with remaining beer and stuff the 5 remaining fig slices and onion slices alongside it. Bake for 30 min. then turn off the heat and roast until 145F internal temperature.
Remove the pork from the pan and pour the liquid into a saucepan. Purée the liquid, figs and onion and then heat until reduced to a thick sauce.
To serve, slice a roulade of the stuffed pork loin, top liberally with the sauce and a thin slice of Idiazabal.
Note: The meat can be salted, stuffed and rolled up to two days before cooking. Cover and refrigerate. Bring it to room temperature before continuing. 

HEY! We've seen that cuisine before! Cook the foods of today's competing countries using other recipes: Try Käsespätzle, the German version of mac 'n cheese, or add Ghanian flavors to your German cooking with our Bananas Ghana Black Forest Cake. Put a German spin on an English classic with Gurkensalat tea sandwiches. Spain brings Manchego and Chorizo as well as Peras al Vino to the table. While they may win on the basis of these dishes alone, traditional Paella clearly puts them on top, so much so that we devoted an entire post to discussing their cuisine. Obsessed with garlic, Spanish classics such as Ajo Blanco and Gambas al Ajillo, are household staples.

Prefer to eat out instead? Our Dining Guide tells you where and why.

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