Wine & Dine

Festive Fiesta

Tired of the traditional Christmas fare? Try something a little different this Christmas with these delicious recipes from Cava.

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup
Serves 8

50g butter
50ml olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
250g cooking chorizo sausages, chopped
1.75L chicken stock, homemade if possible
250ml cream
Fine Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

1. Warm the stock. If not using homemade, just follow the instructions on the packet. In a large pot, melt the butter on a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions into the butter and oil and season with a little salt and pepper. When the onions are nice and soft add the chorizo. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped sweet potato. Cover the whole lot with the warm stock.

2. Cook until the potatoes are soft (the tip of a knife should pass through them easily).

3. Take the soup off the cooker and blend the soup with a hand blender. Return the soup back on the stove and add the cream. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir the soup until the soup is warmed through. Taste and season again if required.

Catalan Christmas Turkey
Serves 8

This is a very traditional way of preparing a turkey in Barcelona, Spain.

One turkey (4.5kg)
900g prunes
300g pine nuts
100g dried apricots, cut in half
300g sausage meat
300g boneless pork loin – diced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
50ml medium-dry sherry
500ml dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 pinch nutmeg powder
250g Lard


1. Remove (if there are any) the giblets and neck from the turkey and wash the cavity of the turkey. Preheat the oven to 375º F (190º C).

2. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Melt a tablespoon of lard in a medium sized pot. When the lard is hot, add the pork loin and the sausage and brown it for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Turn the meat over once or twice. Add the prunes and the apricots, and mix well with a wooden spoon for about 5 more minutes. Add the apples and pine nuts and brown the whole mixture for 5 more minutes. Then add the sherry, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir well. Taste and season if necessary. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, gently stirring the mixture a few times. Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool and then stuff the turkey. Sew the skin around the opening together. Season the whole turkey with salt and pepper and rub the exterior part of the turkey with the lard.

3. Melt some lard in a large roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast side up, in the roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn down heat to 150 ºC. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and pour the white wine over the turkey. Turn it over, and continue baking in the oven, breast side down, for about 2 hours. Baste the turkey by pouring the cooking juices over it every 20 minutes.

4. Turn the turkey over, breast side up, and bake for 30 minutes so that the skin becomes nicely crispy and golden. Remove string. Pour off the excess fat and sift the dark juices into a sauce bowl.  This can be used for gravy. Let the turkey rest at least 20 minutes before carving so that it can redistribute the juices. Place the Christmas turkey in a large platter and serve.

Chocolate Mousse
Serves 8

180g dark chocolate (70%)
180ml milk
100g butter, room temperature
4 eggs, separated
75g sugar

1. Melt the chocolate in the milk. This can be done in the microwave or in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Whisk the butter into the warm chocolate/milk mixture. Set aside.

2. Cream the egg yolks and sugar together and add into the chocolate mixture. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks (use an electric mixer). Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and divide the mixture into 8 glasses.

3. Allow mousse to set in the fridge for 3 hours.

4. Serve with some whipped cream and biscotti.

Cava, one of the West’s most popular eateries, is owned by husband and wife team JP McMahon and Drigin Gaffey. It is recommended by Georgina Campbell’s restaurant guide and the Bridgestone guide, and called “one of the most authentic Spanish restaurants in Ireland at present” (Sebastian Black, Spanish Flavour). Tom Doorley has said that it has the “Best Tapas in Ireland”.

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