A Spanish-style menu that’s great for watching the game at home with friends, or packing along for game day festivities

It’s that time of year again … football season! Whether or not you’re a gridiron fan, football games are another excuse to get together with family and friends and enjoy good food and—fingers crossed—a good game.

We have written countless tailgate recipes and ideas to wow your fellow fans before or after the game. This month, we’ve decided to go in a different direction: a Spanish-inspired tapas party. A tapas menu works well as a festive backdrop for an at-home watch party.

All of these recipes are easy to throw together and make for a great table spread. They can be prepared well in advance and are easily transportable. Whether you are having friends over or heading out to tailgate, this menu will be a crowd pleaser.


• Creole Tomato Jam
• Homemade Sangria
• Moorish Pork Kabobs
• Garlic Shrimp with Saffron and Lemon

Recipes by Tracey Koch

Tomato jam is trendy now, but one of the earliest recipes for this condiment dates back to 1840. It offers a wonderful mild sweetness that complements savory foods like meats and cheeses. We first ran this recipe in the June 2016 issue, but thought it made a nice addition to our Spanish-style cheese board. We like to use it as a condiment on a cheese tray or a spread on sandwiches. The recipe is easy to double and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Servings: Yields 12 ounces of jam

2 pounds ripe Creole tomatoes
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Cut a small slit at the top and bottom of each tomato and drop them gently into the boiling water. Boil the tomatoes 30 seconds to 1 minute or just until the skin begins to peel off.
3. Place 3-4 cups of ice in a large bowl. Use a slotted spoon to quickly remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them in the ice to stop them from cooking.
4. Peel the tomatoes and place them on a cutting board. Cut them in half and seed them.
5. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Place them into a heavy sauce pot.
6. Pour the sugar, salt, vinegar, pepper flakes and paprika over the tomatoes. Mix well to combine.
7. Allow the tomatoes to macerate for 10-15 minutes.
8. Place the mixture over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has evaporated.
9. Remove the tomato jam from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve along with cheeses, or as a condiment for meats.

Sangria is the quintessential drink served at tapas restaurants. It is refreshing during the hot summer and pairs well with many flavors. We experimented with several recipes and came up with this lovely twist on the classic. It has a perfect balance of orange and lemon. It is not too sweet but has just enough sugar to mellow out the red wine and brandy. You can use dark rum in place of the brandy, if you prefer. Either way, sangria is an inexpensive cocktail to serve a crowd.

Servings: 6

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup sugar
1 cup dark rum or brandy
1 bottle chilled Spanish red wine (such as rioja)
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 to 3 cups of ice

1. In a large pitcher, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, and rum or brandy.
2. Stir well until everything is dissolved.
3. Add the chilled red wine and orange and lemon slices. Chill the sangria until you are ready to serve.
4. Add the ice right before serving, and enjoy.

Kabobs like these are on just about every tapas menu we have ever seen. It is one of our favorite ways to prepare pork tenderloins and always gets rave reviews. They have a wonderful balance of spices like cumin and smoked paprika, and are great for a tailgate or cocktail party because they are easy to eat and hearty enough to satisfy. Many Moorish spices have their origins in North Africa and the Middle East. Because the Moors were Muslims, they did not eat pork, so this dish was originally made with lamb. After the Moors were pushed out of the Iberian Peninsula, many of their influences over Spanish cuisine dwindled. This dish, though, remained popular, and the lamb was replaced with pork.

Servings: 6

2 (2-pound) pork tenderloins
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
6-8 skewers

1. Trim the fat off the tenderloins and remove the silver skin. Cut the tenderloin into chunks and place into a large plastic storage bag.
2. In a small bowl, combine all the spices, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil and fresh parsley. Mix well and pour into the bag with the pork.
3. Seal the bag and shake well to make sure the rub evenly coats the pork. Chill for 2-3 hours.
4. Heat a grill to 400 degrees.
5. Remove the pork from the bag and skewer the cubes on 6-8 metal skewers.
6. Grill the pork kabobs 5-6 minutes per side.
7. Remove from the grill. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Garlic shrimp is another staple on tapas menus. This recipe makes a great appetizer but can be served as a main dish, as well. A hint of saffron and lemon offers a wonderful blend of flavors that complement the shrimp perfectly. It is easy to throw together and works well for all types of entertaining.

Servings: 6

2 pounds large shrimp (30-40 count)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon saffron
¾ cup olive oil
13 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Fresh lemon slices to garnish
Crusty bread for serving

Ideas for a Spanish cheese board

There is an art to putting together a well-balanced cheese board, and the Spanish seem to have perfected it. Make sure to include 2-3 different types of cheeses—a hard cheese, such as manchego; a semi-soft cheese like “Drunken Goat,” so named because it is set in red wine and aged; and a creamy cheese, like soft, mild blue cheese Cabrales. Other items to consider: chorizo, serrano ham, mixed olives, marinated artichoke hearts and peppers, and fresh fruit, such as grapes, figs and dates. Don’t forget some good crusty bread!

This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.