Costa Rican Casado Plate
I told myself after I finished re-doing all of our business books for 2013 (my computer was stolen), figure out a new payroll system for Ty’s employees, filed and re-filed five million tax forms, and finished a family history project I have been working on for over a year….THAT THEN I COULD BLOG! I still want to and have written a little of our “Costa Rican Chronicles” but those require more attention. So when the kids are back in school I think I can focus a bit on that.
Well I did all that and I think I’ll ease back into blogging with an easy recipe post. Some of my instagram friends and family members have been asking for a post on how I whip up Costa Rican food.
A Casado plate is what you get at local “sodas” around Costa Rica. I remember when we first were driving around that I was thinking, “Wow every little hole in the wall likes to show off that they carry soda!” Soda ended up being the name for a small (lots of times family run) restaurants that served local food. A casado plate always has rice and beans. Then you can get a side of meat or fish along with some different salads/slaws. And the plates are cheap! One time I wouldn’t allow anyone to help me with ordering and wanted to do it all in Spanish. I ended up with a plate full of pig intestine. I remember the gal behind the line with the big spoon looking at me over and over trying to make sure I wanted what I was saying. Me oh my it was so vile. I did not mean to order that, and wish I had just tried to order the fish.
I have made big batches of this Costa Rican food for different family and friends since coming back. If you can find yuka or plantains you can make it even more authentic. My tip is to call Harmons at least 24 hours in advance and ask them to get it in for you. You also need to order a bottle of Lizano. Lizano is the sauce that makes Costa Rican food what it is. They put it in their spaghetti, beans, eggs, chicken, everything. If I had to explain what it was it might be a mild hot sauce mixed with Worcester sauce. If you want to bother cooking Costa Rican food you need to buy a bottle of this. May I suggest Amazon to buy it from? I now own 10 large bottles so I don’t run out for awhile. The other thing about making this casado plate is that you seem like you are showing off by making them a new kind of food but really you are just feeding them the cheapest food you could get your hands on. Cheap cuts of chicken, dried beans, rice, inexpensive plantains. Trickery I tell you.
Another thing I really enjoy about casado plates is that they aren’t over done. You feel good after eating a large plate, the seasonings are simple, and it is just good food. Not fancy, not over done, just refreshingly good.
So if you have your bottle of Lizano and have found where you can get plantains. Lets get to work. Let me show you how to make a great Costa Rican Casado Plate.
Ok let’s talk about the rice, perfect rice took us years to perfect. You do equal parts water to rice like always. Bring water to boil, when you add in the rice also add in a couple tablespoons of butter and then some salt. Then turn the heat down to low heat. Put on the lid AND DO NOT PICK IT UP AND PLEASE LEAVE IT ALONE FOR 15 to 17 minutes. TRUST IT, take it off the heat and keep the top on for 15 minutes more. Don’t peak! Good rice really means leaving it alone and letting it do it’s own thing. One day I’ll teach you guys how to make Gallo Pinto, that is a rice with a lot of flavor. But on a casado plate is just simple perfectly cooked white rice.
I cook them the old fashioned way so that my whole house smells like beans and I have to air out the house at night. You might have a special pressure cooker for beans or like to do them in the crockpot. That is fine too and then you can just add in the special ingredients that I will tell you about. What I do is that I let the dry black beans soak for 24 hours. Then I stay home one day and they cook on low heat in water for around six hours. Until I pop a bean in my mouth and it is cooked to my liking.
You will need:
Full large pot of cooked black beans with some “juice” in them. Meaning a nice amount of bean broth so they can be a little runny.
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup of Lizano Salsa (to your tasting)
Salt (might need a lot, beans need a lot of salt, and I don’t like to salt them while they are cooking) to your tasting
Pepper to your tasting
Just add those things all in and wall, simple but good.
Plantain Chips or Chicharitas or Chifles or Platanitos or Tostones
These are twice fried so I think officially they are Tostones. Plantains are so cheap and they are very filing. You will eat two and feel stuffed (side wise stuffed). I cut off the ends of the plantains, make a slit down the long side and peel off the skin. Then I cut the plantains into 4 large pieces. Try to make the ends of these pieces flat because they will need to stand upright in a pan full of oil. Also in these pictures they are too brown, I had a hard time working the oil this time. I usually buy canola or corn oil but for some reason the last time I picked up vegetable oil. I had a hard time frying in that. You need to be careful to never let them pass a very light golden brown in the first stage. And in the second stage of frying not past a medium golden brown.
1. After you cut all the plantains heat your oil up then make sure it is sitting good at a medium heat. Put all the plantains sitting upright like this. After about 2 minutes when they are a LIGHT golden brown you will flip them so they cook on the other side.
2. After they cool a bit you get to do the fun job, squishing them! My girls can do this, a plastic cup does the trick. Put the cup squarely on the top of the cooked plantain and push down with a centered force. As you see here:
3. Then you will fry them again until on each side until they are a medium golden brown. Put them on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil and quickly salt them.
You can serve with mayo or ketchup, but I like them just plain.
I like to cook the “stock” to cook the chicken in earlier in the day. Then the actual cooking of the chicken takes about an hour because I like to put it on a lower heat. The stock of the chicken doesn’t take too long to put together. Let me tell you what you need, you can easily adapt this to make 6 pieces of chicken in or 24, I have done both, and everything in between!
Salt & Pepper
Chicken Powdered Bouillon
If I was doing 8-12 chicken things this is the amount I would put in. Saute up 1 whole onion chopped, 1 red pepper chopped in some oil. Then add in 1 cup of water, 2 bay leaves, 4 Tablespoons of powdered chicken bouillon, 1 bunch of chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup of lizano salsa and 1 can of tomato paste. Cook this up for 15 minutes to get ready for the chicken.
When you are ready to cook add in the chicken. Then add in more water so that the chicken is completely covered with this now more watered down broth/liquid. Bring to a boil and then take the temperate down. When I cook it on a medium the chicken takes about an hour to cook.
When serving people this food let me give you some tips. The rice and beans can sit in the hot pot for awhile and be fine. But the plantains need to be served right away. And the chicken can stay a little bit in the pot but it will continue to cook. So don’t let it sit too long. Make sure you serve the bottle of lizano on the side. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING! Tell people to scoop out some onions and peppers to eat with the chicken. And take a large ladle of the chicken broth and spread it all over the rice.
PHEW! That is a lot of instructions but it really isn’t too complex, hope you enjoy!