Category Archives: Oranges

Indio Viejo- “The Old Indian”


Since becoming a food blogger, I have managed to net some pretty sweet gigs. In one of those gigs, I am acting as a guest chef trying regional food recipes for an international resort operating out of Costa Rica and Nicaragua then blogging about it. Although I have yet to get the privilege of venturing to either of those lands, I feel as if I am starting to know them, at least from a culinary perspective, as a result of my projects.

The history of the Nicaraguan culinary art dates back to the pre-Colombian times, as do the names of their most well known plates. Back then, during colonial times, the peculiar, creative, and varied Creole menu was the result of the union of these two races. Rich with multi-cultural heritage, the regional cuisine, ranging from soups and meats to a diversity of sweets, is well known for the vast selection of interesting ingredients which are used.

Indio Viejo is a meat dish prepared with onions, garlic, sweet pepper and tomato. In addition, some tortillas are put into water and then ground until they form dough. The meat is shredded and then fried with vegetables, the dough, and orange juice. When combined, the dish turns into this hearty and interesting stew.

Nicaragua's Indio Viejo literally means "Old Indian", a soup-like dish with vegetables and ground corn, which Nicaraguans traditionally cook for Holy Week.

Indio Viejo

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 pounds of beef (such as flank or skirt steak)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 tsp achiote paste
  • 1 bunch (about a cup) of fresh mint, minced
  • juice of 3-4 sour oranges (substitute juice of 2 oranges and 3 limes)
  • 1 cup tortilla dough
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Add one of the onions to a preheated saucepan and saute until soft. Add the meat, orange juice, and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender (about two hours.)
  2. Remove meat and onions and allow to cool.
  3. In a food processor (or a bowl) add tortilla dough and a couple cups of water. Blend until there are no lumps.
  4. Add tomatoes, onion, peppers, achiote paste, and tortilla dough mixture to the simmering broth. The tortilla dough should thicken the broth significantly. Keep stirring to prevent lumps from forming.
  5. Shred the meat with a couple of forks or your hands and add to the stew as it is thickening.
  6. Just before you are ready to serve, stir in the mint and the rest of the juice.

Serve with a sprig of mint and fresh tortillas.

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Filed under beef, Meat Dishes, Mint, Oranges, stews, Tomato

Not for the Faint-of-Heart…


Life, it can pass you by in a whir if you let it. We rush through our day-to-day, many times, without giving things as much as a second thought. Nowhere is this more evident than during our mealtimes. It seems as if our whole world is geared towards a “make it fast, spit it out of a box” mentality.

This is precisely why I like to occasionally pull out the Big Guns and prepare a full blown, 5-star meal that will knock the socks off everyone. We are not necessarily talking about a 5 or 6 course  coup d’état. I do set my sights to make something impressive enough to make guests want to wonder into my kitchen to see if a star chef from the Food Network has stepped in to take my place.

By-passing those short for time and not for the faint-of-heart, Here are the mixings and makings of just such a meal. Taking inspiration from the early spring offerings at our market and my love for duck, here is what I managed to stir up!

Chinese 5 Spice Duck with Orange-Brandy Sauce

*A quick soak in an orange juice brine infuses the duck with lots of flavor.

For the Duck:

2-4 Maple Leaf  Farms boneless duck breast

2 cups fresh navel or Valencia orange juice

2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. Chinese 5 Spice

Kosher salt

For the Sauce:

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 medium shallot, minced

2 Tbs. brandy

1 cup fresh navel or Valencia orange juice

½ cup chicken stock

1 navel or Valencia orange, cut segments into thirds.

1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

BRINE THE DUCK

Combine the orange juice, zest, 6 Tbs. Salt, and 4 cups water in a large bowl or pot; stir to dissolve the salt. Add the duck breasts and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

COOK THE DUCK

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400° F.

Remove the duck from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Lightly rub the duck breasts with olive oil, just enough to allow them to coat with Chinese 5 spice. Sprinkle the 5 Spice over duck breasts then rub them to evenly coat.

Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a 12-inch oven proof skillet over medium heat. I love my All-Clad D5 non-stick grilling pan for searing off meat in this manner! Add the duck breast and sear about 4 minutes to each side, turning only once.

Place the pan in the oven and roast until an instant thermometer registers 165º F in the center for rare duck or 165°F for a more well done breast. Cook time should be around 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a carving board, tent with foil, and let the duck rest while you prepare the sauce.

MAKE THE SAUCE

Pour the juices from the skillet into a heatproof measuring cup. Let the fat rise to the surface and then spoon it off.

Melt 2 Tbs. of butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Off the heat, add the brandy. Return the pan to heat and cook, scraping the pan, until the brandy is almost evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Increase the heat to high and add the orange juice. Boil until thick and syrupy, and reduced to about 1/3 cup. About 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, pan juices and any juices left hanging around on the cutting board. Boil until reduced to about ¾ cup, about 3 minutes.

Swirl in the orange segments. Then, off the heat, swirl in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and parsley until the butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and a few grinds of pepper.

To serve, cut the duck on diagonal into thin slices and arrange each on a bed of coriander carrot purée. Drizzle with the sauce.

 * Try this as a side:

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter Sauce and Radish Tops

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Filed under Duck, Meat Dishes, Oranges, sauces