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.
- 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
- 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.)
- Remove meat and onions and allow to cool.
- In a food processor (or a bowl) add tortilla dough and a couple cups of water. Blend until there are no lumps.
- 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.
- Shred the meat with a couple of forks or your hands and add to the stew as it is thickening.
- 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.