Canelones de Carne Recipe

🕔 3 mins (total)
Traditional Catalan St. Stephen’s Day canelones de carne
Traditional Catalan St. Stephen’s Day canelones de carne

On the feast of Sant Esteban on the 26th of December (Saint Stephen’s Day) there is no more typical a dish in Catalunya than canelones de carne (cannelloni with meat).

Canelones de carne

Cannelloni in Italian means “large reeds” (the same spelling is used in English) and as the name would suggest, the recipe was originally Italian, but in Catalunya, it has acquired a character of its own. Traditionally it was made using the leftovers from the Christmas dinner of the previous day and so the exact ingredients would have varied somewhat from house to house. It is so popular in most Catalan households nowadays that it is prepared expressly – and also in case there are no leftovers!

No two recipes for this dish are exactly the same, which makes sense as it depended on what was available to hand on the day. Even the measures and quantities of each ingredient can be toyed with, substituted or left out altogether and other ingredients used instead. Even the name just means “cannelloni with meat” – it doesn’t even specify which meat, so feel free to use whatever you have.

Castellano/Spanish: canelones de carne; Catalan: canelons de carn

Preparation time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins


  • 300g minced beef/veal or morcilla

  • 300g minced pork

  • 300g minced chicken breast

  • 100g duck liver paté or foie gras

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 large tomato, grated

  • Garlic (as much or as little as you like!)

  • Mixed veg: e.g. tomato, leek, celery, carrot (whatever is leftover!) – finely diced

  • 400ml bechamel (We’ll let you use your own recipe for the bechamel!)

  • Cannelloni pasta sheets

  • Parmesan + Emmental cheese

  • Brandy and/or Sherry

  • Ground nutmeg

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Cracked black pepper

  • Salt

  • Crême fraïche

  • Butter

  • Olive oil

Preparing the filling

  • First of all, mix all the minced meat together in a bowl until the mixture is homogenous

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add the finely diced onion and whatever other vegetables you are using

  • Add the minced meat and the crushed garlic to the veggies in the pan and stir everything together

  • Add the duck liver paté and stir in

  • Add the crême fraïche, the amount depending on the consistency of the mixture

  • Add salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon according to taste

  • Add a dash of brandy and/or sherry according to taste (don’t go too mad though!)

  • Add the grated tomato and stir in

Your filling for your canelones is now ready. Set aside and allow to cool
If desired you can blend the mixture in a food processor for a smoother texture
Preheat your oven to 180c

Making your canelones

  • Cook your cannelloni pasta sheets as per the instructions on the packet

  • Once cooked, place the pasta sheets in iced water so they stop cooking and don’t become too soft

  • Remove the pasta sheets from the water and place them flat on a clean, dry tea towel or cloth

  • Spoon your meat and veg mixture onto the cannelloni sheets, being sure not to over-fill them to allow them to close, and roll the sheets to create the canelones

  • Grease a baking dish using the butter

  • Thinly cover the base of the baking dish with a little of the bechamel

  • Place the filled and rolled canelones into the baking dish and cover completely with the rest of the bechamel

  • Top the canelones with grated cheese

  • Place the dish in your preheated oven and allow cook for about 20 minutes

  • After 20 minutes, if desired, sprinkle some more cheese onto your dish and return to the oven, turning the heat up to maximum for a few minutes to form a golden crispy gratinate topping

Bon Profit!

Check out our other Mediterranean recipes for dishes to try at home.

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