Sopa de Pan

Sopa de Pan

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My dad and mom used to talk how my grandmother Esperanza (my dad’s mom) would make this amazing sopa de pan for Semana Santa. My mom was always sad that she never learned how to make it from Esperanza. So I asked my dad’s sister, Rosa to teach us how to make this dish. I thought that this was a real soup made with bread, I didn’t have any idea that sopa de pan is more similar to a pizza than a soup. So my aunt Rosa told us how to make it. I guess each family has their own way to do it and the main ingredient is  Pan de Arani. This bread has a particular flavor and consistency. You can substitute the pan de arani for a bagguete or a rustica bread. You can bake it or cook it in a pot on the stove but the final product is so delicious that you will end up eating more than one piece, especially if you love pizza. Enjoy!

9 inch baking dish.

Ingredients:

2 red onions medium size

2 peeled tomatoes

1 large green pepper

3 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper

24 slices Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese

1 cup of milk

2 baguette

Preparation:

Slice the onion tomatoes and pepper in long strip (corte juliana). Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion  for 3 min add tomatoes and pepper and cook for 10 min. Add salt and pepper and taste, the onion should be soft and the pepper should still be crispy.

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Slice the cheese and bread. The bread should not be too thin.

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Preheat the oven to 400F

Butter and flour the baking dish.

Soak each piece of bread at a time in milk and accommodate in a layer on the baking dish. Then add a layer of the vegetable mix and a layer of cheese.

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Start a second row with the soaked bread in milk, add a layer of vegetables and finally a layer of cheese.

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Add the rest of the milk. Bake it until the cheese starts to become golden about 25 min.

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The cheese that we use in Bolivia doesn’t melt. You can use mozzarella if you want but I love Monterrey Jack or even Cheddar would work great. Cut slices, serve hot. Enjoy!

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Pollo a la Chorrellana

Pollo a la Chorrellana

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March 19 is Father’s Day in Bolivia. My dad  is an excellent cook but he did not have to much chance to cook since my mom loves her kitchen and it’s her space. The only times my dad would cook for us was when my mom was away. He had great recipes like this Chorrellana but sometimes he would try something new and we would end up eating engrudo de macarron (he was trying to make a macaroni soup). I loved watching him cook this dish because of the colors and the flavor and how easy is to make it. Para mi papa!

Serves 5

Ingredients:

5 chicken legs

2 tbs dijon mustard

2 tbs ketchup

2 tomatoes

1 red onion

1 green pepper

1 red jalapeno pepper (with the seeds if you want it spicy)( In Bolivia we use Locoto)

1 lb elbow macaroni

1/2 white onion diced in small pieces

1 peeled small tomato without the seeds.

3 eggs

salt

pepper

2 tbs vegetable oil

Chicken preparation:

Rub the ketchup and the mustard into the chicken. Cover and let it sit for 30 min.

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Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 F. When the oven is ready, put the chicken in a baking dish without covering for 25 to 30 min and bake until meat is tender and is slightly golden on the outside (doradito!).

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Pasta Preparation:

While the chicken is cooking, put pasta on a baking sheet spread evenly and bake on the top shelf of the oven until it’s golden (about 5 min). (My mom does this process by dry frying the pasta in oil before boiling, but I prefer this method using the oven and no oil).

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Remove from oven. Boil water and add the pasta and a little bit of salt. Cook as a regular pasta.  Drain and set aside.

Dice the half onion and half tomato. Cook with 2 tbs of oil and add the 3 eggs and a little bit of salt.  Mix and cook until eggs are ready. You can skip this part if you only want to pasta, we Quechua people call this type of mix ‘puti de macaron.

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Add the egg mix to the pasta and it’s ready to serve.

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Chorrellana Preparation:

Put the next ingredients together: 2 tomatoes, red onion, green pepper and hot pepper. Peel the onion and slice into thin round slices. Peel the tomato and slice it into round shapes. Take the seeds out of the pepper and slice them into thin round pieces too.

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Heat around 2 tbs of oil in a frying pan and add the onion and green peppers. Let it cooked for 3 min and then add the tomatoes and hot pepper. Cook for 5 more min, add salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook for another 5 min until tomatoes are cooked.

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I love this Chorrellana dish because you can serve with chicken, steak, fish or eggs and combines will with french fries, macaroni or rice.

Enjoy !

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Silpancho – The Best Bolivian Silpancho Recipe!

