Taste of Home: Sancocho

Last night, I cooked Sancocho, a traditional dish from Dominican Republic in Latin America, and I would like to share it with you. The Sancocho I made was a beef stew with yucca, plaintins, butternut squash and corn.

Sancocho

Sancocho is derived from a Spanish stew called cocido, and it has many variations depending on the region in Latin America.

In the Philippines, reflecting our Spanish influence, we also call it Cocido, a hearty stew usually eaten with fish, beef shanks, pork, ham and chorizo. It is often confused with a dish called Pochero, a stew also originally from Spain, which is usually cooked with chicken, beef, and sausages.

Sancocho is one of those dishes that get even better after being re-heated the next day.

Sancocho

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilogram of beef , sliced into bite size
  • 2 pieces of corn, peeled and cut into 1 inch
  • 2 pieces of big sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 5 pieces of green plaintins, peeled and sliced into 1 inch size
  • ½ kilogram of butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 pieces of yucca, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick
  • 1 piece red pepper, chopped
  • 1 piece big onion, sliced
  • 1 kilogram of baby potatoes
  • 1 ball garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 pieces bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons  grilled black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pinches oregano
  • 2 pinches thyme
  • 2 cubes beef stock

Method:

  1. Marinate the beef with soy sauce and ground black pepper for about 20 minutes.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in a large cooking pot. Then sautéed the garlic and onion.
  3. When the onions are soft, put in the beef. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the meat turns white in color.
  4. Add 2 liters of water and beef stock cubes. Bring it a boil. While the stew is boiling, prepare the vegetables.
  5. When the stew starts boiling, lower down the heat to medium. Put in all the vegetables – red bell pepper, butternut squash, sweet potatoes baby potatoes, green bananas, and corn. Let it cook for about 1 hour and 45 minutes or until stock has reduced and meat is tender and vegetables are soft. Keep stirring it regularly (every after 15 minutes). While it is cooking, you would noticed that the pumpkin and sweet potatoes have melted.
  6. Serve stew with sliced avocado, a slice of lime and rice. Share and enjoy!

Taste of Home: Chicken Cordon Bleu

The name Chicken Cordon Bleu, sounds so complicated and difficult but it is a simple dish and easy to make. It is a dish composed of chicken breasts, ham and cheese, where the ham and cheese are stacked on top of the chicken breast and rolled together then dredged in bread crumbs. It can either be fried or baked; personally, I prefer it baked.

My family and I love this dish so much – so traditional and so delicious that my boys just wolf it down.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

In this recipe, I prefer to use Emmental cheese for my cordon bleu because it does not taste too strong. I have also tried with special bacon (not fat) instead of ham, and seems like my family prefer a cordon bleu with bacon because it is tastier than with ham. Overall, the chicken is tender and juicy, and the bacon and Emmental are just epically cordon bleu.

For those who would like to try making cordon bleu, here’s my recipe. Please let me know what you think of it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pieces of boneless chicken breast.
  • 6 slices of pepper ham or 3 strips of bacon (not fat), slightly cooked and halves
  • 3 slices of Emmental cheese
  • 1 raw egg
  • 4 spoonful of melted salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • mustard
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • about ¼ teaspoon salt

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Methods:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Step 2: Prepare the butter-salt mixture.

  • Melt the butter. Once it is melted put it in a small bowl. Then add a pinch of salt, according to your taste. Mix it well.

Step 3: Prepare the egg mixture.

  • Crack and beat the egg in another pie plate. Add some mustard and a wee bit of salt according to your desired taste. Then set aside.

Step 4: Prepare the bread crumbs.

  • In a separate shallow dish, place the bread crumbs. Add a wee bit of salt. Mix thoroughly.

Step 5: Prepare the chicken.

  • Remove the tendon or tendon line and fat.
  • From the thick part of the chicken breast, cut it along the length.
  • Make sure the chicken is flat and the thickness is even so that it is easy to roll.

Step 6: Putting together

  • Brush the top with butter–salt mixture.
  • Sprinkle some ground black pepper.
  • Top the chicken breast with ham slices.
  • Put a slice of Emmental cheese on top of the ham.
  • Tightly roll the chicken breast from one end to the other end. Close the end of the chicken breast with a toothpick so that it will not roll back.
  • If there is still some butter-salt mixture left, combine it with the egg-butter-salt mixture. Whisk thoroughly.
  • Dip the chicken breasts in the egg-butter-salt mixture.
  • Coat with bread crumbs.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  • Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven.

Step 7: Slice, serve, share and enjoy!

Taste of Home: Beef Lasagna

Lasagna is a rich Italian food that has captivated the hearts and taste buds of everyone in the world. It is made with alternate layers of pasta, garniture, Béchamel / White sauce, and cheese.

