Sopa de Te’qo (Semana Santa Vegetable soup)

Sopa de Te’qo (Semana Santa Vegetable Soup)

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Semana Santa is one of my favorite times in Bolivia, we cook and eat a lot surrounded by family. I have loved this soup since I can remember and I love everything about it. My favorite part of this dish’s preparation is the egg part. I remember starring at my mom making miniscule cracks in the top of the egg and pouring into the soup. After that she gave us the empty eggshells to play with. This an easy quick soup to make and has so much flavor, the tricky part is the preparation of the potatoes but it’s so much fun. It’s so delicious, enjoy it!

Makes: 8 portions

Ingredients:

10 cups of Water or Broth

1 cup thinly cut Achojacha (This is a Bolivian ingredient that you can skip if unavailable)

5 leaves of yerbabuena (This is a Bolivian ingredient that you can skip if unavailable)

1/4 cup diced green pepper

1 small onion diced in small pieces (1/2 cup)

1 small peeled and diced tomato

1 cup carrots cut in thin strips

2 cups sliced green beans

2 tbs canola oil

1 tsp salt

1 large clove garlic

1/4 tsp cumin

5 large potatoes peeled and diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup thinly cut spinach

2 eggs

2 tbs scallion thinly cut and washed

2 tbs cut parsley

2 tbs cut cilantro

1 tsp oregano

Preparation:

Put together the ingredients

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Peel and cut the potatoes in eight pieces.  Crush the potatoes pieces on a cutting board with a meat softener until they are small chunky pieces. They should still be in pieces but be cracked open. Put the pieces of potatoes in a bowl with water and reserve.

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Cut the vegetables as shown in the pictures. Pepper, onion and tomato are diced, carrots and achojcha are cut crosswise and beans are cut diagonally.

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Mix all the the cut vegetables together. Put the water to boil.

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Cook the vegetables in oil and add the salt. Cook until tender for about 5 min.

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Add this mixture to the boiling water. Grind together the garlic and cumin and add to the soup. Simmer the soup for 15 min. Remove any foam that might form.

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Remove the potatoes from the water and add to the soup. Is very important to save the water where the potatoes have been sitting. The potato starch is at the bottom of the bowl and will be used to thicken our soup.

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Slowly drain the water and save the starch at the bottom and add it to the soup. This step is very important to make your soup nice and thick.

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Cook the potaoes for 10 min and add the peas and spinach.

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Reduce the heat. Turn on the stove. Crack the top of the eggs and pour them into the soup, you have to shake the egg while your pour it in and stir the soup at the same time (a second person can help here). Turn off the stove

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Chop and wash the scallions.
Add to the soup and mix. Crush oregano in your hands and add to the soup

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Cut the parsley and cilantro and top each plate before serving

This soup is healthy and delicious, I love everything about this soup! In bolivia we have el batan and we use this flat stone to crush the potaoes. I miss some tools from Bolivia and the Batan is one of them. Enjoy!

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Empanadas Tucumanas

Empanadas Tucumanas (Fried Bolivian Empanadas)

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When I was in college I discovered these amazing empanadas. I attended the University Mayor de San Simon (UMSS) and on the corner of Sucre and Oquendo every morning between 9 and 10 am, you would see 20 to 30 students constantly piling around this street cart food that sold tucumanas calientes with unless 6 different sauces to go with them. As a students I was hungry all the time and having this lunch-sized meal early in the morning gave me the energy to continue with my long day of classes. They were delicious and they were so cheap, costing only 2Bs ($.35 cents). The first time I tried them, I was surprised by the size the empanada, the combination of flavors, and the big piece of chicken inside. I couldn’t imagine how they could fit so many delicious things in a hand-sized empanada. You eat tucumanas by biting open the top and adding any sauces that you want so each bite has a different taste with a different sauce. I miss my college time and I miss this amazing street food. Enjoy!

Serves 16

Ingredients:

Filling

2 large russet potatoes

1 large carrot

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 big red onion cut it in small squares

1/2 lb short cut steak chopped into small squares

1/2 red pepper cut in thin small slices

2 tbsp parsley

1 tbsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

2 tbsp canola oil

4 hard boiled eggs

Kalamata olives without seed (optional)

2 cups canola oil

Dough:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup hot water (not boiling)

Preparation:

Filling

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Peel and cut the potatoes into small squares.