Silpancho

Every Friday after sunset, a house on my block would bring a bare lightbuld to hang outside of their door and a sign that said silpancho made out of a flattened lard can.  When I was very little in Cochabamba, my street was a dead end and this silpancho light was the only illumination on the street. My mom would send us out with a plate to buy a silpancho from the lady selling them and we’d take it home to share among the five of us. People would sell silpancho in this way to earn a little extra money and it was so delicious.
I moved to Maine in 2009 and the first thing that I missed was Bolivian food. The first Bolivian recipe that I made for my in-laws was Silpancho and they loved it. So now, silpancho is the favorite dish of both of my families from Maine and Bolivia.
serves 4
cooking time: 1 hr
1 c. white rice
3 yukon gold potatoes
1 small green pepper, med. diced
1/2 small red onion, med. diced
1 tomato, medium diced
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 lb. ground beef (with the least fat content possible, ideally 90% or more lean, buffalo meat is also delicious)
salt
pepper
3/4 c. breadcrumbs
handful of Quillquiña leaves  (or cilantro)
canola oil
First, get 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water heating on the stove. Also put 3 whole potatoes on to boil for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, you’ll slice them like this (notice the insides are still raw). You’re going to finish cooking them in a frying pan.

Massage salt and pepper into the ground beef with your hands. Then you divide the ground beef into balls the size of limes.  Sprinkle ground pepper onto a of a pile of breadcrumbs and then roll the beef in the bread crumbs to give it a light coating.
Coat each side the meat with breadcrumbs and roll flat with a rolling pin on top of the breadcrumbs, flipping the meat over whenever it starts to stick.
The final thickness should be like a crepe. Roll each meatball out into a sheet and stack the rolled meat sheets on a plate.  Pan sear each on medium high, flipping them when you could see raw pink start to turn brown.
 Stack each finished meat sheet on a plate, and then fry eggs individually and brown the potato rounds.


Top the dish with the salad of tomato, red onion, and green pepper. Bright, fresh, and crunchy, it breaks up the richness of the meat, eggs and potatoes. The dressing is equal parts vinegar and oil, plus generous salt.

To put the plate together, put potatoes at the bottom, then rice, the beef, egg and then the salad.
Prepare a nice llajwa (spicy sauce) to go with it!

Puchero de Carnaval

Puchero de Carnaval

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“Estos carnavales quien inventaría…”

One of my favorite holidays in Bolivia is Carnaval and Martes de Ch’alla. Each part of Bolivia celebrates it differently but we all agree on the part of being thankful for all the good things we have and we are thankful to our mother earth (Pachamama) for them. And what a better way to celebrate than having fun and harken back to our childhood playing with water ballons or buckets of water. This is the only time that I saw my parents being tricky and hiding and making alinces to try to soak as many people in the family as possible. After so much fun and being all so wet and cold a good abundant hot and spicy dish hits the spot (te cae como del cielo!) The nice crispy meat mixed with the warm rice and the crunchiness of the cabbage all topped with a nice hot yellow sauce, warms any belly and body. Some Puchero recipes call for chuño or peramota (pear) even peach, you can be very creative with it. I miss the Carnaval season but at least with this recipe I can warm my belly and bring memories back with each bite of Puchero!

 Serves 6

Cooking time 2 hours

Tips: While the meat is cooking you can get ready the potatoes, cabbage, yellow sauce. Usually, I do the rice last since once that starts cooling down it gets thicker. Fry the meat before serving or fry ahead and keep it warm. I like the crispness of the meat so I usually fry right before serving.

Instructions by key ingredient:

Chickpeas

Ingredients:

I/2 cup dry chick peas (you can substitute for one can of chickpeas if running out of time)

2 cups warm water plus 1 cup for cooking.

And hour before cooking soak the chickpeas in warm water

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Once the skin is starting to get loose, peel the chickepeas. This take some time so I recommend  doing it a day ahead.

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After they are all peeled, put them in a pot with a cup of water and cook for about 20 min. Don’t over cook since you will add this to the rice and you want it crisp. (The best way to tell is when the midlle part of chickpea has a light color)

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Briscket, potaoes and cabbage

2 1/2 to 3 pounds Briscket (buy from a farmer because it tastes better and cooks faster)

2 carrots

1 white onion

2 celery sticks

8 cups water or any broth

1 1/2 tsp salt

8 red potatoes

1  cabbage

1/2 tbs cummin

1 tsp salt

Peel and cut onion, carrots and celery. Put them all together in a large pot with salt and water and let it cook for about an hour.

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Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and peel the leaves off the cabbage and set aside

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After meat is tender, remove the meat and vegetables from the broth. Let the meat cool down

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Add to the broth: the potatoes, cabbage, cummin and correct to the desired salt level. Cook until potatoes are cooked. Drained the broth into a container and save.

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While potaoes are cooking prepare the rice and yellow sauce.

