Posts Tagged With: pork belly

Costa Rican Chifrijo

Costa Rican Entree

CHIFRIJO

INGREDIENTS – PICO DE GALLO

4 Roma tomatoes
1 medium white onion
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper (or ½ if you like it milder)
4 teaspoons lime juice
½ teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon more later)

INGREDIENTS – MAIN

1⅓ cups rice
1 pound pork belly*
2 garlic cloves
1 medium yellow or white onion
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoons salsa Lizano* or Worcestershire sauce

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

2 avocados
1 cup tortilla chips

* = Pork belly can be found at CostcoTM. They tend to sell in 5-to-6 pound packages. However, what you don’t use, can be sliced to make bacon.
* = Salsa Lizano can be found online and in ethnic supermarkets.

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION – PICO DE GALLO

Dice tomatoes, white onion, and cilantro. Seed and dice jalapeno. (Wash hands afterward. If you touch your face before washing, it will burn.) Put tomato, white onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl. Mix with spoon until well blended.

PREPARATION – MAIN

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Cut pork belly into ½” cubes. Dice garlic cloves and yellow onion.

Add pork-belly cubes, garlic, cumin, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt to small mixing bowl. Mix by hand until pork-belly cubes are well coated. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan. Heat olive oil using high heat until a tiny bit of garlic starts to dance in the oil. Add coated pork belly cubes. Sauté cubes for 10 minutes or until cubes turn golden brown and become mostly crispy. Stir frequently, especially so when they start to brown.

While pork belly sautés, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and yellow onion to pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until yellow onion softens. Stir frequently. Add red kidney beans and salsa Lizon. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until beans are warm. Stir occasionally

PREPARATION – FINAL

Peel avocados and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove pits. Cut avocado halves into 4 slices each. Add equal amounts of cooked rice to 4 serving bowls. Top rice with red kidney beans and yellow onion,. Top red kidney beans with pork belly cubes (chicharrone). Finally, top chicharrone with pico de gallo. Garnish with avocado slices and tortilla chips.

TIDBITS

1) This dish uses Roma tomatoes.

2) Roma is Latin for Rome. The Romans had a word for everything.

3) The Roman legionnaires carried Roma tomatoes into battle.

4) When the Roman soldiers got close to the enemy’s forces, they’d hurl Roma tomatoes.

5) The tomatoes splattered on the faces of the opposing infantry. Tomato juice got into the eyes of the foe.

6) Clear-sighted Romans charged into the ranks of the blinded enemy. The professional Roman army would gain a decisive victory within minutes.

7) “LycopersiciSusceptibility et gladii,” “Tomatoes and Swords.” was the slogan of the Roman soldiers.

8) Indeed, early Roman emperors wore a purple robe with vivid red Roma tomatoes on it.

9) But in late 405, extreme frost conditions totally destroyed the entire Roman Empire’s crop of tomatoes. Barbarian hordes crossed the frozen Rhine River and plunged into the heart of the empire.

10) It had been quite a long time since the legionnaires had fought without tomatoes. They didn’t know how to fight without them. The confused Roman army could no longer hold the barbarian forces at bay.

12) So Rome lost battle after battle. The barbarian conquered everything. Mighty Rome was no more. This is why you should stock your pantry with tomatoes.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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.

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Bun Cha

Vietnamese Entree

BUN CHA

INGREDIENTSBunCha-

2 shallots
5 tablespoons fish sauce or oyster sauce or soy sauce (3 more tablespoons later)
¾ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sugar (2 more tablespoons later)
1 pound thinly sliced pork belly or bacon (See note *)
1 pound ground pork

¼ cup cilantro (All the greens in this section must be fresh)
5 green onions
¼ cup lettuce
¼ cup perilla or lemon thyme or mint
¼ cup Thai basil or basil
¼ cup Vietnamese mint or mint
¼ cup kohlrabi or green papaya

3 garlic cloves
1 Thai chile or cayenne chile or serrano chile
3 tablespoons fish sauce or oyster sauce or soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1⅔ cups water
½ tablespoon lime juice

12 ounces dried vermicelli noodles
no-stick spray

I gave a lot of substitutes for this recipe as some of the ingredients are hard to find outside of an Asian grocery.

* = DO NOT get SALTED pork belly. It will make everything taste way too salty. Also, the pork belly should be sliced as thinly as bacon. If you cannot obtain thinly sliced, unsalted pork belly, you are better off using sliced bacon.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

grill, outdoor is preferable
grilling basket

Serves 6 people. Takes 1 hours 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Mince shallots. Add shallot, pepper, fish sauce, and sugar to first large mixing bowl. Stir with whisk until well blended. Pour half of this marinade into a second large mixing bowl. Put pork belly in first bowl. Thoroughly coat the pork-belly slices with this marinade. Add the ground pork into the second bowl. Use hands to thoroughly knead the marinade into the ground pork. Put mixing bowls in refrigerator for 1 hour.

While pork marinates, dice cilantro, green onions, lettuce, perilla, Thai basil, and Vietnamese mint. Cut the bulb of the kohlrabi into ¼” slices. Put herbs in a large bowl. Mix with fork until well blended.

Form marinated ground pork into patties 2″ across and ½” thick. Spray grilling basket with no-stick spray. Put patties in grilling basket and grill for 4 minutes on each side or until both sides become golden brown. Remove grilled patties. Spray grilling basket again. Put pork-belly strips in grilling basket and grill for 2 minutes on each side until strips turn golden brown.

Mince garlic cloves and Thai chile. Add fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and water to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Pour this dipping sauce into serving bowl. Add garlic, Thai chile, and lime juice. Stir until well blended.

Cook vermicelli noodles as instructed on package.

Place pork-belly strips, pork patties, greens, and noodles onto 4 communal serving bowls. Divide dipping sauce equally into a dipping bowl for each guest. Guests add as desired from the communal bowls.

TIDBITS

1) Bun Cha is short for Man Bun Cha Cha Cha, a Cuban dance from the 1950s. It’s associated with the island’s music scene and freedom of expression. Okay, there has been precious little freedom of expression in Cuba since Fidel Castro and his band of fitfully merry communists took over in 1959.

2) There was a reason for Castro’s oppression. The previous government under the dictator Bautista was decadent beyond belief. Government official thought nothing of double dipping tortillas chips into the communal sofrito bowl. Leaders and army officers grew their hair long, tied it up in man buns, and danced the Man Bun Cha Cha Cha. It was a parlous time.

3) Castro and his merry outcasts tried to humiliate Bautista’s regime by defeating its officials in Cha Cha contests. They didn’t. They couldn’t dance worth a lick. That is why they were outcasts. Frustrated, Fido–no it’s Fidel, Fido’s a dog’s name–turned to the United States for support. America ignored him; the White Sox were about to be in the World Series for the first time since. 1919.

4) So, Fidel seized power with support from the Soviet Union and outlawed the man bun. In return, the Soviets got permission to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy objected. We almost had a nuclear war, always a bad thing. So, the man bun is outlawed the world over and the dance is now known only as the Cha Cha. Call it the Man Bun Cha Cha Cha and you’ll get arrested. Wear a man bun as well and you’ll disappear. For good. And don’t name your dog, Fidel.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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