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Venezuela - Venezuelan Cuisine

Due to its location right in the central location of the Americas, numerous industrial and natural resources, not to mention the cultural diversity of the Venezuelan people, Venezuelan cuisine is quite diverse and can vary from region to region.

2 cups precooked cornmeal*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
2 cups boiling water
1 cup shredded mild white cheese
P.A.N. Harina de Maiz or cornmeal specific to making arepas. Masa harina, regular cornmeal for coating fried foods, and polenta are not the same
In a mixing bowl, add cornmeal, salt, pepper, baking powder and mix well. Add the cheese and combine well.
With a fork, stir in boiling water. Add eggs. Mix with a fork until dough leaves the side of the bowl.Knead dough with your hands only enough to form a ball.
About 3/4 cup of dough makes one arepa.Flatten balls and fry in a lightly greased pan until golden.Or cook in arepa cooker until arepas sound hollow when tapped.
Let cool slightly and serve. Slice like a sandwich, stuff with more cheese, and warm till cheese is melted.

Hallaca Recipe

1 1/2 lb. diced chuck
1 1/2 lb. diced pork butt
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic; minced

1 cup canned chickpeas; rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 tomatoes, chopped
4 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp dried ground chili peppers
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
4 tsp salt
3 Tb vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp capers
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup sliced stuffed olives

3 cups corn meal
4 cups boiling water
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
Combine the beef, pork, water, and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. Drain and chop into smaller chunks. Add the chickpeas, mixing lightly. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the tomatoes, onions, peppers, chili, parsley, 2 tsp of the salt, vinegar, sugar, and the meat mixture. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the capers, raisins, and olives. Mix lightly. Set aside.

Pabellon Criollo

2 lb. flank steak; cut in 3 or 4 pieces
1 bay leaf
5 cups beef stock; or more to cover
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion; coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
4 medium tomatoes; peeled, seeded, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds; crushed
1 teaspoon oregano
8 cups cooked white long grain rice; see recipe
6 cups cooked black beans
2 medium plaintains; a little firm
2 tablespoon safflower oil

Simmer the meat and the bay leaf in the stock for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is nice and tender. Allow the meat to cool in the stock. When cool, remove from the stock, shred, and set aside.

In the olive oil, sauté the onion until it is soft. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano and continue to cook over low heat until the mix is quite dry. Add the shredded meat and correct the seasoning.

Chivito Sandwich

4 very large sandwich buns; preferably round or oblong and somewhat flat
4 beef tenderloin steaks, about 1 inch thick
8 pieces of bacon
4 slices of sandwich ham
4 tomato slices
4 slices of mozzarella or provolone
4 eggs
1-2 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper; to taste
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Set aside on towels to cool.
Butterfly steaks in the middle and pound out until even and they match the size of the rolls. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and when hot add place steaks.. Cook a couple of minutes on each side or to your liking. Set aside
Fry each egg, individually, over easy or sunny side up.
Preheat and oven broiler.


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