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Culinary Tour 2010 • Colombia

February 14, 2010 by Joan Nova in Culinary Tour Around the World, Poultry | 14 Comments

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
hot sauce
cider vinegar

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.

Add carrots, root vegetables, salt + pepper, cumin and a dash of hot sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat for an additional thirty minutes till vegetables are tender.

Finishing Touch(es):

  1. Give it a hit of vinegar (white or cider), just about 2 capfuls.
  2. Fresh minced cilantro.
  3. Minced avocado.

[Recipe serves 4, with a little leftover for a solo lunch another day.]

Come back for the Colombian round-up on Wednesday.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Arlene says:

    What a great dish! I’ve never tried the frozen tropical veggies and I’d love to use my Sazon for something other than tortilla. I will definitely give this a try.

  2. norma says:

    On this cold day in New Yok that soup would be perfect

  3. Erica says:

    Your sancocho looks delicious, Joan!! I usually use fresh vegetables!Thank you so much for the nice post about my beautiful country and you are right, we have a lot more to show than Pablo Escobar :)I posted my entry today.

  4. Looks so good! One of my best friends is Colombian! So I always think of her and her lovely family before any of the other stereotypes!

  5. Yummy……lovely colours…as always. Love the plantains in there…..would be great with rice and beans!

  6. Sancocho sounds like a delicious specialty that I would love to try! Save a seat for me please – I will be posting breakfast tomorrow :)

  7. ap269 says:

    YUM! This is something I definitely would enjoy eating! Not sure, though, I would get all the necessary ingredients here in Germany ;-((( Looking forward to reading the round-up!

  8. Anna Nader says:

    Nice post about Colombia and an interesting twist on sancocho, an american version I believe. Traditional colombian sancocho is a soup not a stew and to make it and you never ever use tomato sauce, also the frozen “goya viandas” are not the ones that are use in Colombia, you normally use potatoes, yucca (cassava) and corn that’s. Your dish does look nice though.

  9. Joan, I’m enjoying the culinary tour so much it’s amazing how little I know about their foods. Very informative post.

  10. fabulous! thank god for goya products, huh? lol! this dish is so warming, so comforting. lovely! thanks for spotlighting this country – i think you’re right – it gets a horrible rap and we know a few colombians – some of the nicest, cultured and intelligent (and fiercely patriotic) people i’ve met.

  11. Julia says:

    So bummed to miss the Colombia tour! I used to work with a bunch of Colombians in restaurants in Boston… and they would cook Sancocho for themselves every day…. so delicious.

  12. It was nice to bring a sunny side to Colombia. They deserve it.

  13. Claudia says:

    This sounds like a stew/soup I’d like to make, lots of good ingredients. We don’t have that sort of frozen bag of root veggies available here, but at least I’ll have the potato, plantains and cassava.

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