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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Here are some bonus recipes for you:
Man Chili

Black Pepper Cheddar Bay Biscuits

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Honey Vanilla Bean Lemondrop Martini

Creamy Italian Sausage and Tortellini
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! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pickle Brined Fried Chicken

So somehow, I went to bed and dreamed I was making fried chicken.  Seriously?!  Yes.  Then as I sat there one morning this past week trying to plan the menu for the evening, I wondered what angle I wanted to take.  Then there was Mr Picky Palate (who shall remain nameless), who came down for breakfast.  We apparently purchased the "wrong" kosher pickles.. and yes, he noticed that the ones in his lunch weren't the same as usual.  Sigh.... So it hit me.  I have chicken in the freezer.  I am going to marinate these in a pickle juice brine.  (Thank you, Mr Picky Palate!) Think about it, it has all those flavors in it - the salt, the acid, the slight sweetness.  Yes!  Oh - and didn't I once hear a rumor that our favorite chicken restaurant used to brine their amazing chicken in pickle juice?  I am almost certain that I didn't make that up!

Okay, I'll admit that you have every right to be a bit circumspect, but this was definitely going to happen.  Every other time I've brined my poultry, I've been very pleased with the results.  Why should this be different, right?   OH MY WORD!!!!  Can I just tell you that the kids went nuts over this chicken!  It was so tender and juicy... and that very faint pickle flavor in the background was very similar to the chicken that we get from that Chick-fil-a!  SCORE!!  I actually did a little happy dance in the kitchen.  Yes, really.  Scout's honor.  :)

You MUST try it!  My two teens even took the leftovers for their lunch the next day.  And the best part, for all you busy people out there, is that the technique I used actually cut OUT a few steps!
 
Print this recipe!

Ingredients: (I cooked 2 pounds of chicken)
  • Boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • Pickle juice from 1 jar of kosher pickles
  • 16 oz container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 box Kentucky Kernel seasoned flour
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
    • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Canola oil for frying


Step-by-Step:
I threw my chicken into a gallon sized ziptop bag, and poured a whole jar of pickle juice over them .  (Yep, the kind he likes.)  I allowed them to brine in the pickle juice for 2 1/2 hours in the fridge.  I took them out to take some of the chill off while I got the rest of the stuff ready.
chicken brined in pickle juice
I wanted moist, tender chicken with a slight tangy flavor.  Rather than do a typical egg wash, I decided to go with a plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.  It's thick and creamy, has no fat but lots of protein, and it has a great tangy flavor.  I had never tried this method before, but I think it came to me in my sleep, so I went with it!
16 oz container of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
Then I wanted a very flavorful coating.  What is fried chicken without a great flavorful coating, right?  Just combine all the stuff....

Kentucky Kernel's seasoned flour, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper.
 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp baking powder
And this is what it looks like.  Now just stir that around to combine.
batter mixture
Ready?  Here we go!
Remove the chicken from the brine -
*Just be aware, the longer you leave the chicken in, the saltier the brine will make the chicken.
Coat the chicken first in the Greek yogurt, then in the seasoned flour.  Make sure you get lots of that great flour coating on it!
Fry at about 350-360 degrees F until golden brown and crispy... and of course cooked inside!  I found out that when I fried about 3 strips at a time, it took about 6 minutes.  When I fried only 2 at a time, a couple of minutes less.  You may have to figure out what works best for your fryer or pot. 

Don't you just love the way you can see all the herbs in the batter when they are done?  YUM!  The batter was the perfect balance of fluffy and crispy.
They were SO juicy and tender and wonderful!  And lets see - what did we cut out?  I did NOT season the chicken before battering, because the brine had lots of flavor including salt already.  I did not have to make up and egg wash.  And I did not have to salt the chicken when they came out of the fryer.  These were a home run with my kids!


Did you enjoy this?
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Here are some bonus recipes for you:
Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Cream Sauce

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Honey Maple Granola

Written Method:



I threw my chicken into a gallon sized ziptop bag, and poured a whole jar of pickle juice over them.  I allowed them to brine in the pickle juice for 2 1/2 hours in the fridge.  I took them out to take some of the chill off while I got the rest of the stuff ready.

I wanted moist, tender chicken with a slight tangy flavor.  Rather than do a typical egg wash, I decided to go with a plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.  It's thick and creamy, has no fat but lots of protein, and it has a great tangy flavor.  

I wanted a very flavorful coating.  What is fried chicken without a great flavorful coating, right?  Just combine all the stuff....

Remove the chicken from the brine.  Coat the chicken first in the Greek yogurt, then in the seasoned flour.  Make sure you get lots of that great flour coating on it!  Fry at about 350-360 degrees F until golden brown and crispy... and of course cooked inside!

I found out that when I fried about 3 strips at a time, it took about 6 minutes.  When I fried only 2 at a time, a couple of minutes less.  You may have to figure out what works best for your fryer or pot.

They were SO juicy and tender and wonderful!  And lets see - what did we cut out?  I did NOT season the chicken before battering, because the brine had lots of flavor including salt already.  I did not have to make up and egg wash.  And I did not have to salt the chicken when they came out of the fryer.  These were a home run with my kids!

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