Happy Saturday peeps!
Lettuce, Yam and I were just emailing that spring is definitely in the air (despite whatever that silly groundhog said). Chicago is thawing and has become one big soggy mess. However, people are filling the streets, the sun is out, and I just made the most delicious dish for brunch. Life is good.
Before I continue the journey into South America, one last stop in the center parts, namely, Costa Rica. I actually had a long list of Costa Rican dishes to make but in the interest of moving forward, I think I’ll dole them out for some future #TBTs, so stay tuned for that.
My childhood friend Broccoli, who happens to be Costa Rican, provided me with the following run down of her country’s traditional food:
Costa Rica’s “defining” dish is Gallo Pinto- a beans-and-rice dish that is kind of a cover-all- the local understanding was that it was a dish that could be thrown together from leftovers for unexpected company, something that happens often in CR. A typical meal is a “Casado” which involves gallo pinto, a piece of cooked beef or fish, a small, usually cabbage based (with lemon) slaw/salad, and plantain. There are lots of fruit drinks and things done with mango and papaya, as well as a lot of dishes that are based on sugar cane for dessert. There’s also the pejibaye fruit, a coconut relative that even Costa Rica’s closest neighboring countries don’t eat. Heart of Palm is one of Costa Rica’s biggest export, and comes from the pejibaye tree.
Costa Rica’s meats are primarily grass fed, which gives them a really different flavor than U.S. meats, and their fish is usually very fresh. Coffee is a huge part of the culture too. [Finally], Ceviche! Sea bass ceviche is a big Costa Rican specialty, not usually shrimp or squid as in other countries.
A big thank you to Broccoli for that, and I’ll be sharing a special grandma recipe of hers later on.
But this dish. THIS ONE. I just can’t help myself (in my head, Greg Kinnear, You’ve Got Mail).
Papas con Chorizo. Potatoes and sausage. Oh, but it’s so much more.
The recipe I found on this site was pretty simple and a little unremarkable, but I liked where they were going with it, so I thought I’d borrow the idea and tweak it to make it more “me;” swapping some healthier ingredients, adding a dash of freshness and of course my own personal favorite tastes. The result would, I think, be well received by anyone that likes good food.
Chicken chorizo: Same great flavor, less fat
Sweet Potatoes: A touch of sweet, a lot of vitamins and good things like that
Roasted Red Pepper: For more color
Parsley: Fresh herbs, always
Wine: Why not?
Goat cheese: My lifeblood
In under 40 minutes (or less, depending on how you cut the potatoes), you have yourself the most flavorful meal. Another thought for something extra: An over easy egg served atop this. Mind blown.
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 large chicken chorizo links, raw and casings removed
- 2 medium (or 1 very large) sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 red pepper
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp smoked paprika (more, if you like)
- ½ cup (handful) of fresh parsley, chopped
- Crumbled goat cheese, to garnish
- Pinch salt
- Pepper to taste
- Over a gas flame, char the red pepper until the skin is blackened. Put in the brown paper bag and let steam about 10 minutes. With a paper towel, remove the skins. Seed, and chop into strips. If you don't have a gas grill, alternatively, seed and dice the pepper, and then saute in some olive oil until nice and soft.
- While the pepper is doing its thing, in a cast iron (or medium size skilled) add the oil and the sausage. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon and mix occasionally until it’s browned. If you are using pork chorizo, you can most likely omit the oil since it’ll give off enough fat on its own. My chicken was rather lean and needed a little extra fat.
- With the wine, deglaze the pan and scrape up all the nice crispy bits. Add the potatoes, spices and water, and cover until the potatoes are cooked and the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated, about 30 minutes.
- Just before serving, toss in the parsley and top with the goat cheese.