Aji Amarillo (Yellow Spicy Sauce)

1 mediun red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

2 cup yellow spice sauce (see recipe for picante de pollo)

1 cup of briscket broth

2 tbs canola oil

Dice the onion very small, mince the garlic. Cook the onion and garlic with canola oil.

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After onions are cooked add the yellow sauce, cumin and salt. Add broth and cook until the sauce thickens and don’t let it get sticky. Add more broth if necessary.

Rice and chickpeas

2 cups rice

4 cups water

2-3 cups briscket broth

2 tbs canola oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

Boil 4 cups of water in a large pot, add salt. Wash 2 cups of  rice in cold water. Add the rice to boiling water. Stir the rice avoiding getting stuck on the bottom. Cook for about 10 min or until start its starts drying and add the vegetables oil and 2 cups of broth. You want there to be with some broth and don’t let the water go away entirely.

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Cook for another 5 min and add the Chickpeas. If needed it you can add more broth to keep the runny consistency of the rice. It has to be less tick than rissoto. Cook for 10 min.

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While the rice is cooking

Slice the briscket into 16 thin slices, 2 per person. Slice the against the grain

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Salt each piece and fry with 1 tbs of oil until golden on both sides.

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Putting the plate together

First add potatoes and cabbage topped with the rice

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Add the meat and Yellow sauce

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You can also switch the way you present this dish. In Bolivia this was my favorite way my mom would put the rice and the sauce  on top and hide the meat, cabbage and potaoes under it. I must confess I used to hate boiled cabbage when I was a child. So this was her way to make us finish the entire plate.

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Feliz Martes de Ch’alla, feliz Carnaval!

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Charquekan

Charquekan

My family used to travel a lot in Bolivia when I was little and the first time that I tried charquekan was when I was 8 and we went on a school excursion to the Lake Titicaca. All the kids were from the countryside and they all had their food in aguayos (a traditional blanket) and I remember when we all sat together to eat lunch the teacher asked us to sit in a circle and share our food. When I saw my friends’ lunch that still was warm with some steam coming out of the aguayo, I couldn’t resist the smell of the purple potatoes with cheese and dried llama meet on top. That was my first Charquekan made of llama- the best that I’ve tried so far. That charque did not compare at all with the cold chicken on my plate that my mom put together for my lunch. Enjoy this wonderful traditional dish!

 

 

 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 large purple potatoes.

6 hard boiled eggs

6 slices of fresh cheese you can replace with thin slices of monterrey jack (1 slice per person)

1 cup dry corn

8 oz of charque (Dry beef)

1/4 cup oil to fry

1/2 cup of Llajua (see Llajua recipe)

Boil the dry charque for about 1/2 hour. This will allow it to lose some of its salt. Rinse in cold water and, using a meat softener/tenderizer, punch really hard until meat is soft enough that white strips appear.

Boil the potatoes with their skins on. If you do not have the purple potatoes you can use red potatoes. I love the purple ones for their flavor and color. This type of potato’s skin turns a dark purple  after cooking.

While the potatoes are being cooked, we can cook the dry corn. This corn is big and has the skin on it. You need to soak them the night before and cook them for about an hour.

Cook the meat in a pan with vegetable oil. The oil needs to be hot, the meat cooks really fast, so you only need a few seconds per side.

Take them out of the pan and put them on a paper towel.

Place the plate with the potato and corn on the bottom and the meat on top with a piece of cheese on the side. This  goes really well with Llajua.

My sister helped with the pictures today. She is happy to help me but not to be in the pictures!

Picante de Pollo

Picante de pollo

My Mom and I have shared the kitchen since my earliest memories. It is the place were we can understand each other, since some of our Bolivia dishes take more than an hour to be cooked. Today she helped me to improve my récipe for the Picante de Pollo. The first time that I cooked this recipe in Maine was for some friends of my husband’s. They loved it but I knew that something was missing. So my Mom and I sat together and reviewed the récipe step by step. Finally, with her looking over my shoulder correcting my seasoning, we finally had the perfect dish for her and for me. It takes a little time to cook and you may not have some of the ingredients like chuño. You can find aji in Asian markets or any Latino stores. Enjoy! Disfrutenlo!

Serves 8

Cooking time 2 hours

Tips: I will describe this by the ingredients that are in the dish. It seems to take a lot of time but it’s really very fast and easy. While we are boiling the  aji Amarillo, we can cook the rice and get the potatos ready. While the chicken is being cooked, get the Chuño ready, and if you do not have chuño, you can start with the garnishing.

