Is great food that is cooked by a new Bolivian expat resident considered Bolivian food? You are darned right it is and I’ll prove it. Jay Austin, a former Colorado resident who moved here to Santa Cruz with his beautiful family recently, has agreed to share with us his outstanding recipe for Picadillo. Jay is this week’s Celebrity Home Chef.
Now this dish looks so wonderful that Chef Trent is making plans to steal this formula and call it his own. (Just kidding Jay. You are way too big and strong for me to risk that. Besides I promised your wife Nataly that I would behave when I am around you!)
As a bonus, Chef Jay has agreed to give us his secret peanut butter procedure which is so simple and I hear is excellent. It is also environmentally friendly. (No plastic jar!)
So here you go home chefs. Start your fires and start cooking. We’re off!Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets
1 cube chicken bullion & 3 cups of water (or 3 cups chicken stock)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced small
1 green pepper
2 Red aji peppers smoked in the oven or in a heavy skillet for a few minutes and diced
1 cup diced Zapallo squash (For home chefs in other parts of the world, acorn squash will do)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
2 ripe plantains diced (plantains are not sweet, they are available everywhere)
1/4-1/2 cup raisins
2 tsps. cinnamon
2 tsps. cumin
2 Tbsp. Molasses (or miel de cana in Bolivia. Really cane syrup but good substitute for molasses)
salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 bitter orange, or mandarina limon, or lemon, or 2 key limes (choose 1, not all)...
1/4 cup chopped cilantroDirections:
In a small stock pot:
Boil the chicken breast fillets in bullion until cooked.
Using 2 forks, shred and continue cooking in the broth. It will reduce, that's good.
In a medium hot frying pan:
Heat olive oil until hot but not smoking.
Add onion and sauté until translucent.
Add green pepper, zapallo squash and a heavy pinch of salt; continue to cook.
Once Zapallo starts to break down, add garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
Add the can of tomato paste plus an additional can of water to the sauté and bring mixture to a boil.
Add diced plantain, raisins, cinnamon, cumin and molasses; return to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Add the shredded chicken, any leftover broth, and any additional salt or pepper tastes may require; continue to simmer, stirring regularly.
Cook until zapallo seems to have disappeared; add water as necessary to keep from burning.
Once Zapallo is gone, remove from heat, quickly mix in citrus juice and cilantro, and serve.
Excellent as a soft taco filling, in enchiladas, quesadillas as well! Bonus recipe.
For 250 grams PB.
Place 250 grams of toasted peanuts in a food processor. Turn on. Depending on speed of blade peanut butter should happen somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes of constant process.
Possible additions while processing: Salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, molasses, sugar. (Chef Trent: “Oh what the heck. I will use them all!)