Pabellón Criollo (Carne Mechada)

When I was a kid, my family moved to Caracas, Venezuela. It was quite an experience, living three years of my youth in a foreign country. I learned the language, absorbed some of the culture, and acquired a taste for the food!

Now, as an adult, one of our favorite meals to make is pabellón criollo—the Venezuelan national dish!

I don’t always make the full meal, in fact, I almost never include the platanos [plantains]. (That’s just a personal preference.) But even when we just make parts, it’s fantastic! I will post each part of the meal separately here, starting with the recipe I use for the carne mechada [shredded beef].

(Note: I found this recipe posted to an internet forum several years ago now. I translated it, and of course, I modify it slightly every now and then. Usually we use a bit more meat (3lbs or so), and roughly double the rest of the ingredients. I also usually add a teaspoon and a half of Adobo once I add the meat to the vegetables.)

Carne Mechada:
1/2 kilo (about a pound) Flank Steak (any beef for roasting will do)
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Pepper (Green and/or Red) finely chopped
2 sticks of Celery, chopped
1 Bunch of Cilantro – finely chopped
1 Can of Stewed Tomatoes
Garlic, Salt & Beef Bullion if you want

Place the meat crockpot with about a cup of water, medium onion, and a little salt. I add adobo and olive oil as well. Cook on low for many hours until tender, pulls apart easily.

Turn crockpot off, remove the meat and let it cool so you can shred it with your hands. Do not dispose of the liquid.

In a large pot, put just enough oil to cover the bottom. Heat up the oil and begin sauteing the garlic, onions, cilantro, pepper(s), and celery. Let it cook till all smells great, but do not burn the onion and garlic. After these have simmered for a bit, add the tomatoes and simmer a bit longer. Add the shredded meat and let it simmer a while longer. Now add the beef bullion, and the liquid from the crockpot. You can add a couple cups of water as well.

Stir this up and let it simmer for as long as you can, as this will let the flavors cook together. Making it delicious!

Serve when ready with rice, black beans, and arepas y platanos if you can. (More ideas for those to come!)

¡Buen provecho!

Lomitos (de Argentina)

Today’s “recipe” is more of a “how to.” Lomitos are a sandwich that is common in Argentina. We have a friend from there who has familiarized us with some of the cultural favorites of her country, and this is one of the Campbell family favorites! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Sirloin Tip Steak (sliced very thin)
Deli-sliced ham
Eggs (optional)
Lettuce
Tomato
Mayonnaise
Bread

Cut the steak into pieces that will fit well onto whatever bread you are using. In frying pans, brown the steak and the ham in a tiny bit of olive oil. If you’re going to add an egg to the sandwich, you’ll want to have it cooking as well (in a separate pan or the same one). Cook the egg as you’d like (just not scrambled…) :-)

Once the meats and egg are ready, assemble the sandwich. Mayonnaise on both slices of bread, then steak, ham, egg, lettuce, tomato. It’s that easy, and it’s delicious!

Enjoy! Buen provecho!

Lemon Crackers (But they’re really cookies…)

When I was a kid, my Mom would make these puffy, soft, delicious treats every once in a while, and we loved them!  I eventually found out that they were a recipe passed down through my Mom’s maternal side of the family from some distant Welsh relative.  (Her mom, and her grandma used to make them, and so on.)  Since the recipe is so old, there are some interesting ingredients in the list below.  I’ve included a couple links to purchase the non-standard items at Amazon.com, if that helps.  Enjoy this old family recipe!

Lemon Crackers
1 Tbps Bakers Ammonia*
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Shortening
1 1/2 Cup sugar
1 Egg
1 Tbps Lemon Oil*
5 Cups flour

Mix ammonia and milk together.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Slowly add flour.  Mix.

Roll out dough till about 1/4” thick and cut out shapes (the top of a glass will work).  Place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes.

Goes great with a nice cup of tea!


* Baker’s Ammonia is not very commonly used any more and so is slightly difficult to find. I did find some at Amazon.com, for a decent price. Lemon Oil is also not that easy to find, but I’ve included a link here below as well.

Cincinnati Style Chili (Skyline Chili!)

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp chili powder

1/2  tsp pepper

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1-1/2 tsp allspice

1/2  tsp garlic salt

2 dashes Worcestershire  sauce

1 6 oz can tomato paste

Corn Starch

Dissolve beef in 10 cups cold water. Once I get it started with a spoon, I use a hand mixer to get the meat as fine as possible.  Add rest of ingredients.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Thicken with corn starch.  Serve over spaghetti noodles.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Eat some more.  Enjoy some more.

I often make at least a double batch. For 3 pounds of beef, I often double the spices.  (And add some water.)  For 5 lbs of beef I triple all the spices, but only use 12 oz of tomato paste.