Sunday, August 1, 2010

El Baho, A Nicaraguan Delight

Ok so as promised I will pass along a recipe for Baho, a delicious Nicaraguan dish that consists of marinated beef, plantains, and yuca (see my exotic fruits and vegetables of Costa Rica post) wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked over steam or in a pressure cooker. You can use a pressure cooker because it’s faster. If you’re looking for something quick to cook, Baho is not the dish; that is why it’s mainly reserved for special occasions or Sundays.

 Typically, Baho is started on Saturday or the day before a holiday by marinating the meat. The remaining ingredients are then added and it is cooked on Sunday.

The following recipe serve about 8-10 people. To begin, here is a list of the ingredients:

 4 pounds of beef brisket cut into chunks, strips or cubes.

 3 medium tomatoes chopped, some prefer no seeds but that’s way to much work for me.

 Removed the seeds from 2 green bell peppers and thinly slice them. Chopped is ok too.

 3 medium onions peeled and thinly sliced.

 8-10 cloves of finely chopped garlic, the finer it is chopped the more flavor will be released.

 1 cup of Orange juice. (fresh preferred).

 1 cup of lime juice or you can cut 2 limes in half and squeeze the juice into the marinade.

 4 Tablespoons of salt.

 4 green plantains peeled and halved. The peel can also be left on but the plantains must still be halved and slit to avoid exploding.

 2 pounds of yuca root (can be found at an Asian market or if not, potatoes can be substituted).

 3 or 4 banana leaves

Ok, so now here’s how you do it:

1. Find a large bowl either stainless or glass (do not use plastic), mix the beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, and salt. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. **Caution, do not look at it as it will cause premature hunger pangs**

2. Using a large stock pot (really large 5 gallon) put about 4 inches of water in the bottom and then place a rack in the pot to hold the ingredients up out of the water. You can also halve this recipe and use a pressure cooker. Put a plate on top of the rack to help support the ingredients.

3. Take the banana leaves and heat them over a hot stovetop burner or I suppose then could be heated on a gas BBQ grill. Doing this makes them pliable; otherwise they will break when you try to put them in the pot. We don’t want this to happen.

Heating the Leaves

4. Once the banana leaves are pliable, line the pot with them leaving no openings. This is what will hold the ingredients and keep them from leaking into the water.

5. After the pot is lined with banana leaves, layer the plantains on top of the leaves. Then, remove the meat from the marinade and layer it on top of the plantains. Then place a layer of yuca or potatoes on top of the meat. Then, pour the marinade mixture over the yuca.

Ready to Cook

6. Fold the protruding banana leaves over the ingredients covering them completely and put the cover on the pot.

7. Bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat, reduce to medium heat and simmer for four hours. The pressure cooker method takes about 2 hours.

Ready to Serve

8. Serve and enjoy!

The baho I enjoyed was cooked in a pressure cooker, however,  I personally am afraid of pressure cookers so I prefer to use the large pot and besides, I can make more that way.  All of the ingredients were purchased at the local Farmer’s Market and butcher shop. So with that said, I urge you to go out and support your locals Farmer’s Markets. As part of a service, I will begin linking to various markets from around the country so if you would like to let me know of any links please drop me a line, I’ll be happy to post these. Oh, before I sign off there is one more thing…there may be a Baho dinner and my house, sometime soon…..followers invited. Until the next time, Happy Gardening.

Nicaraguan Cooking: My Grandmother's Recipes

Cooking The Central American Way: Culturally Authentic Foods, Including Low-Fat And Vegetatian Recipes

1 comment:

  1. you didn't say anything about the history of baho