Friday, March 23, 2012

RECIPE - Bolivian "Rice" (Arroz Boliviano)

Call it the "blame-it-on-the-neighbors" school of recipe naming. It seems that in many cultures a hotchpotch recipe, in which a motley of ingredients are tossed together, heated and served, is often characterized as coming from a neighboring country, even if that country has nothing to do with the dish. A childhood friend's less-than-gourmet Canadian mother often dished up something that she called "American Chop Suey", a casserole that combined low-grade ground beef, elbow macaroni, chopped onions and green peppers and undiluted Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup. (She was a lovely and warm-hearted woman, just not a great cook). In French-speaking parts of Canada, the dish called Shepherd's Pie is knwon as Pâté chinois, (Chinese Pâté in English.)

The Brazilians aren't blameless in this regard. They have a very similar naming tradition and have been known to take the name of neighboring countries in vain when choosing names for Brazilian dishes. This habit seems particularly strong, naturally, in parts of Brazil which border other South American countries. In an earlier post on Flavors of Brazil, we highlighted a dish from the Brazilian border state of Mato Grosso do Sul called Sopa Paraguaya, which is neither a soup nor Paraguayan.

This dish, called Arroz Boliviano in Portuguese, is from the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, which unsurprisingly has a long frontier with Bolivia. Although Sopa Paraguaya isn't a soup, Arroz Boliviano at least does include rice. It does, however, also include many, many other things. The list of ingredients includes ground beef, plantains, hard-boiled eggs, Parmesan cheese and french fries. With the exception of plantains, none of those ingredients are commonly associated with Bolivian cooking. It appears that this dish is just one more exemplar of the "blame-it-on-the-neighbors" school.
RECIPE - Bolivian "Rice" (Arroz Boliviano)
Serves 8

3 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
1 lb (400 gr) ground beef
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
salt to taste
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup fresh or frozen greeen peas
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/4 chopped green onion, green part only
6 cups cooked long-grain white rice
2 ripe plantains, peeled sliced into rounds, and fried in butter until soft
1 cup fresh or frozen french-fried potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, then add the onion, garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up the beef, until the beef has lost all pinkness and the onion is transparent. Season for salt. Mix in the tomato paste, the peas and corn. Remove from the heat, then stir in the green onion. Reserve.

In a glass, ceramic or metal rectangular casserole spread out the rice in a layer. Spread the ground beef mixture over. Top with the banana rounds, the french fries and the slices of egg. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over all. Put in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the cheese has nicely browned and everything is heated through. Serve immediately.

No comments:

Post a Comment