The dish that José Andrés always cooks for his family every December 26

Jose Andres, an internationally renowned Spanish chef, was not born in Catalonia. In fact, he comes from Asturias. However, he follows the Christmas gastronomic tradition the best known on Catalan territory: the Cannelloni From San Esteban. The chef talked about it in his newsletter, Longer tableswhere he confessed his love for this dish.

Esteban’s cannelloni is a traditional dish that Catalans usually eat to celebrate the Feast of Saint Etienne, held on December 26. This recipe has the advantage of enjoy any leftover meat parties from previous days, so it’s the perfect recipe to use to not throw anything away.

According to Jose Andres, any meat will work well for the filling: meat, beef, chicken… The only essential thing is that it is finely chopped or ground before filling the pasta, so we will have to grind well after cooking it with onions, garlic and brandy.

In the restaurants of José Andrés in the United States, the chef pays homage to this Catalan dish to which he adds chicken or duck liver and sometimes, Foie gras. His advice is that if we are going to add liver to the recipe, we do it at the end of cooking the meat, letting the residual heat and the oven blow to cook it little by little. This way, you will avoid having hard and rubbery parts.

A gastronomic exchange

This Italian dish, called cannelloni, It is almost more consumed in Spain than in the country of the boot. How do we explain that the Catalan tradition includes this foreign dish? The relation between Catalonia and Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia it went on for centuries. So many years of business relationship and common treatment have resulted in a great cultural exchange between the two areas. It also happened in gastronomy.

Despite their common origin, Catalan and Italian cannelloni are very different. In Catalonia, pasta there are none left al dente, As in Italian gastronomy, they are eaten well cooked and au gratin for a crispy result on the outside. Another clear difference between Cannelloni from Sant Esteve and the cannelloniis that Italians use minced meat with a stir-fry, which traditionally has carrot and celery. In the case of the Spanish version, the meat is usually roasted and then minced.

The San Esteban cannelloni dish has spread throughout Catalan territory and also outside this community. With them, the St. Stephen’s Daya whole banquet that reuses the remains of the previous days.

Cannelloni From San Esteban


500g minced pork

500g ground beef

500g chicken breast

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

100ml cognac

125g tomato sauce

150ml chicken stock

50g pork, chicken or duck liver pâté


Extra virgin olive oil

For the bechamel:

50g flour

1 teaspoon nutmeg

4 tablespoons of butter

1 liter of whole milk

36 cannelloni

grated cheese to gratin


Peel and chop the onion.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion and whole unpeeled garlic. Sauté the vegetables for 15 minutes, until they begin to soften.

Add the meat and cook for 20 minutes, until all the water has been removed. let’s go out

Add the cognac and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Then add the pâté and stir well to incorporate it into the meat. Cook for another 5 minutes over low heat.

We turn off the heat and grind the meat until thick cream. Add the tomato sauce to the minced meat and mix well. We gradually add chicken broth until a juicy but compact cream remains.

Reserve the meat and prepare the béchamel. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Let’s stir and cook for a few minutes. We add salt.

Add the milk in small quantities, mixing little by little with the flour. Add the nutmeg and let the sauce cook for about five minutes.

Once the béchamel has been made, cook the cannelloni sheets according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish that we are going to use with béchamel. We begin to fill the cannelloni and place them with the seam up.

We cover them with bechamel sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. With the oven preheated to 190°C, cook the cannelloni for 5 minutes. Gratinate for another 10 or 15 minutes, raising the tray upwards.

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