We celebrated the day of Los Reyes Magos and it was delicious!

This past Tuesday was the day of the reyes magos in Spain and Latin America. The reyes magos are to Spanish children what Santa Claus is to North American children. It’s really important to us to make sure that no matter what country we live in that we don’t forget the traditions and customs of the other country. We had a tree in Spain and we have mantecados in South Carolina.

Surtido de mantecados
Surtido de mantecados

I ordered these from a company out of Berkley, California, The Spanish Table. Unfortunately, I didn’t order them in enough time for them to be here on Tuesday, but they were still a nice surprise for Alfonso. It’s always nice to have something special from home, especially around the holidays. I always asked for (and got) Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers to be sent to me when we live in Spain. I know-of all things.

Mantecados are sweets that are actually pretty simple…but extremely decadent. They are made with manteca (lard, but it sounds less terrible in Spanish), sugar, and flour plus limon, cinnamon, chocolate, or almond, etc. They are soooooo good. A little late and by way of California, but we got to have a little taste of Spain to start the year right!

Cinnamon Mantecado
Cinnamon Mantecado

Since we both had to work on Tuesday we got everything ready to go to wake up early and see what The Three Wisemen (Los Reyes Magos) had brought us before going about our normal, American life. Obviously, the Three Wisemen are us. We don’t exchange presents with each other on Christmas, just with family and friends. The night before we had gotten the fireplace ready to light, the coffee ready to brew, and the villancicos (Spanish Christmas carols) ready to play, so we were ready to go bright and early Tuesday morning!

I had also prepped a skillet the day before that would later be topped with an egg for breakfast while we open presents. I originally put the spinach and mushrooms on top and cooked it that way, but after eating it I tweaked the recipe to put them under the gravy because I think it cooks better that way. But, they are prettier the other way. Do it whatever way you like.

I also made the skillet in individual cast iron pans, but the recipe is for a larger cast iron skillet. Use what you have.

spinach and mushroom on top
spinach and mushroom on top

Potato, Chorizo Gravy, and Egg Skillet


For the potatoes:

3 medium-large sized russet potatoes, scrubbed and medium-diced with skins on

2 T olive oil

1.5 T minced, fresh rosemary

1 t dried thyme

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 t salt

For the chorizo gravy:

1/2 lb fresh ground chorizo

1/2 lb fresh ground Italian sausage

3 T flour

1.5 cups whole milk, warmed

1/2 t freshly ground pepper

For the rest of the skillet:

1 pint of button mushrooms, diced

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 t minced parley

GMO-free canola oil for egg frying

4 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mix all the potato ingredients together in a large bowl until all the potatoes are evenly coated with the oil, herbs, garlic, and salt. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for 40-60 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy on the outside and fork tender on the inside. Remove from oven and set aside. Lower oven temperature to 375°F.

Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the chorizo and other sausage. Break up into small bite size pieces with a wooden spoon and brown until cooked through and slightly crispy on the outside. Lower the heat to medium-low and sprinkle over the flour. Mix in until all the fat is absorbed and cook for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the warm milk until it turns to a paste and then a sauce. Reduce, stirring frequently, until desired gravy consistency. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat, add pepper, and set aside.

Add the potatoes to the bottom of a greased 10-12 inch cast iron pan in an even layer. Add the spinach and mushrooms on top in an even layer. Top with the gravy. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven 10-15 minutes so the flavors meld. While you wait, heat the oil over medium heat and fry the eggs. Remove from pan carefully so as not to break the yolk and add to the skillet when it comes out of the oven.

Before Christmas time I had asked Alfonso what he wanted for reyes and, among other things, he wrote “legumes” on his list. I thought he meant it as a joke, so I decided to fix him and actually buy legumes as one of his presents. I spent 45 minutes in the bulk section of Whole Foods and came out with this:

Legumes (and a bag of red quinoa)

I had to write the name of each one on their bags because would you be able to recognize an Anasazi bean? I sure wouldn’t.

And, y’all, it was his favorite present. I thought I was messing with him, but he loved it! Also, the UN has declared 2016 to be the year of the legume. Apparently, we are participating. With an abundance of beans and some extra chorizo not used in the skillets, we decided to do a soup with both of those things. That’s usually how it happens around here. One recipe gives way to another.

I didn’t think it was that spicy, but Alfonso made that face where you make a little circle with your mouth and suck in a bunch of air when something really hot. So, if you are adverse to spice maybe trade out the chorizo for Italian sausage. Mild.

We also made some little cheese crostinis to go with it.

Gruyere Crostinis
Gruyere Crostinis

This soup is the best a day or two after it is made. The more the flavors meld, the better.

Flageolet Bean, Chorizo, and Kale Soup with Gruyere Crostinis


3/4 lb. fresh, ground chorizo

drizzle of olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large leek-white and light green parts only, small diced

2 cups flageolet beans, soaked overnight and drained

1 t freshly ground pepper

2 quarts low sodium chicken stock (preferably homemade with no salt), warmed

2 cups cooked red quinoa

1/2 large head of kale, large chopped

salt to taste

For the crostinis:

1 French baguette, sliced about 1/2-3/4 inch thick inch diagonal

olive oil for drizzling

3/4 cup gruyere cheese

1/4 cup parmesan

In a medium-large pot brown the chorizo over medium-high heat. Make sure to break it up as it cooks. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat to medium/medium-low and add the onions. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add the leeks. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the garlic. Stir around the garlic for about a minute. Add the beans and pepper and mix for another 2 minutes. Add the stock, scraping up any bits of chorizo or veggie that has stuck to the bottom. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer over low heat and cook for 1 hour to 1.5 hours, until the beans are tender. Add in the quinoa and kale and cook for another 10 minutes. Salt to taste.

While the soup is cooking is a good time to make the cheesy crostinis.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put the baguette slices on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 6 minutes. Mix the two cheeses together in a small bowl. Remove slices from oven and sprinkle the cheese evenly amongst the crostinis. Return to the oven for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve the soup and crostinis together.

We had lots of quinoa left over after we made the soup, so look forward to a Quinoa: Part 2 recipe coming sometime soon. Have a great weekend!