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Peel and cut the carrots in small squares the same size as the potatoes. The carrots, peas and potatoes should all be the same size. Put them in a pot with water and salt. After it boils for 2 min take them out and drain them. We don’t want to overcook the carrots or potatoes, they need to be firm. Set aside.

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Peel and dice the onion in small squares. Clean the  extra fat or nerve cells from the meat and cut it in small square pieces. It is very important to cut the meat by hand (cannot use ground beef), it keep the juices better when cooked.

Cut 1/2 of the red pepper in small thin strips.

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Cook the onion in 2 tbsp of oil for about 3 min or until onions are clear add the meat and pepper and cook for 3 min, add the parsley, cumin and oregano. Mix. Add the salt, sugar and cayenne pepper and cook until meat is tender for about 5 min, we don’t want it to be dried. Let it cool and set aside.

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Mix the potatoes, carrots, peas and meat mix in a large bowl. Cover and reserve while we do the dough.

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Hard boil the eggs. Peel and cut them in four pieces.

Dough

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the hot water and mix with a spoon.  Add the oil and mix with your hands until you have a easily manageable dough. The dough doesn’t have to be sticky, don’t over-kneed the dough. Cover with seran wrap and let it sit for 15 min.

Cut the dough in half and keep the other half covered. Cut the half in 8 pieces.

Roll each piece one at the time until they are slightly larger the  size of your hand, not too thin.

Heat 2 cups of canola oil

Prepare one empanada at the time.

Put the dough in your hand add one slice of egg and 3 tbsp of the meat mix. Carefully close the two endings of the dough with your hand, making sure the filling doensn’t come out.

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Cook in the hot oil until brown or golden color. Put it to on top of paper towel.

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Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. These tucumanas should ideally be eaten the same day, but they can be refrigerated and reheated at 160 for 10 mins.

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Ensalada 7 granos

Ensalada 7 Granos (Ensalda de la Abuelita Alejandra)

IMG_1022Every dia de todos santos my mom would take me to la Cancha (market) to buy the ingredients for my grandmother’s favorite recipe “la ensalada de 7 granos.” I loved going with her to pick the grains for the salad. My favorite part was the display of the grains and the free samples of cooked grains from the doñitas (vendor ladies).  For my mom this was her way to remember my grandmother. My grandmother had a stand in la Cancha were she sold vegetables from 6 am to 6 pm. I grew up knowing my grandmother through this recipe since I never got to meet her. My mom would talk a lot about her from when we were on our way to get the ingredients to the time she would set the table with the salad. So since my earliest memories, I have called this salad “La ensalada de la abuelita alejandra” It brings happy memories of my mom and my grandmother.

Ingredients

Serves 8

1/2 cup kidney beans

1/2 cup pinto beans

1/2 cup canolini beans

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup garbanzo beans

1/2 cup fava beans

1/2 cup cooked barley

1 vidalia onion (or red onion)

1 large tomato

2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or Quilquina)

1 jalapeno pepper without the seeds (you can use half a green pepper)

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs cider vinagrette

salt and pepper

Preparation:

You can find all the ingredients canned except the barley.

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Soak 1/4 cup of barley a night before and cook until soft. Rinse and let it cool

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Meanwhile peel the fava beans  (since the canned fava beans come with the skins on). In bolivia we eat them with the skin but the here the canned version’s skin is too hard.

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Rinse the other beans and put them together in a large bowl. Add the barley and fava beans.

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Dice the onion, tomatoes and pepper.

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Added to the bean mix and top with the cilantro or quilquina and mix slightly

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Wisk together the oil vinegar, salt, and pepper and add to the mix before serving.

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You can serve it just as a salad or as a side. It goes really well with steak. You can add or switch any bean and replace it with what you have on hand.

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The last time I was in Bolivia, I went to market with my mom and took this photo.  This is how cooked beans are sold in the markets and how they beautifully arranged in their own fabric bag. You can buy any type of cooked bean or corn.

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Laphin Cochabambino

Laphin Cochabambino

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Laphin meat wasn’t too expensive when I was growing up so my mom would buy a lot to cook. Usually  flank steak in Bolivia comes with a layer of thick fat on one side. My mom would make perfect rhombus cuts in the fat side and then rub papaya on the meat and let it rest the entire night. The part that I liked about cooking this dish was peeling the fava beans, which are my favorite beans. The sound of opening the beans pods and eating raw beans was rewarding after peeling at least 8 lbs of them, yes we were a large family. Fava beans are only available early in the summer to late spring and they like cold weather to grow. So go out and look at your local Farmers Market for this wonderful ingredient and cook a delicious laphin!

