3 garlic cloves (2 more cloves later)
1 medium onion
2 pounds flank steak
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cumin (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper (¼ teaspoon more later)
3 quarts water (or enough to cover ingredients)
INGREDIENTS – BLACK BEANS
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
¼ cup olive oil or oil (¼ cup more later)
1 green bell pepper
1 15-ounce-can black beans
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
INGREDIENTS – RICE & PLANTAINS
1⅓ cups rice
2 plantains or bananas
½ cup olive oil or oil
4 plates with 3 sections. These are mighty hard to find if you’re looking for them at the last moment.
Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 50 minutes.
PREPARATION – PULLED MEAT
Dice 3 garlic cloves, medium onion, and tomato. Add diced garlic, onion, tomato, flank steak, bay leaf, ¼ teaspoon cumin, oregano, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil using high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes or until meat is tender to the fork. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove meat and place on plate. Pull flank seat apart with forks. Save stock for future soups.
PREPARATION – BLACK BEANS
While flank steak simmers, mince 2 garlic cloves and small onion. Seed and dice green bell pepper. Add garlic, onion, green bell pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add black beans, ¼ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
PREPARATION – RICE & PLANTAINS
About 30 minutes before flank steak should be ready to be pulled apart, cook rice according to instructions on package. Peel plantains. Cut plantains into slices 1″ wide diagonally along the length of the plantain. Add plantain and ½ cup oil to pan. Sauté slices for 3 minutes on each at medium heat or until plantain softens and browns.
PREPARATION – FINAL STEP
This step is much easier if you have a plate that is divided into 3 sections. Carefully add enough pulled flank steak to make a pie wedge that takes up ⅓ of the plate. Carefully add enough beans next to the flank steak to make a pie wedge taking up ⅓ of the plate. Carefully add (Yes, you are doing things carefully here.) enough rice to take up the remaining ⅓ of the plate. Add ¼ of the plantain slices to the outside of the rice pie-wedge.
Zap, with your sonic obliterator, any guests who fail to appreciate just how much heart and soul went into the preparation of this dish.
1) This dish, pabellón criollo, is enormously popular, among Venezuelans. So much so, that Venezuelans will bring the ingredients for this dish wherever they travel or migrate.
2) And boy, they sure have migrated. On May 1, 16,870 BC priests revealed to the proto-Venezuelans that their gods would be having a millennium-long jamboree in a land beyond the Great Mother Sea. Of course, everyone knows the best time to petition gods is when they’ve been drinking, eating pulled beef, and dancing and singing up a storm.
3) So, all the proto-Venezuelans took to their rafts and floated and paddled their way down the east coast of South America, suffered ice storms in the Straights of Magellan, endured fresh-water deprivation, and got eaten by gigantic sharks and whales.
4) All of which sucked, especially when compared to jamboreeing with the gods. So once there, the proto-Venezuelans stayed and planted rice. This is how rice came to India, Vietnam, China, and Japan.
5) The proto-Venezuelans were pretty happy. Then the gods’ beer ran out. The deities became surly and hurled thunderbolts and really hard bread rolls at the humans.
6) Life sucked again. Enough to brave the perils of an ocean voyage back home. This is how peoples from Asia settled the Americas, not by the headline hunters who crossed the land bridge from Siberia to Alaska.
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.