Chef Seamus Mullen specializes in the bold flavors of Spain, not the cuisine of the Emerald Isle.
Seamus is part-owner and runs the kitchens of two tapas-style restaurants in Manhattan, both called Boqueria.
His eateries are inspired by the fresh markets of Barcelona, and both locations have cultivated a very loyal following.
He's also competing on the Food Network series, "The Next Iron Chef."
And, in accepting "The Early Show Saturday Edition"'s Chef on a Shoesting challenge, Seamus entered another competition - our very own, "How Low Can You Go?"
As our "Shoestring" chef, Seamus sought to make a three-course Spanish meal, on the oh-so-slim budget of $35.
The "Shoestring" chefs whose ingredients' totals are lowest will be invited back to prep our big holiday bashes at year-end.
• Squash Soup
• Chicken, Chorizo & Shellfish Paella
• Crema Catalana
Acorn Squash: A somewhat oval-shaped winter squash with a ribbed, dark green skin and orange flesh. The most common method of preparation is to halve them, remove the seeds and bake. Acorn squash may then be eaten directly from the shell. (Source: "Food Lover's Companion")
Paella: A Spanish dish of saffron-flavored rice combined with a variety of meats and shellfish (such as shrimp, lobster, clams, chicken, pork, ham and chorizo), garlic, onions, peas, artichoke hearts and tomatoes. It's named after the special two-handled paella pan in which it's prepared and served. The pan is wide, shallow, and 13 to 14 inches in diameter. (Source: "Food Lover's Companion")
Chorizo: A highly-seasoned, coarsely-ground pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices. It's widely used in both Mexican and Spanish cookery. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork, while the Spanish version uses smoked pork. The casing should be removed before cooking. Chorizo makes a tasty addition to many dishes including casseroles, soups, stews and enchiladas. (Source: "Food Lover's Companion")
2 acorn squash, cut in half
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 onion, finely minced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
4 cups of chicken stock
4 sprigs of thyme
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Season each half of the squash with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Top with two sprigs of thyme and roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-heat and sweat the onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to sweat for another 2 minutes. Add the dry sherry and allow the alcohol to cook off, then add the sherry vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes until reduced.
Scrape out the roasted squash and add to the pot, then cover with chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then puree in a blender.
Divide into four bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of Spanish paprika.
For more recipes, go to Page 2.
Chicken, Chorizo & Shellfish Paella
4 chicken legs and thighs
3 cups Bomba rice
1 onion, finely minced
1 red bell pepper, finely minced
2 large tomatoes, grated on cheese grater
2 whole Chorizo sausages, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can of marinated artichokes
8 Mussels, scrubbed
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 cups of chicken stock
Pinch of saffron
4 tablespoons olive oil
Add the saffron to the chicken stock and bring to a simmer in a large saucepot.
Heat the olive oil in a large Paella pan over medium-high heat and season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Carefully brown the chicken thighs in the pan until golden brown on both sides. Add the onion and red pepper and gently sauté until translucent. Add chorizo and then the grated tomato and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly reduced.
Add the rice and carefully distribute throughout the pan, then add the very hot stock until the rice is covered. Season liberally with salt and reduce to a rolling simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed.
Add more stock as needed until the rice is just cooked through - about 30 minutes. When the rice has just a little "tooth" still, add the shellfish, burying the mussels into the rice to steam them. When the mussels have all opened and the rice is cooked through, turn the heat up high for 2 to 3 minutes to get the "socarrat" or crust.
Remove from heat and let cook for 5 minutes before serving.
4 cups of milk
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
8 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pour the milk, 4 tablespoons of sugar, lemon zest, orange zest and cinnamon into a pot and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar and corn starch in a mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Strain the milk and gradually stir into the egg yolk mixture, reduce heat to a low simmer and stir constantly for 5 minutes until the custard thickens. Strain again into individual ramekins and set aside in the refrigerator to cool for 45 minutes to an hour.
Before serving, dust each ramekin with sugar and gently brûlée with a kitchen torch.
So, how did Seamus do in our "How Low Can You Go?" competition?
Squash Soup $2.76
chicken stock $1.99
Greek yogurt $1.33
red pepper $.75
chicken stock $1.99
Grand total: $34.76
1. Robert Carter $32.24
2. Paul Liebrandt $32.35
3. George Mendes $32.49