Ingredients:

1 lb Flank Steak (laphin in Bolivia)

2 lb fava beans

1/2 papaya with the skin no seeds

1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

8 large red potatoes or 16 small red potatoes

4 ears of corn

1/2 red onion

1 large red tomato

1/2 green pepper or jalapeño

2 tbsp cilantro

1/4 cup fresh cheese (optional)

salt

oil

vinegar

pepper

Prepare the ingredients, you can find papaya at any Latin American store. The papaya needs to be ripe and not green.

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For the meat, prepare 2 hours ahead, clean the meat and make slices on one of the sides in a rhombus (tilted rectangle) shape. Take the seeds out the papaya and half lemon and rub the lemon on the meat. Smash the papaya with your hands onto the meat and rub it. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

If you want to prepare a night ahead to have a softer meat just use double the amount of papaya and leave out the lemon.

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Fava beans are hard to find them but they’re getting more popular in the USA. I found mine at a local farmers market.

You want them to be as fresh as possible, fava beans have two layers of skin. When you are buying look for the greenish ones and for the ones don’t bend easily. Open the pod and you will find the beans inside.

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For this recipe will leave the layer of skin on the bean, but if you are using fava beans in soups, you want to remove the second layer.

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Boil the fava beans  for 10 min don’t overcook them. You know they are ready when they turn bright green.

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Prepare the salad the same way we prepared it for the Picante de pollo. I would add the jalapeño peppers to this salad and (if you can find it) definitely quesillo (fresh cheese).

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Boil the potatoes with the skin on. I love the small red ones, they have a similar taste to our Bolivian papas.

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Heat 4 tbs oil and fry the laphin side with the cuts first for about 5 min and then turn over and cook for 5 min. Cover the frying pan for the last 5 min and reduce the heat.

Meanwhile boil the corn.

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Serve hot. I hope you enjoy making this dish as much as I did!

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Papas a la huancaina

Papas a la Huancaina (Rommy’s Bolivian way)

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I grew all my life thinking this dish was Bolivian and not knowing our neighbor’s geography (Huancayo is in Peru). When I traveled in Peru with my husband, I was surprised to see papas a la huancaina on the menu and I ordered it. We were amazed by the delicious sauce, but I noticed it didn’t have peanuts and we could not figure out what the ingredients were. I asked the waitress and she told me that the sauce was made with soda cracker and cheese with aji amarillo and I asked why they modified the Bolivian recipe. She said, “Bolivian recipe?  You know Huancayo is en Peru.” So this is how I learned geography and a new recipe. Here is the Bolivian way. Enjoy!

Serves 8

Ingredients

4 dried spicy yellow peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 cup raw peanuts  (you can substitute for unsalted roasted peanuts)

2 cups water (1/2 cup more if you want it less thick)

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Optional ( 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or monterrey jack)

1 head of lettuce

8 large potato boiled and peeled or 16 small potatoes

8 hard boiled eggs

black olives

Get the ingredients ready:

Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Select 4 large yellow peppers. Bake them in the oven for 5 min, the pepper will start burning in some areas and the pepper will turn a dark red color. Don’t over roast.

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Let the pepper cool. Meanwhile, put the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast the peanuts at 350F for 7 min. Remove from the oven, the peanuts will continue cooking after they are out of the oven so you don’t want to keep them inside the oven too long.

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(The above photo with two piles shows the unroasted and roasted peanuts). Take the seeds out of the yellow peppers and put them in a food processor or blender, add the peanuts, garlic, salt and water. You are looking for a smooth sauce.

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Heat the oil in a pan and add the peanut sauce. Cook for 15 min, if is too thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out of the stove.

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Serve warm with potatoes or pasta or any barbecue chicken or meat.

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Heat the oil in a pan and addd the peanut sauce cooked for 15 min if is to thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out the stove.

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At this point you can add the fresh cheese make sure that the fresh cheese is well shreded since it doenst melt with heat. You dont want big chunks in you peanut sauce. Ad warm milk or water if needed to keep it more liquid that (espeso)

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Peel the potatoes and eggs and slice them. You can arrange this on the plate this in different ways, I like it this way. Usually there is a layer of lettuce, a layer of potatoes, and a layer of eggs covered with peanut sauce. Top with olives. You can get very creative, my husband and I love it this way.

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Torta tres leches o cuatro?

Tres leches Cake or four?

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I made this recipe for our house warming party, and my friend Jane loved it. I promised I would put the recipe on my blog. Even though is not Bolivian, it is very Latin American and you can use your favorite fruit to go with it. I love blueberries in Maine, but in Bolivia I love topping it with grilled mango and grilled pineapples. To Jane and Maura for sharing hours in the kitchen baking. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (softened)

1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 eggs yolk

5 eggs white

1 cup milk or cream

1 can (14oz) condensed milk

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

1 cup whipped cream

Fresh fruit like berries, mangoes, roasted pineapples, peaches

Preparation:

If you don’t have time to bake the cake you can use Betty Crocker  yellow cake mix and follow the box instructions.

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Preheat oven at 350F. If you are making one cake use a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. If you are making two cakes use two 8″ baking dishes. Lightly butter the baking dish.

In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat egg whites to until stiff and you see small peaks in their shape. Set aside

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cups of sugar until pale and thick. Add the eggs yolk and vanilla, beat to combine. Gradually add  the flour and mix to combine. With an spatula add the whipped eggs whites and mix into the batter until well mixed. Pour into the baking pans. Bake for 30-35 min.

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In a bowl mix together milk or cream, evaporated milk and condensed milk and set aside.

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Remove the cake from the oven and poke the cake  all over with a toothpick, and add the mix of milk. Is very important to make enough small holes around the cake so the mix will go through the cake and to pour it slowly so the milk will soak the cake. Let it cool for an hour. I like making this one day ahead so the cake really is well moisturized by the mix of milks.

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Whip cream to peaks. Spread the cream evenly over cooled cake and top it with a layer of your favorite fruit. Enjoy!

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Buñuelos Bolivianos

Buñuelos Bolivianos

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What I love most about cooking are the memories that different smells bring back to me. There is nothing better than walking in the streets of Cochabamba and suddenly smelling fry dough in the air and the sweet corn being boiled. My family would go on the Thursday night of Semana Santa to visit church we would walk from church to church, trying to visit as many as possible before midnight. Outside of each church you would see the tents of the Apis, Pasteles and Buñuelos all being cooked and served hot. We usually took a break in our church visits and enjoyed the bitter-sweet flavor of the Api and the sweet, soft dough of the buñuelos and, even better, the melting cheese inside of a pastel de queso. Yes Cochabambinos love to eat.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup milk

1 tbsp yeast

1 egg

3/4 cup hot water

1 tbsp + 1 tsp anise

3 tbsp sugar

3 cups vegetable oil

powdered sugar, honey or molasses.

Preparation:

Get  the ingredients together.

Boil water and measure 3/4 cup of hot water. Add the anise and let it cool until you can touch with your finger.

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Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a crater shape in the middle.

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Add the milk, yeast and egg. Mix.

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Separate the anise from the liquid and add this infusion to the dough. The dough needs to change from dry to almost liquid. Add the anise seed at this point and mix.

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Let it rise for an hour, if it’s a hot day will take less than an hour.

The dough should still be sticky, that is a good sign, but not liquid. To make the buñuelos. pass your fingers through the oil and take a small portion of the dough and shape the dough into round disks and poke holes in the middle. This takes some practice so don’t get to scared. You want them nice and round, very thin in the middle and thick at the edges.

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My mom usually mixes oil and water in a bowl to handle the dough. I like just oil because water and hot oil are not a good mix. While you shaping the dough poke some holes in the middle, this helps to cook faster. Do one at a time.

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Heat the oil. Try with a small portion of dough first to see if it’s hot enough. You need to turn them around when you see the edges inside getting golden.

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Serve hot with honey or syrup. Goes perfectly with Api or tojori, also with a good cup of black roasted coffee.

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Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

Llajwa de Mani (Bolivian peanut sauce)

IMG_4858I love llajwas in Bolivia and this peanut sauce is one of my favorites, it goes really well with potatoes, yuca and anticuchos (grilled cow heart-meat on skewers). I tried two different recipes and I love both of them; one has fresh cheese and the other one doesn’t. The first recipe I made was for dish call papas a la huancaina.  The second recipe without the cheese we tried on pasta with fresh tomatoes and came out delicious!