Beef Lasagna

In fact, Lasagna is one of the family’s favorite food, and everyone loves it!

It has everything – pasta, cheese, meat, veges. It is frickin’ awesome. It is divine. It looks good, tastes good, and can be made in so many different ways. It is also filling and smells like heaven when it is being cooked. It’s delicious and nutritious, and even better on the second day.

I tried to learn how to make lasagna from making pasta to putting all the ingredients together from Alan. At first, I thought it was so complicated, but when I tried it, I realized that it’s just easy although it takes a little practice and be familiar with the ingredients. I was very pleased and proud that I successfully make lasagna for myself and for my family as well.

Beef Lasagna

In this recipe, my family and I opted to use all fresh ingredients – from tomato sauce to pasta. It’s tastier and healthier! We also prefer to use good cheese, Emmental cheese being our favorite cheese for lasagna as it is not a strong-tasting cheese. For the sauce, my family and I find béchamel too strong and white sauce too tasteless, so we make our own version of sauce.

For those who would like to try to make it, here’s our version of Beef Lasagna recipe. Please let us know what you think about it.

Beef Lasagna fresh from the oven!

Ingredients for 12 servings:

  • 1.2 kg of minced beef
  • 4 kg of tomatoes
  • 500 g shallots
  • 200 g of butter
  • 200 g of Emmental cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • milk
  • flour
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper

Method:

The pasta
– Put some flour (about 200 grams) in a mixing bowl.
– Crack 2 eggs. Stir until they have mixed together.
– Add a bit of salt and about 10cL of water. Mix it again. Add flour bit by bit until you   obtain a mixture that is soft and non-sticky. Let it rest for about 1 hour.
– Roll it flat. Press your oven dish at the top of the flat pasta so that you can cut it to fit the oven dish.
– Let the pasta rest for about 12hrs in a clean dry place.

Rolling the pasta

Drying the pasta

The garniture
– Cut the tomatoes and shallots into thin slices.
– Put a few centiliters of water in a saucepan so that nothing gets burned.
– Mix the onions and tomatoes together in the same saucepan and cook the mixture for about one hour and a half over a medium fire. Stir often. Add a sprinkle of salt and soy sauce halfway through.
– Cook the minced beef in a frying pan with a bit of oil. Sprinkle with soy sauce and add a bit of black pepper. When it’s ready, mix it together with the tomatoes/onions.

Béchamel / White sauce
Personally, I find béchamel too strong and white sauce too tasteless, so this is what I do for lasagna:
– In a saucepan, melt about 200g of butter. Add about 100cL of water and 100cL of milk. Let it cook gently for a few minutes.
– Mix 5 table spoons of flour with water in a big glass or a tiny jar. Stir until the mixture is homogeneous.
– Put the water/flour mix into the pan and let it cook gently until it thickens. Stir continuously.

Beef Lasagna

Putting it together:
– Put half of garniture at the bottom of an oven dish. Put a layer of pasta on top. Put a layer of white sauce / béchamel on top. Put another layer of garniture on top. Another layer of pasta on top. One final layer of white sauce / béchamel on top.
– Put it into an oven pre-heated at 250 degree Celsius for about one hour. Then grate the cheese and sprinkle it on top. – Put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Et voilà! Serve, share and enjoy your luscious Beef Lasagna!

Taste of Home: Bulalo

Bulalo is one of the most popular Filipino beef soup. It is made out of beef leg bones with marrow. This dish originated in Taal, Tagaytay where they have a cooler temperature when compared to other parts of the Philippines.

Bulalo

I learned how to cook this dish from my dad. I like dad’s Bulalo’s recipe because it is simple yet it makes a delectable dish. One of the secrets to make a good Bulalo is to boil the meat for a long period of time so that the meat releases all of its flavors and becomes tender.

My family and I love to eat Bulalo because it’s tasty and nutritious. Another thing I enjoy about Bulalo is the bone marrow. I take out the marrow from the bone then I dip it in a sauce (soysauce with lime and chili) and eat it with plain rice. It is so delicious!

Have you tried Bulalo? What do you like about the dish? For those who would like to try Bulalo, here’s a simple recipe for you.

Bulalo

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of beef shank
  • 1 pc small cabbage, whole leaf individually detached
  • 1 small bundle pak choy
  • 3 pcs corn, each corn cut into 4 parts
  • 2 pcs large carrot, roughly cut (optional)
  • 2 tbsp whole pepper corn
  • 1 pc onion, roughly cut
  • 3 liters of water
  • 2 pcs beef broth

Method:

  1. Pour in water in a big cooking pot. Add the beef broth and bring it to a boil.
  2. Put-in the beef shank. Add whole pepper corn and onion. Boil for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  3. Add corn. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes.
  4. Add cabbage and pak choy. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes.
  5. Serve hot, share and enjoy!