Feasting on Ecuadorian Horneado de Chancho


Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I would make a special dish that is the Ecuadorian equivalent to the American turkey—hornado de chancho. This incredibly succulent pork dish takes days of tender loving care to prepare.  Hornado de chancho means “roasted pig” and you can find them in most of the picanterías, or markets in the mountainous parts of Ecuador. This pork dish is traditionally made by marinating the pork in chicha, a fermented corn drink, for several days and then baking the pork in a wood burning clay oven.  Chica was originally the prized commodity of the Incas and still often used by the inhabitants of the Central Andes. If I was home in San Antonio, I would use my Dad’s green egg to roast the pork. This recipe is great for a special occasion where you will be serving many people.


            There are many different ways to make this recipe your own. Some people will add panela (unrefined whole cane sugar), cinnamon and even peppers or ají rojo.  Traditionally it is served with a potato pattie called llapingachos and pickeled onions with tomato, cilantro and chica de jora. Some other common preferences are  mote (hominy corn), fried plantains, avocado, curtido, and agrio. If you want to spice it up a bit, serve if with aji criollo on the side. If you add whole potatoes during the last hour of roasting, the potatoes cooked in the hornado sauce and make the most heavenyl baked potatoes ever. If you run into the problem of too small of a roasting pan to include the potatoes, just remove the pork after it is finished and add the potatoes in the leftover juices. Add the potatoes in and continue to roast will the pork cools.



  • 7 pounds pork shoulder

  • 12 oz. beer (as substitute to the chicha )

  • 3-4 sprigs of scallion (green onion)

  • 1 garlic bulb (approximately 12 cloves)

  • 1 bitter orange (or 1 large Meyer lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons achiote/annatto

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • Clean the pork shoulder with water, dry well and place into a roasting pan that fits in your refrigerator.


  • With a whisk or blender prepare a marinade with all the ingredients except the beer.


  • Then “bath” the pork shoulder in the marinade. Make some incisions with a knife to make sure you season it thoroughly—even underneath the skin.


  • Pour the beer over the pork and continue massaging it (I told you it needed some TLC!) to make sure beer and marinade cover every side of it. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate skin side up until the next day.


  • Pre heat oven to 325°F and bake until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Pork generally takes about half hour per pound to cook, but since you will be cooking it at low temperature, it may take longer. Using a big spoon make sure to baste the meat with the fat juice in the bottom of the tray at least 2-3 times during cooking time.


 Here’s a true Ecuadorian preparing this wonderful feast–check it out!

what I’m cooking to tonight:







Guyanese Cuisine: Savory Beef Curry with Roti


Guyanese cuisine is an amazing combination of the flavors of the Caribbean and South America. The name Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning “Land of Many Waters”. It’s not only a land of many waters, but also of many tastes.  Guyana’s cuisine is very similar to Caribbean cooking and incorporates African, Creole and East Indian traditions. Some popular ingredients in Guyanese cooking are cassava root, sweet potatoes, okra, fruit, vegetables, sorrel, and ginger beer. Today we will be cooking Beef curry with roti. Roti is a traditional Guyanese flatbread that is a staple of Guyanese cuisine. It is usually served with curries and main dishes to use as a utensil to scoop up the food.


Ingredients for Beef Curry 

  • Beef Curry

  • 2 ½ lbs chuck roast cut into 1 inch pieces*

  • 2 tbsp green seasoning

  • 1 tsp curry powder

  • 1 lb pumpkin, chopped

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • 1 beef bouillon

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tbsp canola oil

  • Curry Paste

  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp curry powder

  • ½ tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp finely crushed ginger

  • ½ tsp garam masala

  • 2 tsp green seasoning

  • 3 tbsp water

Tip: If you don’t have the green seasoning, simply use 1 scallion chopped, a pimento pepper if you have access to one, 1 table spoon thyme, 1 table spoon celery chopped fine, 2 tablespoons cilantro.

