Truckin’ Along: Silpancho Cochabambino, or Bolivian Steak and Eggs

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Three years ago, after Lettuce, Tomato I crossed the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu, Tomato wandered off on her own (well, with Intrepid) into the unknown wilds of Bolivia. It seems an odd choice, but given Tomato’s penchant for the unexpected, it wasn’t a choice that was at all out of character.

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When she got back and filled us in on her adventures- and quite the adventures they were- I’ll admit that I was more than a little jealous. 

She blew up dynamite in a silver mine.  I’m pretty sure she could have died from that. #Badass

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Looks can be deceiving.

 

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She also visited these gorgeous salt flats. 

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No words. One, maybe-breathtaking.  

And she ate some interesting food.  Gross food.  Like, pizza topped with ketchup, maraschino cherries and hard shredded cheese which was, thankfully, cooked (her compatriots were not so lucky).  Or a dish of rum ice cream that was purple and tasted like nail polish remover.  Again, gross.  Don’t worry- I won’t be making those things, despite my love of all things ice cream.

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Despite all the ick, she also ate some amazing food, and the dish that she can’t seem to get out of her head was Silpancho Cochabambino– say that ten times fast-which she describes as a “Bolivian trucker breakfast”- basically their version of steak and eggs.  With little more than that to go on, I set out to find a recipe for this oh-most-amazing dish.

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Fun with Photoshop

CORRECTION: This was NOT photo-shopped. Brought to you live.

Having never been a big steak and eggs person myself, I hemmed and hawed in my head about making it before I remembered how much I ended up loving the machaca con huevos, and that convinced me to get over myself and just make it.

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I found a few iterations out there, but decided to, of course, make my own (geesh, do I EVER follow a recipe anymore?). 

One “technical” trick that I got out of this was the meat- I ended up rolling the ground beef into golf ball sized balls and then rolled them thin inside a Ziploc thanks to this handy trick I picked up from Kevin is Cooking yesterday.  Thanks, Kevin!  Anyway, it eliminated much of the mess that I imagine would be associated with rolling meat. These thin steaks cooked so quickly- a mere 1-2 minutes a side- and left me time and hands to turn my attention to more important matters like potatoes.  

Random thought:  For further applicability, I thought this was a great way to simulate the super thin “shaved” lamb in a gyro recipe. With Greek fest coming up this weekend, you may be seeing this theory in practice soon.

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This multi-step process seems like too much, but each one goes rather quickly and breakfast/brunch will be ready in no time, and you’ll be all set to hit the road.  This was delicious, I can definitely see what all the fuss is about.

Silpancho Cochabambino
Serves 4
Bolivia's version of steak and eggs
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For the beef
  1. ½ pound ground beef (I used a 90/10 blend)
  2. ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  3. 1 TB olive oil
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. 1 TB Mexican oregano
  6. ½ TB chili powder (or taco seasoning, if you like)
  7. 1 tsp cumin
  8. ½ tsp black pepper
For the pico
  1. ½ large yellow onion, diced
  2. 1 large or 2 medium Roma tomatoes
  3. 1 TB white vinegar
  4. 1 lime, juiced
  5. 2 TB cilantro, chopped
For the rest
  1. 4 medium sized Yukon gold or similar potatoes
  2. 4 eggs
Prep the potatoes
  1. Add the whole potatoes (I didn’t peel mine, but you can if you wish) to boiling water. Boil about 20 minutes, depending on the size, until tender and edible, but NOT overcooked. It’s okay if they are slightly under-cooked since you’ll finish them in the frying pan. Once cool, cut into thick slices.
Prep the pico
  1. In a medium bowl, add the onion, cilantro, tomatoes, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.
Prep the meat
  1. In a sauté pan, add the olive oil and lightly toast the panko with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a small bowl, add the meat, spices and about 2/3 of the breadcrumbs. With your hands, mix well and divide into four even pieces. Roll each piece into a golf-ball sized ball and roll each ball in the remaining breadcrumbs.
  3. Using a Ziploc bag, one ball at a time, roll out each meatball into a thin meat steak.
Start cooking
  1. In a cast iron skillet, add about ½ tsp olive oil and coat the bottom well. One at a time, add the beef steaks, cooking about 1-2 minutes a side until cooked through. Set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. Once all the steaks are cooked in the same pan, add another 1 TB oil. Add slices one a time until you have one layer at the bottom of the pan and there is space between each one. Cook about 2 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove on a paper towel lined plate to cool. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Just before you’re ready to serve, fry the eggs individually.
  4. You’re done! Plate the food by layering the potatoes, then 1 beef steak, topped by one egg and finished with some pico.
Adapted from various
Adapted from various
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World http://thehungarybuddha.com/

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Thanks to Tomato for letting me use her amazing photos from Bolivia!

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2 Comments

    • Thanks for stopping by! I created this recipe from various others that I found online-and used some of what my friend told me about what she ate. Thanks for the tip about the rice- I’ll be sure to try it that way next time.

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