Patacones (Fried Green Plantains)

Patacones - Domingos Gourmet

While I was studying in Scotland, some of my classmates and I organized an International Party, as we were 90 students from 22 different countries and wanted to celebrate the convergence of cultures. The agreement was that we all had to wear the typical dress (or an approximation of it) and bring a traditional dish.

I was debating on whether to prepare something sweet like Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) or something savoury; but once I discovered that the newly opened Morrisons was carrying green plantains, I knew right away that I had to make patacones (a.k.a. tostones) with refried beans.

 

Patacones for Intl Dinner Party - Domingos Gourmet

 For the party, I made a little sign explaining what they were; since at a previous gathering I had only brought the mashed beans and they were mistaken first with chocolate. Imagine people’s faces when I dipped a Doritos chip into the bowl… haha! Once I had explained what they were, and people ventured to try them, the beans were a hit! Some classmates remained glued to the bowl until they were was nothing left! 😉 So when I brought the beans with the plantains, the recently converted refried beans fans knew they were in for a treat!

For the attires, it was lovely to see many of my friends all dressed-up. For the dishes, it was incredible to taste so many flavours! The mix of all the colours made everything look bright and cheery!

Now, on to the recipe! I kindly had the assistance of my mom; she was patient enough to do the process slowly and stopped for me to take pictures. Thanks! 😉

 

Patacones (fried green plantains)

Ingredients

Green Plantain

Canola Oil

Salt

Directions

Place a large pan on medium heat with oil.

Take the plantain, chop off the tips; run off a knife lengthwise to cut the husk (do not go over to the flesh); help yourself with the knife to separate it from the flesh and then you may use your hands. Peel it completely. [On a side note, be careful with the husk not to touch for clothes for it may stain]

Peeling Plantains - Domingos Gourmet

Cut 1 inch-thick (aprox 3cm) slices. Repeat this process with as many plantains to complete the portions that you would like to have. We estimated you get an average of 8 slices per plantain.

Cutting Patacones disks - Domingos Gourmet

With one of the slices, carefully check if the oil has heated enough; if it starts sizzling just as you place the slice, then it is ready to place the rest.

Patacones in pan - Domingos Gourmet

Cook for about 3 minutes; flip them over; they should be yellow.

Flip patacones - Domingos Gourmet

Take them out onto a chopping board and with the help of a cup or a glass; press the slices to flatten them out (about 1cm-thick) and make disks. *Tip* If you are having a party, you may make them ahead up until this step and store them in the fridge (or even freezer). Then once your guests have arrived, just continue with the rest of the steps.

Making Plantain disks - Domingos Gourmet

Once you have done this with all, return them to the pan (by batches) and fry them until golden on each side.

Second fry Patacones - Domingos Gourmet

Remove from the pan and place them on a surface with kitchen towels to drain off the excess oil. Sprinkle with salt; serve warm. Best enjoyed with refried beans!

Patacones con frijoles molidos - Domingos Gourmet

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Chiverre Hand Pies (Empanaditas de Chiverre)

Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet

How was Easter? I hope you enjoyed your time with your family!

 

I would like to tell you about Easter or Holy Week in Costa Rica. We have a strong Spanish influence (due to colonial times) on our Easter celebrations. There are processions that re-enact events and sometimes they carry around plaster images to remind us of things. But my family doesn’t keep that tradition; we don’t like large crowds (though I believe we can blame a pair of charol shoes, a terrible heat, and hurting feet of a little girl many years ago).

We do attend though Mass on Thursday, which reminds of the Last Supper and the institution of Eucharist. On Friday we follow the Via Crucis from Rome (via TV) and pray at 3pm. On Saturday we participate at the Paschal Vigil (Easter Vigil). This one is our favourite (though it’s quite long) and Mass on Sunday.

We like the Vigil as it initiates with the church having the lights off and they light up the main candle from the altar, in an act that symbolizes how light dissipates darkness. And from that candle, the light is passed on to all of us; a visual representation that there are times when we are in the shadows and when we have contact with someone who is illuminated by the Holy Spirit, we are enlightened as well and then we share it with others.

A long time ago, people were not supposed/allowed to do things like washing, cleaning the house, even taking a bath or go to river/beach (which meant entertainment) during this week. It was supposed to be a time for being still and meditate. And for that, they spread a lot of myths, like if you bathed in the sea, you would turn into a mermaid. But times have changed, a lot of people flee to the beach (as it is always during our “Summer” a.k.a. dry season) or fly off to another country.

Back in the day, people made food in advance so women wouldn’t even cook during this week. Therefore, they prepared things that would last for the week. To date, people in small towns keep preparing traditional meals.

Of those, what I do know how to prepare are the “Empanadas de Chiverre” which I believe people call them hand pies in English. The filling is made of Chiverre, which is like a giant squash and requires an extremely long preparation (baked for hours, then cut, mixed with sugarcane sweet and made into a marmalade). I just skip all of that and buy the marmalade, then make the dough, fill, close and bake them.

We make them small (so there are more! 😀 ) and they never last long enough to count them. I think next time I’ll take note while they are in the oven! [Update: when my family realized I posted the recipe, they asked if I could make some! I counted 85 this time; I used a 7cm-diameter cutter with a 1/16” (2mm) thick dough.]

 

If you ever come to Costa Rica, buy the marmalade (or order online) and make these! Then let me know!! 🙂

 

 

 

Salty Flaky Dough

 

Ingredients

4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

½ cup lukewarm water

 

Preparation

In a bowl sift the flour add the salt and mix. Cut the butter in cubes and use a pastry blender or a fork. Once all is blended and has a sand consistency, gradually pour the water, to bind all the ingredients. Work the dough and shape into a ball. Separate, flatten out and make 2 disks; wrap with plastic. Place on the fridge and let cool for at least 1 hour.

When it is ready, transfer to a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin and extend to desired width and cut into desired shape.

 

Source: Olga de Trejos. (1989). La cocina práctica. Segunda edición. San José: Editorial Costa Rica.

 

 

Empanadas de Chiverre

Ingredients

Salty Flaky Dough

Chiverre marmalade

yield: 80+

 

Preparation

For the empanadas, roll out the dough to 1/6″ (4mm), or 1/16” (2mm) thick. Use a round cutter; we use a 2-5/8 inch (7cm) diameter, but that is rather small; a good size would be 3¼-inch (8cm). Place the filling in the center, fold in half and close with a fork (press around the edge). Bake at 300ºF for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Proceso Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet

[Updates: Photographs and yield count].

 

 

Pasta para Empanaditas de Chiverre

Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet-2

 

¿Qué tal pasaron la Semana Santa? Espero que todos hayan tenido un tiempo muy agradable con sus familias y/o amigos.

 

Cuando era niña en esta época solíamos ir a acampar en la playa con mi familia paterna; era un tiempo en que compartíamos con todos los primos. Lo que recuerdo bien es que a las 3pm del Viernes Santo todo se detenía; no podíamos ir a nadar, ni jugar, nada; todos debíamos rezar el Rosario.

Ya de adolescente empezamos a quedarnos en casa. Recuerdo una ocasión en particular. Esa vez disfrutamos de sentarnos todos, mi papá incluido, a ver las películas. Nuestra rutina diaria consistía de sentarnos a ver películas y comer empanaditas de chiverre. Cuando estas se terminaban, bajábamos a hacer más y cuando estaban listas, seguíamos con otra película.

Aunque ya no seguimos esa rutina (la programación ha cambiado y las películas son prácticamente las mismas todos los años) todavía disfrutamos de hacer (y comer 😉 ) las tan esperadas empanaditas. Asimismo, ahora participamos de algunas actividades de la Iglesia, como la celebración de la institución del Sacerdocio y la Eucaristía (Jueves) y la Vigilia Pascual (Sábado) y la Misa del Domingo de Resurrección. No asistimos a las procesiones porque no nos gustan las aglomeraciones (aunque creo que la culpa la tienen unos zapatos de charol, el terrible calor de un pueblito y unos piecitos adoloridos de una niñita hace muchísimos años).

Volviendo a las empanaditas, debo admitir que nosotros tenemos una versión semi-hecha en casa. Hay gente valiente que todavía hace todo el proceso de alistar el chiverre, pero esos no somos nosotros; compramos el jarrito de conserva. Por lo que la receta que les comparto es de la pasta; la cual se puede usar para muchos otros rellenos.

Las empanaditas las hacemos pequeñas (así hay más 😀 ) y nunca han durado lo suficiente como para lograr contar a ver cuántas salen. Creo que la próxima vez tomaré nota mientras están en el horno. [Actualización: las hice de nuevo y conté aproximadamente 85 con cortador de 7cm diámetro y grosor de pasta de 2mm]

 

¡Que las disfruten!

 

Pasta salada quebradiza

Ingredientes

4 tazas de harina

1 cdta de sal

1 taza de mantequilla (2 barritas)

½ taza de agua tibia

 

Preparación

En un recipiente se cierne la harina, agregar la sal y revolver. Parta la mantequilla en cubitos y pique usando un estribo o un tenedor. Una vez que se haya mezclado todo y tenga una consistencia arenosa, vierta el agua a poquitos. Amase y forme una bola. Separe y aplane en 2 discos, envuélvalos con plástico adhesivo. Coloque la masa en la refrigeradora y deje enfriar, como mínimo 1 hora.

 

Cuando esté lista, saque de la refrigeradora a una superficie enharinada, aplane con el rodillo hasta darle el grosor deseado y corte en forma deseada.

 

Fuente: Olga de Trejos. (1989). La cocina práctica. Segunda edición. San José: Editorial Costa Rica.

 

Empanaditas de Chiverre

Ingredientes

Pasta

Conserva de Chiverre

Rinde: 80+

 

Preparación

Para las empanaditas, use un cortador redondo. Se coloca el relleno en el centro, se doblan a la mitad y se cierran con un tenedor. Se pueden hornear a 300ºF (~150ºC) de 10 a 15 minutos (o hasta que empiecen a dorar). Luego se colocan en una rejilla para enfriar y ¡listo!

Proceso Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet

¿Qué costumbres tienen para esa época? ¿Recuerdan alguna anécdota relacionada con Semana Santa?

 

For the recipe in English, please find it here!