Tip: Chuck roast tends to have a lot of fat which you will need to trim but don’t trim all of it. I included a picture of the meat to show how much fat to leave on the meat. Fat equals flavor and it really adds quite a bit of flavor to the curry.

Instructions for Beef Curry

  1. Place beef, green seasoning, salt and 1 tsp curry powder in a large bowl and mix to coat. Set aside and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours.


  2. To make the curry paste, in a small bowl mix all ingredients until well combined. In a large stew pot over medium fire, add canola oil. When the oil is hot, add curry paste and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

    garam massala

  3. Next add seasoned meat and onion; stir to coat with the curry paste then allow to cook for 15 minutes stirring a few times. Add bouillon, bay leaf and enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover and cook for 1 hour or until tender. I highly recommend using a pressure cooker to cook the beef. If using a pressure, cook for 10 minutes once the pressure starts to whistle.


  4. When the beef is tender, add pumpkin and cook for 15 minutes until pumpkin is tender but not mushy. Once pumpkin is tender remove from the heat and garnish with chopped scallion.


Ingredients for Roti

  • 4 cups flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 1/2 oz ghee, margarine or butter

  • Water (enough to make a soft, pliable, but not sticky dough)

Instructions for Roti

  1. Mix flour and baking powder. Add enough water to form a smooth, soft dough.

  2. Kneed well and leave half covered with a damp dish cloth

  3. Knead for a second time and divide into four balls.

    roti 1

  4. Flour a surface and roll out dough to 8-9 -inch disks, then spread with ghee and sprinkle with flour.

    roti 2

  5. Cut the flattened dough from the center the edge, roll tightly into a cone shape, press peak into the center of the cone, then flatten.

    roti 3
    roti 4

  6. Leave again for 30 minutes. Sprinkle flour on the board and roll out very thin with a rolling pin.

  7. Bake on moderately hot baking iron (tawah), coating dough with oil on both sides as it cooks.  I do not own a Tawah — a flat, cast iron griddle with no sides, so I used a regular frying pan

    roti 5

  8. Turn on both sides and cook for about 1 minute on each side.

  9. Remove roti from baking iron and clap between both hands for about 15 seconds, while it’s still hot until it is soft and flaky.

    roti 6


Here’s a video to demonstrate how to make the roti if you’re having difficulty with it!

tonight I’m listening to…






Uruguay’s Sumptuous Staple: The Chivito

Uruguay’s Sumptuous Staple: The Chivito

The chivito is the national sandwich of Uruguay and it not only has a memorable taste, but also a memorable story behind it. The story goes that a little argentine lady walked into a cafe in Punta del Este, Uruguay and asked the great chef, Antonio Carbonada to make her a sandwich. But not just any sandwich–she specifically asked for a sandwich made with chivito, or grilled baby goat, because she was missing home.  Carbonada was in a bind because he didn’t have any chivito on hand, so he had to compromise and voilà! The chivito was born.

This little sandwich is now the face of Uruguayan cuisine and is considered comparable to Philadelphia’s Philly cheesesteak or the Reuban.  It’s served almost on every street corner in Uruguay and has even spread to Argentina, where it’s known as lomito. The Canadian Chivito is a variation of the sandwich, with the addition of canadian bacon. 

The star ingredient is a slice of churrasco, which is topped with slices of ham, bacon, lettuce,  tomato, melted mozzarella cheese. Some other particular ingredients are boiled egg, and salsa golf–a mixture of ketchup and mayo that is common in Argentina and Uruguay. Other ingredients might be added into the sandwich such as red beets, peas, grilled or red peppers, and slices of cucumber. Oftentimes, the chivito is enjoyed with a side of french fries. 


1 soft white sandwich bun (ciabatta, kaiser, or Portuguese bun)

Salsa golf (a mixture of tomato sauce and mayonnaise)lettuce

3 strips pancetta

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

Thinly sliced onions1 thinly sliced filet steak

4 slices smoked ham

2 slices bacon

2 Tomato slices

1 hard-boiled egg, halved

mozzarella cheese


Step 1

 lightly pound the filet steak to a 1/4-inch thickness and season with coarse salt and set aside.


