Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Taste of Navarra Spain #WinePW

This month our wine pairing weekend group has been invited to visit Navarra, Spain by Gwendolyn of Wine Predator.

To help us on this journey we were each provided with samples of Navarra wine, graciously donated by Susannah & April of Navarra Wine.  While I appreciate receiving samples, you can rest assured that all opinions written in this blog are exclusively my own and I have received no monetary compensation for this post.

I was not familiar with Navarra wines at all.  I'm not really familiar with Spanish wines, other than an occasional Rioja.  I learned quite a bit from Gwen's Invitation Post.  I also did some exploring on my own after receiving the wines.

See the source image

This image from Bing shows Navarra in red.  It borders France and the wines are influenced by this proximity.

The first bottle that I opened was a Chardonnay from Bodega Otazu.  Bodega Otazu is described as magical being set in a forest.  I served it up with Chicken sautéed with mushrooms in a lemon/white wine sauce and some Spring Pea Pasta.

This Chardonnay pours a beautiful golden hue and has herbaceous notes mildly tamed by oak.  I used it in my dish and enjoyed a glass as I cooked.  It was wonderful by itself.  When paired with my meal, it took on a sweetness that hadn't been noticeable on it's own.  I think it was a good pairing but it is not the one I chose to showcase for today's event.

For today's event I wanted to pair a Spanish Wine with Spanish Food.  I specifically was looking for a dish that would pair well with the bottle of Vendimmio Selecionada (Selected Harvest) from Garcia Burgos.  I was unable to determine which grapes were used in this bottling.  This bottle was not sent as a sample. I had purchased this bottle prior to finding out that we would be receiving samples for this event.  

I went searching for Spanish foods and came across a blog called Spain Recipes.  This blog had a section all about the food and wine found in Navarra as well as the rest of the Country.  

I drooled over the pages and was excited when I found this recipe for Croquetas de Jamon (Ham Croquettes).  I had the last of the Easter ham in the refrigerator and this was the perfect way to use it.

This is not a difficult recipe but it is a time consuming recipe.  You start off making a Béchamel Sauce.  There's that French influence again.  To this you add some minced ham.  I simply placed the leftover ham into the food processor and pulsed it a couple of times.

This mixture needs to refrigerate overnight.  I had gotten this far in the recipe and it was chilling as needed when I got a text from my friend, Linda, asking if we were still on for the following evening.  We had been out to dinner with them the week prior and had returned to our house for after dinner drinks.  I looked at Frank and asked "Do we have plans with the Bendas tomorrow?"  He said he vaguely remembered something being said.

I had to contact Linda and confess that I needed to be refreshed.  She laughingly told me that we were invited to their house for dinner.  Knowing that I needed to make these croquettes, I asked if I could bring the appetizer and a bottle of wine for pairing.  She was happy to allow this.

This brought me to the next step of the recipe.  In the morning, I took the ham mixture from the refrigerator and shaped them into walnut size pieces.  Once the pieces are shaped and coated in bread crumbs they need to go back in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.  This is the way I transported them, waiting to fry them until right before serving.  

It only took minutes to fry them a crisp golden brown while Frank opened the wine from Navarra and Linda pulled out this adorable platter on which to serve the croquetas.

The wine pours a lovely deep garnet.  It is dry and smooth.  It paired wonderfully with these croquetas and paired equally as well with the amazing pot roast that Linda served for dinner.

I am now very anxious to open the bottle of  Castillo Monjardin Temperanillo that was gifted to me by our sponsor.  I will post more on that tasting when it occurs.

In the meantime, treat yourself and take the time to make these appetizers.  Open up a bottle of wine from Navarra, sit back and luxuriate in the creamy goodness surrounded by a crunchy crust that brings out the fruity smoothness of the wine.

You will find links to the other food and wine pairings featuring Navarra wines at the bottom of this post.  Please join us this afternoon at 11 AM ET as we discuss our pairings and our thoughts on Twitter by following #winePW.

Croquetas de Jamon
slightly adapted from Spain Recipes

4 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk, I used 2%
3 oz. cooked ham, minced
2 eggs
2 T. seasoned dry bread crumbs
Canola oil

Melt the butter in a saucepan over med high heat.  Add the flour. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, until the flour is golden brown and nutty smelling.

Gradually whisk in the milk,  cooking and stirring until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the ham and stir to combine.  Spread into a pie plate or baking pan that has been coated with cooking spray.  Refrigerate overnight.

Remove ham mixture from refrigerator and using two spoons shape it into walnut sized croquettes. Set aside.

Place the eggs into a shallow bowl and lightly mix with a fork.  Pour the bread crumbs into a second shallow bowl.  Coat each of the croquettes by rolling first in breadcrumbs, then dipping into the egg and rerolling in the breadcrumbs.  Place onto a plate and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs.

Heat 2" of oil in a deep, heavy pot.  I like using my dutch oven to prevent splatters.  When the oil is shimmering add the chilled croquettes in batches.  Using a slotted spoon, cook and turn until browned and crisp all over.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Serve immediately.  Print Recipe

More Navarra Wine Pairings


  1. Those look divine. I've only made croquetas with cod. My meat-loving crew would love those. And I have to admit that I laughed about you forgetting about a dinner invitation; I am relieved that it's not just me! LOL. I have been a headless chicken for months. I don't know what I would do without my calendar. Written. In. Front. Of. My. Face.

  2. Those croquettes look amazing although I don't think I could find the time to put them together ; ) I bet they were delicious!

    1. Hands on time is minimal. You just have to start them a couple of days before you want to eat them.

  3. I love croquetas from just about anything and everything! YUM

    1. This was my first time enjoying them. It won't be the last Nicole.

  4. Croquetas are on my top-3 list of Spanish dishes - so delicious with the crunchy outside and creamy inside. They're like a big, edible hug! I've never made them, though, so I'm going to print your recipe and give it a try.

    1. It was my first time ever having eaten or make them and they turned out great Lauren.

  5. How did the croquetas keep transporting them to a dinner party? I love them but it is hard to keep something like that warm for a potluck or even pull them off when hosting unless you want to be in the kitchen during the party. Did you serve room temp and they did fine?

    1. I cooked them at my hosts house when we arrived. They are close friends so this wasn't a problem. I think they would be fine to serve at home. All the prep work is done way before hand and they only take minutes to fry up.

  6. Love croquetas, happy to see you were able to make a classic tapa for the Spanish theme for #winePW.
    Traditionally they were made with the left-overs from the protein source of the day's lunch (in Spain, their main meal), ham, chicken, fish, boiled eggs. In most Spanish kitchens staples include olive oil, flour, milk, eggs and bread so all you have to do is make the base, add protein source for flavor, let chill over night and fry up the next day.

  7. Croquetas are wonderful! Your pairings look so tasty!

  8. Your croquetas look delicious! I will have to check out the Spain Recipes blog, thanks for the heads up!

  9. I bet Linda was thrilled that you brought these treats along! Hello - come to my house for dinner anytime!

  10. Both of these pairings sound great! I've enjoyed croquettes like this before but haven't tried making them.


I enjoy getting comments and feedback from my audience. Please let me know what you think, keeping in mind that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and opinions. I am happy to hear yours as long as they are stated nicely.