Spicy Sauce with chicken

Ingredients:

8 chicken legs with thighs

12 dry yellow peppers

2 cups of water

3 large red onions diced really small

4 cups of chicken broth

1 garlic clove

1 tsp cumin

¼ cup Oil

Put together the ingredients:

We need to ready the spicy sauce for the chicken. It is a really easy and simple to make. I recommend having it ready in advance, so it saves you some time since you can freeze this spicey sauce.

Cut the heads of the dry yellow peppers, remove the stems. Put them in water and let them boil for about 30 minutes. You will see the skins of the peppers start getting loose. That is when you know that they are ready.

Take the peppers out of the hot water and put them in cold water. Take the skins off and the seeds (we recommend doing this with gloves).

It is important to take the skins off the peppers because they are so hard to grind and hard to cook. Yellow peppers can be very spicey that is why we need to take the seeds out and leave them very clean.

Once that they are peeled and without the seeds, put in a blender with 2 cups of water and blend for about 2 min until very smooth. Set this aside since we will add this preparation to the onions.

We can do this sauce in advance and freeze it, it freezes really well. I always do big batches and freeze it to have it ready when I need it since this sauce is used in other dishes.

Meanwhile, chop the onions really small put them in in a large pot and cook for about 5 min. Add 2 tbsp of salt and cook until it dries. Add the oil and cook until it is dry again.

The onion part is very important! It really needs to be finely chopped since the onion will give the thickness to the sauce. I also just cook it with the oil directly, but my Mom told to cook the onion just with the salt first and once that starts drying, add the oil and cook until it is dry again.

Once that is dry, add 4 cups of chicken broth or just water. Let it cook for about 10 min and add the yellow pepper sauce.

Meanwhile, grind the garlic with the cumin in a morter until it is very smooth. Add this preparation to the onion and yellow pepper sauce. Let it cook for about 15 min  until the onion is well cooked and soft. My mon says the best way to know is when the onion starts sticking slightly in the bottom. Add the chicken at this moment, and reduce the heat to low. Let it cook for around 20 min  until the chicken is tender, stirring from time to time so it doens’t burn on the bottom.

Is very important that the sauce doesn’t dry to much and the chicken is not too overcooked. The sauce is thick enough and the onions are well cooked if you can barely see them in the sauce.

 Cooking the Rice:

1 1/2 cups rice

1 garlic clove

2 tbs of oil

3 cups of water.

1 tbs salt

Heat a frying pan and add the rice and peeled, diced garlic and the oil.

Pan fry until the rice turns dark white. Move rice constantly.

Boil water and cook the rice as regular rice.

Cooking the Chuño

4 cups of chuño

6 cups of water

2 1/2 tsp salt

1 small onion

1 small tomato

3 eggs

¼ cup oil

1 ½ tsp salt

Chuño is really hard to find here in Maine, but basically is frozen potato that has been dried in the sun. You can skip this step since chuño is an acquired taste, probably like lobster was for me when I moved to Maine for the first time.

If you find Chuño, it will be dry. You need to let it soak all night and next day, break it into pieces with your hands. Once that the chuño is in small pieces. Wash it the times in water to take out the spicey flavor.

Put water to boil, add the chuño and the salt. Cook for about 20 min. Rinse and set aside. You will see that the color of chuno changes from milky white to clear dark.

While the chuño is cooking, dice the tomato and onion.

Cook the onion and tomato with the oil and salt. Cook until onion looks wrinkly.

Add the eggs and like making scrambled eggs until the eggs are hard.

Put this egg mix to the chuño and set aside.

Cooking the Potato

8 red large potatoes

Boil the potatoes with a little bit of salt until they are soft. Set aside.

Preparing the Garnish:

1 cup of peas cooked (frozen peas work too)

½ cup choped parsley

Salsa

Ingredients for the salsa.

2 small onions

3 small tomatoes

3 stem of quilquiña

salt and oil

Get the ingredients ready, this is my favorite part since the garnish gives the dish the final touch.

Cut the onion in “Juliana” style. Everyone says we should not wash the onion but since my mom always washes the onion, I do it that way too.

Rinse and peel the tomatoes. Cut them same way as the onion.

Take the leaves off of the quilquiña stems, and put them on top of the salsa.

Add the salt and oil to the salsa just before we put the plates together.

Put the plate together with the potato, rice and chuno going on first.

Falso Conejo “Fake Rabbit”

Falso Conejo (Is it really a Fake Rabbit?)

Why is this dish called Falso Conejo or Fake Rabbit? I do not have the answer but I can tell you that is very delicious! The dish really doesn’t look or taste like rabbit meat. You can use any type of ground meat but my favorite is ground meat from a local farmer that is low in fat or even bison meat which is very lean and healthy.

See the ingredients, recipe and photos here! Continue reading