This king prawn and chorizo tapas dish was designed to be paired with Alhambra Reserva 1925. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you how you can win your own special edition bottle.
Chorizo and king prawns, cooked with onion, garlic, a little tomato paste, a splash of red wine and some herbs. It’s very simple but it suits the beer perfectly and I’m about to tell you why.
So what goes best with beer, or more accurately a ‘low fermentation extra lager’? Traditionally, it’s almost always something salty. Peanuts on a bar, cured meats, scampi fries, pork scratchings… I decided to go with a cured meat and that’s why I based my dish around chorizo.
There’s a reason that salt works so well with beers and it is all down to acidity. To use Alhambra Reserva 1925 as the example; it has notes of bitter orange which gives the beer acidity. When drank alongside something salty, the acidity is toned down a little and the beer can really shine.
Another way to compliment acidity in drinks is to pair it with something that matches the acidity, we’ll do that in this dish by adding a little tomato puree. You might be wondering how acidity + acidity can possibly work, but think for a second about the experience you have when you eat something sweet and something acidic together. If you can’t think of an example, the most extreme is probably toothpaste and orange juice. Its terrible! That’s exactly what we don’t want when pairing foods to drinks.
Finally, fat is acidity’s best friend. Think about how great your favourite fried food tastes with a beer. The acidity cuts through the fats and lets your palate taste more. Whilst the chorizo’s saltiness will be doing a favour for the beer, the acidity of the lager will cut through the oils that the chorizo releases and the olive oil, making sure we don’t miss any of the flavour.
So, saltiness from the chorizo, acidity from the tomato puree and the lager’s ability to cut through fat gives us the perfect pairing. Now, let me tell you a bit about the actual beer.
Alhambra Reserva 1925 is a southern Spanish beer brewed to the traditional recipe from, you guessed it, 1925. It’s sold in one of the simplest bottles I’ve ever seen on a supermarket shelf, an old style embossed green glass. It stands out amongst the jumble of labels for all the right reasons and I really do think it shows the quiet craft that Alhambra are so proud of. That’s why I kept my dish so simple too.
The beer its self is full bodied, smooth and rather potent at 6.4%. The master brewers use four different types of hops gathered from around the EU to get the balance right between aroma and bitterness. To me it has both bitter orange (there is that acidity) and warming caramel notes which is quite unusual. Its actually one of very few beers I enjoy to drink on its own.
The smoothness of this lager is down to the water quality which plays a huge part in all brewing. You might remember the story I told of Martin Miller’s Gin sending their bottles on a journey to Iceland in search for the best water. Luckily, Alhambra’s Grenada brewery is close to the crystal clear waters from the Sierra Nevada mountain range, so they don’t have to travel as far for that premium quality finish. I like that they keep it local.
I really hope you try this dish and I’d love to know what you think if you manage to get your hands on a bottle of Alhambra.
Serve with toasted ciabatta to mop up the delicious sauce. Try spooning this over orzo, tagliatelle or gnocchi for a more rounded out meal. Spice up with a pinch of chilli flakes, add sliced red pepper to sneak a veggie in there or wilt in some spinach leaves.
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Onion
- 1 Garlic clove
- 100g Chorizo, sliced in to coins
- 180g King prawns, shelled and deveined
- 1 Tbsp Tomato puree
- 1 Tbsp Water
- 2 Tbsp Red wine
- 4 Thyme sprigs
- Small bunch parsley
- In a frying pan on low heat, warm the oil.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic. Slowly cook the onion until translucent, add the garlic and turn the heat up to medium.
- Add the chorizo coins to the pan and as soon as they've released their oil, add the prawns, tomato puree, water and red wine.
- Stir regularly ensuring the prawns cook evenly and the sauce comes together.
- Turn off the heat as soon as the prawns are opaque and the grey has been replaced by pink.
- Finely chop the herbs and stir in.
- Loosen the sauce off with a little more olive oil.
- Check the seasoning and serve.
Add some diced chilli or a pinch of cayenne to spice it up.
Stir in red pepper slices or a handful of fresh spinach.
I have two special edition 75cl bottles of Alhambra Reserva 1925 to give away to a lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning, comment below answering the following question:
What would be your perfect tapa for pairing with Alhambra Reserva 1925?
I can’t wait to read all the entries and I’m looking forward to sharing a bottle with you so that you can enjoy this recipe alongside the drink it was intended for.
This isn’t a sponsored post but I was given samples of Alhambra Reserva 1925 for the purpose of this food pairing challenge and also the prize to giveaway to a reader. I like to keep things transparent so that’s why I’m telling you.