Step 2

Roast and skin the bell pepper lightly toast the two halves of bread and then on the lower half spread a  dollop of the salsa golf, top with lettuce and strips of bell pepper. 


Step 3

In a wide cast-iron pan or ridged grill pan over medium high heat, cook pancetta until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Wipe away excess fat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred and softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.


Step 4

In the same pan, toss on your steak and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes – depending on your cut and personal preference.

images (1)

Step 5

When cooked to your liking, layer the ham, bacon and onion mix, tomatoes, sliced boiled egg and cheese on top of the meat. Cover with a lid for the remaining cooking time (roughly another minute) to allow the cheese to melt.


Step 6

Carefully remove from the griddle pan and assemble your sandwich. Press down lightly. 

*Another option is to cook the steak alone and then build up the layers on the bread. Place the completed sandwich – without the top – under the broiler until the cheese melts to your satisfaction.


listening to os mutantes, A Minha Menina while cooking tonight! 



Heating up the Kitchen with Bolivian Picante de Pollo


In the heart of South America, Bolivia has a wide variety of customs, traditions, and food. In fact, each region of Bolivia varies from one another. Therefore, there really isn’t typical Bolivian dishes that are considered traditional for the whole country.  Bolivian food was mainly influenced by the Spanish and Incan cultures, but was also greatly impacted by the cuisines of Germany, Italy, Russia, as well as some middle eastern countries. The recipe we will be delving into today is Picante de Pollo, or chicken with spicy sauce.

Ingredients for Picante de Pollo:

8 chicken legs with thighs

12 dry yellow peppers

2 cups of water

3 large red onions diced really small

4 cups of chicken broth

1 garlic clove

1 tsp cumin

¼ cup Oil


– Remove the stems from the dry yellow peppers.

– bring water to a rolling boil and place the peppers in the boiling water.  let them boil until you see the skins of the peppers getting loose (approximately 30 minutes.)

*tip: we remove the skin of the peppers because they are hard to grind and cook otherwise


-remove the peppers from the hot water and submerge them in cold water. Remove the skin and seeds from the peppers.

*tip: use gloves so that the acidity of the peppers doesn’t bother your skin

– blend the peppers with 2 cups of water until very smooth (for about 2 min)  and set aside.


– mince the onion and put  in a large pot to cook for about 5 min. Add 2 tbsp of salt and cook until the salt is full absorbed. Add the oil and let simmer until the oil is absorbed.

*tip: the onion is what makes the sauce thick, so the more you mince the onion, the better


– add 4 cups of chicken broth or water to the pan. Let  cook for about 10 minutes and add the yellow pepper sauce.

-grind the garlic with the cumin in a morter until it is very smooth. If you don’t have a morter, mince the garlic as small as you can and add cumin to it.


– combine the mixture with the onion and yellow pepper sauce. Let it cook for about 15 min  until the onion is well cooked and soft.

*tip: When the onion starts sticking  to the bottom of the pan, it is ready.

– Add the chicken, and reduce the heat to low. Let it cook for around 20 min  until the chicken is tender, stirring from time to time to inhibit the chicken from burning on the bottom.

add chicken

check out this video of the instructions in spanish:


Ingredients for Rice:

1 1/2 cups rice

1 garlic clove

2 tbs of oil

3 cups of water.

1 tbs salt

Instructions for Rice:

– Heat a frying pan and add the rice, minced garlic, and the oil.

– Pan fry until the rice turns dark white. Move rice constantly.

– Boil water and cook the rice in a normal fashion.

In a deep dish, serve the rice with the chicken on top. Oftentimes, picante de pollo is enjoyed with chuño and salsa. ¡Disfrutenlo!



listening to Trio Mocóto, Os Orixás  while cooking tonight!