Ingredients

4 dry spicy yellow peppers

2 garlic cloves

1 cup raw peanuts  (you can substitute for unsalted roasted peanuts)

2 cups water (1/2 cup more if you want it less thick)

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Optional ( 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or monterrey jack)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Select 4 large yellow peppers. Bake them in the oven for 5 min, the pepper will start burning in some areas and the pepper will turn a dark red color. Don’t over roast.

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Let the pepper cool. Meanwhile, put the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast the peanuts at 350F for 7 min. Remove from the oven, the peanuts will continue cooking after they are out of the oven so you don’t want to keep them inside the oven too long.

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(The above photo with two piles shows the unroasted and roasted peanuts). Take the seeds out of the yellow peppers and put them in a food processor or blender, add the peanuts, garlic, salt and water. You are looking for a smooth sauce.

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Heat the oil in a pan and add the peanut sauce. Cook for 15 min, if is too thick add more warm water or milk. Add the cheese after you take the sauce out of the stove.

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Serve warm with potatoes or pasta or any barbecue chicken or meat.

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Nogada de cordero

Nogada de Cordero

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I love peanuts and this dish calls for raw peanuts that, combined with the other ingredients, make a delicious sauce. This is my mom’s version that she used to cook occasionally and probably is the Cochabamba style. The original dish came from another city, Sucre, and they use walnuts instead of peanuts and add some raisins.  The traditional dish calls for lamb, but you must be prepared because lamb has a strong earthy aroma when cooked. So if you want to try this delicious peanut sauce you can substitute the lamb for chicken if you are not a lamb fan. Enjoy, you will be surprised with the flavors and how a 1/4 tsp of sugar enhances the flavor!

Like any Bolivian main dish we will do this one step by step.

Serves 8

Precooking the lamb

Ingredients

8 pieces of Lamb

1 onion

1 carrots

6 cups water

4 stem parsley

1 tsp salt

Put together the ingredients and clean the lamb of extra fat or nerves. Put the six cups of water in a large pot and let it get warm. Before it starts boiling add the pieces of lamb, onion, carrot and parsley. Let it simmer for an hour.

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Remove the foam that forms on the top and discard.

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Seasoning the cooked lamb.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup ground red pepper

3 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

2 tbs oil plus 2 more (to fry the meat)

Heat oil in a saucepan and add the minced garlic, cumin, and pepper. Cook for a minute and add the red pepper sauce. Cook for 5 min and reserve. We are going to use this sauce to rub onto the pieces of lamb and then sear them in the frying pan with oil.

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Peanut sauce

1/2 cup peanuts

1 cups hot water

1 cup water

1 large onion diced in small cubes

1 large tomato peeled and dice in small cubes

1 tsp salt

2 tbs chopped parsley

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp sugar

2 -3 cups of broth (you can use the lamb broth)

4 large potatoes

cooked rice (arroz graneado)

While the lamb is being cooked, prepare the peanut sauce, potatoes and rice.

Soak the peanuts in a cup of hot water and let it soak for 15 min.

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Dice the onion, peel the tomatoes and leave out the seeds if you can. Chop the parsley. Set aside

In a blender (or batan) grind the peanuts finely with a cup of water.

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After the lamb is cooked remove from the broth, save the broth. Cover each piece of lamb with the rubbing sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauce pan and fry the lamb slightly and set aside.

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In the same saucepan that the lamb was fried in, cook the onion, tomatoes, parsley, pepper, salt and sugar for 10 min. Add the peanuts and mix. Cook for 5 min.

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Add the 2 cups of lamb broth or any broth and add the pieces of lamb. Let it cook for 30 min, don’t let it dry too much. Add warm water or more broth if necessary. Optiona: add the potatoes to this mix 10 min before it’s cooked.

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Rice (Arroz Graneado)

Ingredients:

2 cups rice

4 cups water

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp salt

In Bolivia we prepare our rice this way: sometimes we use also some slices of onion and even black sweet pepper.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the sliced garlic, cook the garlic for 30 sec, add the rice and fry until the rice changes color from clear white to dark opaque white.

Boil the four cups of water. Add salt and the fried rice, let it cook for 20 min until dry.

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In Bolivia the way they present this dish is with the potatoes on one side topped with the meat, sauce and parsley sprinkled on top and the rice next to it.

Enjoy it!

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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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