Sadly, the only thing many people know about Colombia besides the fact that it’s in South America is its long history with drug-trafficking cartels. However, even with that blemish, Colombia has managed to contribute much to the arts and our popular culture today. Let me introduce you to a few notable Colombians.
Have you seen the new TV show “Modern Family”? Sofia Vergarra is from Colombia. So is TV-movie star John Leguizamo. The concept and original production of “Ugly Betty” originated in Colombia. Other famous Colombians include Nina Garcia, fashion director of “Elle” and “Marie Claire” and “Project Runway” judge. Another is Rodrigo Garciá Barca, one of the directors of “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under” among other hit shows. On the music scene, Shakira, Juanes, and Carlos Vives have consistently been on the top of charts. There have been sports figures and beauty queens too. And who doesn’t know the paintings and ‘fat’ sculptures of Fernando Botero and the work of Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel Garcíá Marquez?
But, come, let’s talk about food…
The national dish, Bandeja Paisa, tempted because it offers a taste of many things; however, they’re mostly all fried. Plus the sheer quantity of a taste of this and a taste of that was unsupportable since I just returned from 5 days in Puerto Rico and ate more than my share of fried food. Like Shakira, the famous Colombian pop singer…my hips don’t lie. I needed to find something else.[Photo/recipe We Are Never Full.]
So I opted to make Sancocho, a traditional soupy-stew-like dish made from any variety of meat with root vegetables called ‘viandas’.
“It quells an appetite and nourishes a soul.”
10 boneless chicken thighs split and cleaned of excess fat (or your choice of meat/fish)
1 packet of Sazón con culantro + achiote
minced chorizo (1/4-1/2 cup)
1/2 red onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
8 oz can of Goya tomato sauce
20 ozs chicken broth
2-lb. bag ‘viandas for Sancocho’ (frozen root vegetable selection of cassava, pumpkin, plantains, yautia and batata)
2 carrots cubed
2 ears of corn cut in 3 rounds each
cumin to taste (suggest 1/2 teaspoon+)
salt + pepper
After cleaning/trimming chicken, season with 1 packet of Sazón (or some adobo seasoning with coloring from achiote).
Saute chorizo, onions and garlic until color and flavor oozes into oil and vegetables soften. Add chicken pieces and brown on both sides.
Add 1 can tomato sauce and chicken broth. Cook for about 20 minutes.
[Recipe serves 4, with a little leftover for a solo lunch another day.]
Come back for the Colombian round-up on Wednesday.