June 25, 2010

6/25: Portugal v Brazil, Chile v Spain, Switzerland v Honduras

We finish out the second week of World Cup Food with an exciting series between our favorite teams in pick and in food as we prepare to head into the knock-out round. On the menu today we're venturing into Paella, the quintessential Spanish dish, done in the style of Chile and Portugal, with Brazilian drinks, a Honduran appetizer and Swiss dessert. 

What's that you say? N. Korea and Cote d'Ivorie also play today? We hadn't noticed.

Chile, with its extensive coastline, is known for its ample variety of seafood from squid, clams, lobsters and eels to the famous Sea Bass. Equally seafaring are the Portuguese who round out the top-five of global fish consumption (or so I read somewhere). Thus, these two countries from opposite ends of the globe unite in a single harmonious dish - the traditional Paella de Mariscos. We're spicing things up a bit with the influence of Portugal's former colonies, using piri piri peppers and ample garlic.
Paella is a slow, social cooking experience that if often enjoyed outside. We've included a traditional Honduran snack to enjoy while salivating over the aromas emanating from the paellera along with the classic Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirinha.

Traditional Brazilian Caipirinha
Prepared in the traditional style - no random fruity spritzes, no blending, no pitchers - just pure cachaça, lime and sugar in a glass. If you've ever wondered what separates an excellent Caipirinha from a mediocre one, chances are the trick was in the sugar. Authenic Caipirinhas are made with real sugarcane, sold in brick from under the name of rapadura (papelón in the Carribbean or panela in Mexico). If you can't find it, you can use turbinado sugar or order online.
Per single drink: 
2 tsp rapadura, shaved
1 lime, cut into wedges
2.5 oz cachaça
Muddle the sugar and limes with a pestle or wooden spoon. Fill the glass with ice, top with cachaça and stir. For an authentic Brazilian toast, look all toasters in the eye, say "saúde!" and drink immediately.
Photo: Flickr Marcio Monteiro

Honduran Baleadas
A simple preparation of black beans and assorted toppings spread across a flour tortilla, the official breakfast/snack/symbol of Honduras is a food you'll find yourself going back to time and time again. Vary toppings from carnitas to guacamole, or top it all off with a fried egg as we prefer to do (we add fried eggs to everything).
Prepare the Honduran Flour Tortillas:
4 C AP flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 T lard 
~1 1/4 C water
Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in the lard, then add 1/4 C of water and begin to knead. Slowly add more water, kneading until the dough is smooth but no longer sticky. Let rest a few minutes then cut into ~10 balls. Roll out the tortillas and cook on a cast iron skillet set to high heat ~1-2 min. until brown spots form. The flat cast iron skillet specifically for tortillas is called a comal and is just the right size each tortilla should be.
Prepare the Frijoles Negros 
Hondurans often cook with red beans but beans of any color will work.
2 lbs dried black beans, rinsed
1 Spanish onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to a whole jalapeño pepper (tastes vary)
Juice of one lime
1/2 C of red wine
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 T cumin
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Boil beans for 5 min., let rest for 1 hr, then drain. Fry the bacon, then add onion, garlic and jalapeño. Add to beans. Add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper as you mash the beans gently in the pan. 
Assemble the Baleada:
Spread black beans across a warm tortilla and add your chosen topping. Traditionally, baleadas are topped with a creme fraiche-like "crema" that can be found at many Central American groceries. 

Paella de Marisco
As in every rice dish, the type and quality of the chose rice greatly effect the dish. Asian rice such as Basmati will not do for paella. In Spain arroz bomba is sold specifically for paella and will absorb the liquid without getting mushy, but as it is difficult to find in the States, I often substitute the Arborio rice used for risotto.
While it is preferable to prepare your own caldo, or stock, any quality broth will do.
If you don't want to run out and buy a paellera, a large cast iron skillet works great and is perfect for cooking outside on the grill. Avoid using a non-stick pan as you want the rice to form the flavorful crust called socarrat. Many Spaniards swear its the best part of the paella - you can express love by offering your share of the crust to your loved one.
1 lb mejillones (mussels), cleaned 
1/2 lb camarónes (prawns), traditionally with heads on
1/2 lb calamares (cuttlefish or squid) 
1/4 lb pulpo (octopus)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Piri Piri pepper, chopped
1 cup grated tomatoes
2 C rice
~4 C fish stock
Few strains of saffron, soaked in 2 T water
1 C dry white wine
Lemon pieces for serving
Bring the stock to a boil then turn down to a simmer.
Prepare the sofritto: Fry the garlic, pepper, onions and chile. Add the tomato and stir. Add the rice and let it stick to the bottom of the pan for a few seconds as it hisses or "sings." Add the wine and absorb. Add the stock, saffron and let simmer 10 min. You may need to add more water or scrap occasionally, but let the rice form some crust at the bottom of the pan. Add the seafood, tucking into the rice and cook ~15 min. until the rice is cooked al dente. Photo: Flickr benjieordonez

HEY! We've seen that cuisine before! Cook the foods of today's competing countries using other recipes: try Portuguese/Brazilian Feijoada with a Korean spin on Cote d'Ivoire's traditional plantains or Korean-spiced Portuguese hens and Honduran Tres Leches Cake with Spanish poached pears. If you didn't get a chance to try our Spanish Fondue with a Chilean Carmenere and Honduran dessert, you must go back to what has been one of our favorite meals of the tournament. As we get deeper into the tournament, it's time to bring out the leftovers, mix & match, and let the fusion menus run wild like a frenzied North Korean defense.

Prefer to eat out instead? Our Dining Guide tells you where and why.

Spicy World Pure Spanish Saffron 2 grams - Fresh!

Spanish Saffron Acrylic Box (3 pack)

Paella Seasoning Sachets with Saffron

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