Big cooking adventures always mean a towering sink of dirty pots and pans and a long night of scrubbing afterward, right? Conventional wisdom might hold that only the simplest dishes can keep a sink reasonably empty — but conventional wisdom hasn’t yet grappled with the delight of Puerto Rican cooking styles.
A great deal of Puerto Rican cooking can be summarized as “one pot.” Many of these dishes are designed to make repeated or layered use of a single pot, rather than have multiple components cooked separately.
Puerto Rican Sopa de PlÃ¡tano has an authentic flavor that is rustic and pleasing to the palate. This plantain soup is perfect for cold winter months. Puerto Rican plantain soup can be prepared with boiled plantains, but this recipe by Mayra RodrÃguez (author of EspaÃ±olâ€™s GuÃa de Cocina latina y caribeÃ±a) uses fried bananas. ENJOY!
1. Peel the plantains, cut them into one-inch-thick pieces, and soak in salted water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, you may prepare the soup broth (step three).
Tip: Peeling Plantains
Cut the ends of the banana.
Make four cuts along the peel of each piece with the tip of a knife.
Soak in ice water for three to five minutes to loosen the shell.
Remove from the water and peel it.
2. Drain and pat dry the plantains. In a skillet, heat oil and fry the plantains for about 12 minutes at medium-high until golden brown, making sure you turn them at about six minutes. Remove them from the oil, drain them well on paper towel, and proceed to mash them using a pilÃ³n (mortar and pestle).
3. In a deep pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the crushed garlic and cook until soft. Then add the sofrito and cook for two minutes. Finally, add the chicken or vegetable broth and cook until it boils.
4. Add the plantains, mix well, simmer for about three minutes and reduce the heat. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened.
5. Add the cilantro. You can sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Tired of your usual appetizers? Surprise your loved ones and or guests with Puerto Rican surullitos! Surullitos are fried corn sticks that could be served as a side dish or snack. Here is the recipe for surullitos compliments of Jessica at The Novice Chef Blog. ENJOY!
Surullitos (Cheese Corn Sticks)
Makes 20 cheese corn sticks
* 2 cups of water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cup of extremely fine cornmeal
* 4 oz Edam or Gouda cheese, shredded
* 2 cups vegetable oil
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in salt, sugar and cornmeal. Return to heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the dough does not stick to the pot.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Let sit for 5 minutes -or until you are able to handle the heat- and roll 1 tablespoon balls of dough into cigar shapes.
In a large deep skillet, heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Cook Surullitos 4-6 at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan, until lightly golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and serve immediately.
Sauce: Mix together ketchup, mayo and garlic. Serve with fresh hot Surullitos.
If you like your food hot and spicy then you need some Pique in your life! There are two types of Puerto Rican pique: pique verde (Puerto Rican green hot sauce) and pique criollo. Pique verde is usually made with green Caballero hot peppers, green Cubanelle peppers, culantro, cilantro, onion, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice. On the other hand, pique criollo usually consists of Caballero hot peppers (and or Habanero peppers), pineapple, vinegar, oregano, peppercorns, garlic and or onions. Today’s recipe is an example of pique criollo, also known as Pique boricua de botella.
It has always been said that real Puerto Rican pique uses the AjÃ caballero at its base. The ajÃ caballero is a hot chili pepper that stands vertically or upright on the plant (unlike other peppers that hang down). If you don’t have ajÃ caballeros you could always substitute it with habanero chile.
Many people like to let the pique sit for weeks or months to make it hotter and spicier!
Here’s the Pique (Puerto Rico Hot Sauce) recipe compliments of LaGasse:
Serving: Makes approximately 13-16 ounces
12 ounces white vinegar
2 slices of Pineapple rind (you may use 2 ounces of the juice instead)
4 Garlic cloves, sliced in half
4 Ajices caballero (or habanero)
4 cayenne peppers, whole
10 peppercorns, cut in half
4 sprigs of Cilantro (also known as chinese parsley)
2 recao leaves (if available)- also known as culantro
4 TBSP Olive Oil (2 ounces)
Pinch of Oregano
Pinch of Salt
1- Carefully cut the ajices in half. If you like it hot, don’t discard the seeds.
(Wash your hands carefully after handling the ajices or the cayenne peppers!)
2- Cut the pineapple rind into 6 pieces that are each: 1 inch by 2 inches. So each piece is approximately the size of 2 regular postage stamps, side by side.
3- In a small saucepan, simmer the ajices in the olive oil for approximately one minute on medium low heat. This brings up the hotness of the ajices without having to let it sit for months. Let it cool.
4- Place the rest of the ingredients in a jar, or an old salad dressing bottle. The large kind will probably accommodate the entire recipe. If you need to use two jars or bottles, divide the ingredients into each one.
5- Add the ajices and the olive oil to the jar(s) or bottle(s). Shake and let it sit for at least a day before using.
Remember… the longer it sits, the hotter it gets! ENJOY!
This Puerto Rican Porkrecipe is by the chef sister of Mary Brown Malouf and is said to taste just as good cold as it is fresh out of the oven! So if you have leftovers feel free to make a yummy sandwich with it. Enjoy:
Summery Puerto Rican Roast Pork Serves: 10-12 Marinade:
12 cloves Garlic, Peeled
Â¼ Cup Fresh Thyme
Â½ Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns
2 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
2 Cups Sour Orange Juice or
1 â…“ Cups Orange Juice and
â…” Cup Lime Juice
4-5 Lbs. Pork Sirloin Tip or Boneless Pork Shoulder
* Mix all ingredients except the meat in a food processor. Mix until almost smooth.
