Recipes from Nicaragua

If you eat any kind of traditional food in Central America, you are more than likely to have arroz y frijoles, rice and beans.  And, I had traditional food, cooked by local women, nearly every time I ate at the orphanage on Omtele Island.  Yep, I'm talking breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Fortunately for me, I really like arroz y frijoles.  And, also fortunately, there are several ways to prepare them.  Rice can be white or cooked with vegetables and chicken.  Of course, you can also cook the rice with the beans.  Bean can be mashed into something like black mashed potatoes (my favorite!) or served whole.  You can eat them with a fork or, better yet, wrap them up in a tamale.  And, always use some kind of hot sauce like Tabasco.

I had my favorite dishes served in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I asked everyone I could for the recipes and finally got them my last day in Central America.  Whew!

H O W E V E R, the recipe was in Spanish.  I tried to use Google Translate to figure it out, but that method wasn't too successful. So, I also did a little Internet research.

Rice and Chicken
all over Central America

Ingredients for the Chicken Broth

1 lb chicken breasts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 fresh chile, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
salt, pepper, oregano, and .....cumin to taste

Preparation for Chicken Broth

In a cooking pot, heat up 1/2 cup of oil over medium high temperature.  Add the chicken, garlic, celery, chili, cilantro, onion, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin.  Fry until the chicken is golden brown. Let it cool and then debone the chicken.  Yes, be patient and really let it cool down.  Otherwise, your fingers will burn, but they'll taste good if you lick them.
Ingredients for the Rice

4 cups rice
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 can sweet corn 8 oz.
1 cup chives, chopped

1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 pack coloring for chicken
.....(or saffron)
1 chicken bullion cube
2 Tbs Salsa Lizano

.....(or Tabasco)
1 15 oz. can tomato paste

Preparation for the Rice

Heat an undesignated amount of vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice, stirring often until rice is slightly brown. Next, add coloring, bullion and 1 ¼ quart water. Bring the mix to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the saucepan and simmer until rice is tender. Turn off heat and leave rice in saucepan covered for 10 minutes.

In another large sauce pan (who has this many sauce pans?) sauté the onions, red bell peppers, tomato, carrots, chives, cilantro, and Lizano sauce (Yes, I know you'll use Tabasco instead.) in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until sauce is ready. Nobody told me what "ready" really means. So, stir it up well. Combine the chicken mixture with the sauce in the saucepan. Stir in rice and corn. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over low heat.

If the recipe looks like it will be too much food, or you just don't have sauce pans that big, I'm guessing it would work fine to use 2 cups of rice and change "1 cup" to "1/2 cup". However, you know how good I am at cooking.