Friday, November 29, 2013

Silpancho con Arroz y Papas Ricos

I am very honored to have been asked to cater a charity event with a very special purpose!  A family that I know in my area is moving to Bolivia next year to be missionaries and this banquet will be for the people who are sponsoring them.  The menu he requested is - Silpancho con Arroz y Papas Ricos.  This means something like "Silpancho with rice and rich potatoes."  This meal is apparently one of the most typical and favorite of the Bolivian dishes.

Silpancho is a popular Bolivian food from the city of Cochabamba.  The meal that I was asked to prepare consists of a base layer of seasoned rice and a layer of caramelized potatoes.  Next, there is a thin layer of seasoned, lightly breaded and pan fried beef on top, followed by a layer of freshly made salsa (called llajua "YAH-kwa"), which is set on top of an over easy fried egg.  The true llajua is a hot sauce prepared from hot chili peppers known as locotos and tomato, with the addition of onions and a few herbs cultivated in Bolivia especially for this purpose.  Obviously, none of that is available to me here in the U.S., so we'll be going with good old homemade salsa. 

You are probably wondering about that double starch thing with the potatoes AND the rice.  Yes, I asked, too.  But apparently, that is how they typically serve it in Bolivia.  Makes sense as far as high carbohydrate foods are typically less expensive, and filling.  The meat would authentically be lamb, llama, or something really lean such as deer or bison.  Seems my fridge is fresh out of llama, so we will be using some lean beef.  Then the soft egg would give them quite a bit of richness to compensate for the very lean beef. 

Recently, I got together with my mom and oldest brother and we made this recipe.  Wow!  Everyone loved it... even my daughter who I usually have to bribe to eat meat loved it!  Since the meat is super thin, it cooks very quickly and was so tender.  What you should know, is that I'm not a girl who likes an over easy egg (neither is my mother), but since all of these recipe components are designed to be eaten together, that's how we did it... and it was like magic.  So if you are bored with your food and looking for something a little adventurous (but super tasty), give this a try.  It was an easy recipe and ended up very family friendly as I made a very mild salsa.

Print this recipe!

Ingredients:  (for 4 servings.  Multiply as needed)
Rice -
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro
  • 1 - 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 4 cups water
Salsa -
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
Pan fried potatoes -
  • 8 medium Yukon gold potatoes
    • scrubbed
    • sliced 1/4" thick
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into rings
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
Beef -
  • 1 pound thin sliced soft beef
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder, black pepper
  • 1 box (about 2 cups) Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 box Kentucky Kernel seasoned flour mix
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • vegetable oil
Step-by-step'ish: 
This won't be my usually step-by-step because I wasn't cooking this solo.  There were three of us in the kitchen cooking (can you imagine that), with everyone doing different things.  There was no way for me to rush around getting shots of each step while doing my own stuff.  It's not that this recipe requires three cooks (haha), it's just that we were spending time together having fun and all in there together.

Salsa - 
I like to let my salsa sit a bit for the flavors to marry, so I did this first. I mixed together half of the tomatoes, the onion, the seeded jalapeno pepper together in a food processor. 
Half the tomatoes, seeded pepper, red onion.
You could certainly leave the seeds in the pepper if you want to, but I wanted a milder salsa.
Then by hand, I mixed in chopped cilantro, the other tomatoes, finely chopped, fresh lime juice, and kosher salt. I wanted a little texture, so this is why I separated the rest of the ingredients.
juice of one large lime
kosher salt

For the potatoes - 
I wanted to make sure that the slices were all equivalent in thickness, so we sliced the scrubbed potatoes (skin on) on the mandolin into 1/4" slices.
The potatoes were then boiled for about 7-8 minutes until about halfway done, then drained in a colander. 