Chewin’ on Chilean Pastel de Choclo


Pastel de Choclo, or “corn pie” in spanish, is a mix of spanish empanadas and andean humitas.  It is a prime example of mestizo cooking, also known as cocina criolla Chilean (chilean creole cuisine). This dish emerged in the late 19th century, shortly after Chile gained its independence from Spain. It balances the native influences of corn with the european influences of the meat filling, also known as pino.

pastel de choclo

This recipe has some special recommendations. First off, you will need 12 individual baking containers for this dish–traditional clay dish is preferred (shown below), but if unavailable, use single serving ramekins.  Also, fresh corn from America is completely different than the corn in Chile. The corn chileans use is short, fat, and yellow corn that is very creamy. A solution to this problem is to grate the corn to achieve the desired texture or to mix fresh corn with a can of creamed corn; however stay away from canned vegetables if possible! The taste of fresh corn dramatically enhances the dish.

clay dish

serving size: 12

cook time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients for the Pastel: 

  • 12 Large corn on the cob

  • 4 broiled chicken breasts (no skin, cut into 12 pieces)

  • 1 liter of whole milk

  • 4 large basil leaves

  • 4 hardboiled eggs cut into slices

  • 2 Tbs of salted butter

  • 1 Tbs of vegatable Oil

  • 1 ½ tsp of salt

  • 3 Tbs of Sugar

Ingredients for the Pino (meat filling):

  • 4 lbs ground beef

  • 4 large onions minced

  • 24 black olives

  • 3 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 1/2 cups of raisins

  • 3 tbs oil

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 tsp. chili powder

  • 1 tsp. oregano

  • 1 tsp. paprika

watch this video to get an idea of the cooking process!

Instructions for the pastel

  • Husk the corn, cut the corn off the cob, and blend

  • Mix the butter and the vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat

  • Pour  the blended corn paste into the pot, constantly stirring

  • As it thickens, slowly pour in the milk,  salt, sugar, and the finely chopped basil

  • cook until thickened, remove from heat and put aside  to use as the top layer of the pastel

Instructions for the Pino: 

  • Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and add the onions. Fry until onions become translucent

  • Add the spices and salt, and cook for a couple of more minutes

  • Add the Raisins and cook for two minutes

  • Add the meat and fry until the ground beef is browned

Assembling the Pastel de Choclo:

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F

  • Oil your individual clay bakers

  • Fill half way with pino

  • Add two slices of egg, a piece of chicken, and a few olives

  • Top with the corn filling to just below the top

  • Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar

  • Put into preheated oven and bake until the top becomes golden brown and hard (about 25 minutes)

  • make sure to let them sit for 10 minutes before serving so as to let them cool off



final pastel_de_choclo_2

set the mood for your chilean feast and listen to chilean pop singer Prince Royce, Darte un Beso, while cooking tonight!






A Taste of Venezuela: Arepas with Pulled Pork, Avocado Chimicurri, and Tajadas

A Taste of Venezuela: Arepas with Pulled Pork, Avocado Chimicurri, and Tajadas

This recipe is influenced by the bold flavors of Venezuela, combining fluffy arepas with savory pulled pork that is accented by the caramelized sweetness of the tajadas and the fresh kick of the avocado chimichurri sauce. You will definitely put some tender loving care into this meal, but it is guaranteed to delight. Arepas are common in both the Colombian and Venezuelan cultures; however in Venezuela, arepas tend to be thicker in order to stuff with cheese, meat, or anything else that is scrumptious. Today we are making a sort of sandwich with the pulled pork, topped with the tajadas, avocado chimichurri, and queso fresco. On the side we are serving traditional Venezuelan black beans to compliment all the flavors of the arepas. You will need to begin making both the beans and the pulled pork several hours in advance—I recommend either the night before or the morning of when you plan to have your meal.