* Put the marinade and meat into a large Zip Lock bag and marinate for 6-10 hours in the refrigerator.
* One hour before cooking, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Pre-heat the oven to 450â°.
* Wipe most of the marinade off the pork (leaving some of the puree on is OK) and place in a heavy roasting pan.
* Cook in the oven for 15 minutes until lightly brown.
* Lower the heat to 250â°, add a little water to the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender throughout.
* Remove the meat from the pan, keep it warm on the side and reduce the pan juices slightly.
* Strain and taste. If the sauce is not too salty, serve with the meat. If it is a little too salty, wash and slice a potato. Add a few slices of the raw potato to the pan and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Discard the potato slices. They should have absorbed quite a bit of the salt, so taste the sauce again before serving and adjust the seasoning.
* Slice the meat across the grain and serve with black beans and rice.
Today’s Puerto Rican recipe is compliments of celebrity chef Eric Ripert of New York’s popular Le Bernardin. Sancocho, a Puerto Rican Beef Stew, is a traditional dish that has many variations across Spain and Latin America. In Puerto Rico it is usually made with chicken, top round beef, pork feet with chick peas or beef short ribs with chorizo, chicken and smoked ham. There are several variations within the Puerto Rican households as well but Puerto Rican sancocho should always have sofrito! Check out the recipe below…
* 2 Italian frying peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
* 2 small red bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
* 1 onion, roughly chopped
* 1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked (about 2 ounces)
* 5 garlic cloves, peeled
* 3 tablespoons canola oil
* 4 pounds beef shank, bone-in
* Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 pound chorizo, sliced
* 4 cups water
* 1 green plantain, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
* 1/2 cup medium-diced potato
* 1/2 cup medium-diced celeriac
* 1 avocado
Make the sofrito by placing the Italian frying peppers, red bell pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro in the container of electric blender or bowl of food processor. Cover and blend or process about 20 seconds, or until coarsely chopped. Reserve.
Carve the beef off the bone and cut into 1-inch cubes, reserving the bones. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a heavy-bottomed large pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the beef cubes and bones and brown on all sides. Add the reserved pepper mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook for 3-5 minutes. Cover with water and simmer for 2 hours adding the plantain, potatoes and celeriac towards the last half hour. Add more water if the stew becomes too thick.
Discard the bones and divide the stew between six warmed bowls. Garnish with avocado slices over each bowl.
Arroz Con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas) is Puerto Rico’s national dish. It is a combination of rice, pigeon peas, and pork and has become very popular throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Arroz con gandules can contain any type of meat – even NO meat for the vegetarians out there! Some examples of types of meat you could use are pork, ham, turkey, bacon or chorizo.
There are many great Arroz con Gandules recipes out there and here is one of them compliments of LaGasse. Check out the recipe below, or better yet, watch the video below the recipe to see how it’s done! Now you can cook the national dish of Puerto Rico right in your very home!
1 ounce of achiote oil
1/4 cup of chopped onion
3 ounces of sofrito
2 1/2 cups of water
2 cups of fresh gandules (pigeon peas), or
1 (15 ounce) can of gandules
4 ounces of tomato sauce
2 cups of white rice
14 – 16 manzanilla olives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of black pepper
pinch of oregano
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 ounce of salted fatback (tocino)
1. On medium flame, bring the the achiote oil and the salted fatback to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan. Since the fatback is optional, if you are not using it, simply heat the oil and proceed to step 3.
2. Simmer the fatback for 2 -3 minutes until you see it getting golden colored.
3. Add the chopped onion, and simmer approximately 1 – 2 minutes, until onion is translucent.
4. Add the sofrito.
5. Simmer until the sofrito starts to thicken – this could take up to 3 to 10 minutes, depending upon the heat of the stove, and whether your sofrito is at room temperature, or still slightly frozen. Notice the simmering action in the video, and adjust your heat accordingly.
6. Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with the water.
7. Let everything come up to a simmer. You may increase the heat to Medium-HI.
8. Once simmering, stir once, while scraping the rice on the bottom of the pot (to prevent sticking).
9. Allow the liquid in the pot to evaporate- notice the section in the video that shows the difference between almost ready, and actually ready!
10. Lower the flame to LOW. Cover, and let simmer approximately 20 minutes.
11. After 20 minutes, uncover the pot by quickly flipping the lid- this will catch the water that’s under the lid, instead of it falling back into the rice. Discard the water.
12. Carefully stir the rice as follows: with a large serving spoon, take a spoon of rice from the furthest side of the pot, and scoop it into the middle. Turn the pot a little, and repeat. Do this until you’ve turned the pot once completely around (about 4 or 5 times).
This process is called ‘moviendo el arroz‘ in Spanish – literally meaning ‘moving the rice’.
13. Cover and simmer another 20 minutes on Low heat.
14. After 20 minutes, again uncover the pot carefully, and take some rice out with a spoon. Taste the rice:
a) If it’s still a little hard, cover and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes. Then test it again.
b) If it’s a little sticky, cook uncovered for another 5 – 10 minutes. Then test it again.