The drained potatoes were cooked in canola oil with sliced onions until tender and golden, with a bit of a caramelized edge.  Season lightly with salt and pepper, with a little garlic powder.
For the rice -
I wanted to season up the rice with onions and red bell peppers, but I didn't want them to be raw and crunchy.  We started these vegetables in a bit of canola oil in the bottom of the rice cooker until they started to soften and get translucent.  Then we added some chicken bouillon for flavor, and obviously the rice and water appropriate for the amount.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red oinon
  • 1 - 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
The beef -
The "milanesa cut" beef came presliced in very thin sheets. This worked out just perfectly! We marinated the beef in a little worcestershire sauce, a little soy sauce, some garlic powder, and some pepper.
This is 3 pounds of meat.  We had a crowd.  Yours will probably not be this much1
We made a simple egg-battering station. 
An egg wash with milk -
3 large eggs, 1/2 cup milk
Seasoned flour (Kentucky Kernel's fry batter) plus Panko bread crumbs for a great crunch!
seasoned flour mix + Panko bread crumbs
And here it is ready to go!
Dip the marinated meat in the egg wash.
Press the meat firmly into the seasoned flour mixture.  I really pushed it in there so I could get a nice layer of that coating.
With a very hot (shimmering) canola oil, quickly pan fry the breaded meat.
You won't want to go far, as these cooked in about 2 minutes per side!  How is that for a fast meal?!
You'll see the edges starting to turn brown very quickly... then flip!
I'm not sure this could be any easier.  And again, since they have such a quick cooking time, they were very tender.  And crunchy!
Now that all the components are ready, it's time to start plating.  At the last minute, you will fry your eggs, over easy.  These will go over the top of the meat.  Stay with me here... we are shooting for this to be served the way they do it in South America!
Here is the dish all put together....
Now it seems to me that all of the components are fairly plain and ordinary on their own.  But when they were all together.... it really was a great meal!  My stepbrother was down in Louisiana visiting from Canada, and he said he would definitely be making this for his family as well. 

Did you enjoy this recipe?  I hope so.  There are so many more where this came from.  Why don't you pop on over to my Recipe Index for lots of great ideas for you and your family.  

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Written Method: 

Salsa -   I like to let my salsa sit a bit for the flavors to marry, so I did this first.  I mixed together half of the tomatoes, the onion, the seeded jalapeno pepper together in a food processor.  You could certainly leave the seeds in the pepper if you want to, but I wanted a milder salsa.  Then by hand, I mixed in chopped cilantro, the other tomatoes, finely chopped, fresh lime juice, and kosher salt. I wanted a little texture, so this is why I separated the rest of the ingredients.

For the potatoes -  I wanted to make sure that the slices were all equivalent in thickness, so we sliced the scrubbed potatoes (skin on) on the mandolin into 1/4" slices.  The potatoes were then boiled for about 7-8 minutes until about halfway done, then drained in a colander. The drained potatoes were cooked in canola oil with sliced onions until tender and golden, with a bit of a caramelized edge.  Season lightly with salt and pepper, with a little garlic powder.

For the rice -
I wanted to season up the rice with onions and red bell peppers, but I didn't want them to be raw and crunchy.  We started these vegetables in a bit of canola oil in the bottom of the rice cooker until they started to soften and get translucent.  Then we added some chicken bouillon for flavor, and obviously the rice and water appropriate for the amount.

The beef -
The "milanesa cut" beef came presliced in very thin sheets. This worked out just perfectly! We marinated the beef in a little worcestershire sauce, a little soy sauce, some garlic powder, and some pepper.  We made a simple egg-battering station. 1. An egg wash with milk.  2.  Seasoned flour (Kentucky Kernel's fry batter) plus Panko bread crumbs for a great crunch, and some cumin!

Dip the marinated meat in the egg wash.  Press the meat firmly into the seasoned flour mixture.  I really pushed it in there so I could get a nice layer of that coating.  With a very hot (shimmering) canola oil, quickly pan fry the breaded meat.  You won't want to go far, as these cooked in about 2 minutes per side!  You'll see the edges starting to turn brown very quickly... then flip!

Now that all the components are ready, it's time to start plating.  At the last minute, you will fry your eggs, over easy.  These will go over the top of the meat.  Stay with me here... we are shooting for this to be served the way they do it in South America!

Here is the dish all put together....
Now it seems to me that all of the components are fairly plain and ordinary on their own.  But when they were all together.... it really was a great meal! 

2 comments:

  1. It looks FABULOUS! Julie, I can't wait to eat it at our event! And you did such a good job of plating. This looks similar (but I have to say way BETTER) than my silpancho in Cochabamba when I was there this summer. You're amazing!

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