Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shreded beef! Venezuelan style

Here is the lead singer of the dish I made for Amy and Scott.

You need a big chunk of meat :-)
Ok, I don't know the names of the different beefs, I think I bought like a top roast or something like that. I've done it with different ones and it works, so find something you like that can be shredded and you'll be good.

 Season the whole chunk with salt, pepper and cumin. Sear it on a hot skillet and then place in in a crock pot for at least 6 hours on low. I make mine over night. You can also do it on high for about 4 hours. Add enough water to cover 3/4 of the meat.

Add two cloves of garlic and some oregano.

After it is all cooked, pull it out of the crock pot, save the liquid and shred the meat with two forks or by hand.

 Take an onion, garlic (2 cloves), a red pepper and two tomatoes. Dice everything small.
Heat some oil in a pan (big enough to fit the meat) and turn it to medium heat, saute the onions for about 2 minutes, add garlic and cook for about a minute (or until you can smell the garlic) then add the red peppers. Stir constantly to prevent burning, saute for about 5 minutes or until veggies are very soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 8 minutes, or until tomatoes loose their bright color and it turns a little pasty. During this time add, about 1/2 tsp of oregano, cumin and salt.

Once it is all done, add the beef, mix well and add the broth slowly, you don't want it soupy but you don't want the meat dry either. Add enough broth to almost cover the meat and the simmer for about 15minutes adding more broth if needed, taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

And that is it! a lot of little steps but you get used to it pretty quickly.


If you cool all three recipes I've just shared plus some fried plantains you have Pabellon, which is our National traditional food.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Black beans, Venezuelan Style.

Black beans are THE thing to eat in my country. Black beans rule the whole world!!!!

If you make them well.

I will give you the recipe on how to make them from dry beans but you are more than welcome to use can beans, just use good quality ones and rinse the soupy thing that is in the can.

Take the dry beans, look through them for stones or little twigs, rinse them twice in cold water. Put them in a big bowl and fill it up with water,you want a lot of water on top of the beans. Add a TBSP of baking Soda, mix and let it sit on the counter over night.

In the morning rinse them and then put them in a big pot with a lot of water covering the beans. Add salt, 4 whole cloves of garlic, half of an onion (cut in two) and if you have, a ham bone or some pork product.

Let it boil and stir every once in a while, when the water reduces to the surface of the beans add more hot water. Repeat this process until the beans are really soft. Remove the big pieces of garlic and onion.

I usually do this in the morning while I'm doing laundry or cleaning, I just come back to it and stir or add water.

While waiting you can dice an onion, very small, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper and saute it all with some bacon or just alone. You need to keep everything in low heat for at least 10 minutes, after 5 minutes you want to add some cumin  (about 2 tsp), oregano (about 1 tsp), salt and pepper. Keep cooking, once it's done it will look more like mashed veggies or very mushy veggies.

Add them to the pot of beans and start mashing them with a potato masher. You want to mash about a fourth of the beans. Keep cooking for another 20 minutes in low heat. They should be somewhat creamy at the end. Make sure to taste for salt.

That is it!
I usually make a huge pot use it and then freeze the rest.

Enjoy, they are worth the trouble ;-)

Venezuelan rice

Well, I was asked for this recipe although you might not want it anymore because you are all making brown rice but here it is for the descendants, right?

 We make rice in pots not on "rice cookers' so I don't really know if you can do the same in a rice cooker or not.

Here we go!
-The way we measure the rice is 2 cups of water for every  1 cup of rice.
-It is best if you use a thick pot for the rice.
-Do NOT mix the rice after it boils, just let him be. I do not know why we must follow this rule, we never questioned our elders.
- You must add salt. How much? I asked the same to my mom as a little girl and she said "Guess! whatever looks good is great!"

To make two cups of dry rice.

 In a medium pan, saute two minced garlic cloves in some olive oil. Just for about a minute. Noticed that I didn't say heat the pan first, you don't want to burn the garlic. Add the two cups of dry rice and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes, it will be done when it looks translucent or a little toasty (depending on the rice) then add 4 cups of water and salt. Mix well and leave on medium high heat until it boils.
Watch it closely after it boils and turn down the temperature to very low heat when the water has reduced just enough to see all the rice. Cover it and let it sit until done.
No, I don't know how long that is, usually I just go and do the rest of the meal while that is happening. It is hard to burn it when the temperature is so low.
Check on it after 10 minutes maybe, it should look dry and smell yummy. You can taste to see if it still needs some more time.

I love adding green or red bell peppers, just a couple of strips or onions or all of them! just a little, like a Tablespoon.

Also you can add a pinch of Turmeric to make it look yellow, it won't really change the flavor but to us yellow rice is "fancy"

The last note is, our rice is supposed to be the opposite to "sticky rice" so it will be fluffy and each grain independent from the other, but they are all one happy family, just like us!