Black beans:

  • 16 ounce bag of dried black beans
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsps dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 4 tbsps of butter, melted
  • 1 tsb salt
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Pulled pork:

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), twine or netting removed
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (optional)


  • 1 Ripe/yellow plantain
  • 1 cup vegetable oil—or as needed (for frying)
  • Paper towels

Avocado chimichurri:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cilantro


Black Beans:

  1. Rinse the beans and soak them overnight in water.
  2. Drain the beans, and cover them with fresh water. Add chopped red pepper. Bring the beans to a simmer, and cook them over low heat until they are just tender (about 2 ½ hours.)
  3. cook the onion and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. Add the cumin and the brown sugar to the onions and continue to cook until browned, soft and fragrant.
  5. Once the beans are tender, remove about half of the cooked beans and process them in a blender (or food processor) with the onion mixture. Add the blended bean mixture back to the pot of whole beans. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  6. Continue to cook beans until they are very tender, adding water if necessary or letting excess water boil away, until desired texture is reached.

black beans

Pulled pork:

  1. Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the stock or broth. Combine the sugar, chili powder, measured salt, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork and place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  2. Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the onion mixture from the slow cooker through the strainer and return the solids to the slow cooker. Set the strained liquid aside.
  3. If the pork has a bone, remove and discard it. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce, if using, and mix to combine. If you’re not using barbecue sauce, use a spoon to skim and discard the fat from the surface of the strained cooking liquid, and then add 1/4 cup of the liquid at a time to the slow cooker until the pork is just moistened. Taste and season with salt as needed.

pulled pork 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients well, until smooth. Don’t worry if the mixture appears wet. Let mixture rest for about 5-10 minutes, to give the cornmeal time to absorb some of the liquid.
  3. The dough should be smooth and easy to handle, without sticking to your hands.
  4. Take pieces of the dough and shape them with your hands into round disks, about 2 cm thick, and 3 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. When shaping the arepas, repair any cracks along the edges with your fingers.
  5. Lightly grease the surface of a skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Place the arepas into the skillet in batches. Cook until the arepas are lightly browned on each side.
  6. Place the arepas on a baking sheet when you remove them from the skillet. Place them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes to finish cooking the inside of the arepas without burning them). Serve warm.
    1.  If the dough seems dry, you can add a little bit more water. Knead the dough for several minutes and let rest again for 5 minutes.
    2. If the dough is too wet to handle, add a small amount of cornmeal, knead, and let the dough rest for 5 minutes more.

Makes about 8-10 arepas, depending on size

arepas 3


Tajadas are also known as fried plantains. They are used in a variety of Venezuelan dishes but especially in Pabellón Criollo 

1. Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan and turn on the stove to medium heat, so the oil starts heating up while you prepare the plantains. The oil needs to be significantly hot since we are frying the plantains.
2. Cut the two ends off of the plantain, and then make an incision in the skin of the plantain along the side in order to remove the skin. Cut the plantain in half.
5. Now slice each half of the plantain into 4 slices of about 0.25 – 0.75 inches.   Don’t make them thicker than that.

6. Lay the plantains on the frying pan and begin to fry them until they are golden brown, turning them if necessary, to fry both sides equally. It took me about 2 minutes per side.

7. Remove the tajadas from the pan one by one and lay on top of a paper towel to remove the excess oil.

tajadas 1

Avocado chimichurri: 

1. Add all of the ingredients except for cilantro into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water if you want the sauce to be less creamy.

2. add the cilantro and blend it into the sauce.


Once everything is prepared, fill your arepas with pulled pork, a few slices of tajadas and queso fresco, and finally top with the chimicurri.

¡Buen provecho!


Blazes, Marian, Ms. “Venezuelan Black Beans.” South American Food. About.com, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
Blazes, Marian, Ms. “Venezuelan-style Arepas.” South American Food. About.com, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
Gallary, Christine, Ms. “Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe.” CHOW. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
“Recipe: Venezuelan Tajadas (Fried Plantains).” Web log post. Venezuelan Cooking. N.p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
“The Surly Vegetarian.” Web log post. The Surly Vegetarian. N.p., 12 June 2012. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
photography sources: