Friday, 13 June 2014

Bandeja Paisa - WCFC2014 : Colombia

Aaaaaand they're off. Oh, wait, that's horse racing isn't it? Well, the World Cup is under way and love it or loath it, you can't escape from it. My plan is to lock myself in the kitchen and cook so much food I can't even see a telly, much less a football match.  But there's a challenge to be undertaken that is football related, and I shall rise to it...

First out of the hat is Colombia.  I know nothing about the prowess of Colombia's football team, so here are some facts to distract you from my shocking lack of soccer knowledge (and why I suck at the sports rounds in all pub quizzes, although these facts may aid you should your pub quiz have a round about Colombia in it...)

1. Colombia is where 95% of the world's emeralds are mined
2. Women were first allowed to vote in Colombia in 1957
3. Colombia's national animal is the majestic Condor.

First port of call for me when I'm researching a country's cuisine is to find out what it's national dish is, closely followed by what gross or weird ingredients do they cook with.  In Colombia's case, the national dish is Bandeja Paisa, which, rather brilliantly is basically a huge fry-up, so that's the first dish I cooked in the World Cup Food Challenge.

Much like the English fry-up, there seems to be a few opinions in what goes in a good Bandeja Paisa, so I picked a few components that seemed to go together.  Other things you could add are steak, arepa (Colombian Cornbread) or black pudding.   The main philosophy of a good Bandeja Paisa seems to be More is better so if you're trying it at home, pile as much on the plate as is humanly possible (I didn't for the pictures because I don't want you all to think I'm a fatty, but as soon as I'd finished snapping, I doubled the quantity that you see here...)

Carne en Polvo - Powdered Beef

450g Braising Steak
5 Spring Onions
1tsp Cumin
Salt and Pepper

Cut the steak into cubes and rub with the cumin, salt and plenty of black pepper, finely cut your onions and then put everything in the fridge to marinade for 30 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and put in a pan, then cover with water.  Bring the pan to the boil and simmer for 45 minute to an hour, until the meat is cooked and starting to break up.  Remove from the heat, take the meat out of the liquid and leave to dry and cool thoroughly

Once it is dry and cold, put the meat in a food blender and process until it's a fine, powdery consistency.

Chicharron - Fried Pork

300g Belly Pork Slices
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Salt

Rub the pork slices in the salt and baking powder, and then fry gently for 10-15 minutes, until its golden and crispy on the outside

Frijoles Paisas _ Colombian Style Beans

200g Dried Pinto Beans
1 Large Onion
50g Bacon
3 Cloves Garlic
1tsp Cumin
1tsp Salt
1tsp Baking Soda

Soak the Pinto Beans overnight (or use tinned if you are totally lazy) in water with the baking soda to help the beans soften

Drain the beans and rinse, then add to a pan with some water, the bacon, cumin, chopped onion and carrot garlic and salt.  Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes, until the beans are softened and cooked through.  Drain if some of the liquid if you don't like it too runny and then serve


1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
5 Spring Onions
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp White Vinegar 
1 Tsp Cumin
Salt and Pepper

Chop the onion and fry gently. Add the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and cumin, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste

Serve the meal with Fried Plantains, Chorizo Sausage, white rice, avocado and a fried egg.  Enjoy!  This meal also works well as a breakfast to chase away a hangover caused my drinking too much during a game, or drinking too much trying to avoid a game...

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