Today we visit Colombia by tastebud, a South American country bordering Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Panama, the Pacific Ocean, and Caribbean Sea. Colombia is known for its biodiversity, being the #1 most biodiverse of bird species.
Arepas and coffee might be the first things you think of when you think of Colombian cuisine, but today we look a little deeper at what is traditionally eaten here. What makes up Colombian cuisine is the mixture of culinary traditions and what is found locally. As like any other country in the world the region has a big influence on the local fare. There is Spanish, African, Arab, Caribbean, and Indigenous influence to Colombian cuisine. The ingredient list is lengthy due to the vast amount of food that is grown natively.
Breakfast lovers, you are welcome!! Bandeja paisa (bandeja translates to platter) is a well rounded meal often eaten for breakfast in Colombia. This dish is so loved by Colombians it is the national dish! It consists of several elements which can differ on where you are in the country, but at its core you can find these ingredients: fried plantains, rice, beans, fried pork belly, 1-2 types of sausage, an arepa, and a fried egg.
The dish originates from the Antioquia region of Colombia which the locals were referred to as “paisas.” This meal was first a “peasants affordable meal” many of which being farmers who needed a big meal to give them energy for a full day of labor.
So I managed to check off most the ingredients on the list however arepas were omitted. Pork belly was switched with bacon, and I additionally decided to go with just one kind of sausage. This meal was time consuming and took over my stovetop, but it was well worth it for the hearty meal that lay ahead.
This dish screams breakfast so if you are a breakfast for dinner kind of person this dish is up your alley! We enjoyed the beautiful array of breakfast foods which in turn brought a great variety of flavors and textures. Sweet Baby Rays was a bonus (thanks Ian). Salsa could also compliment this meal as well. We rated this one 8/10
- 1 lb bacon thicker cut preferable
- 4 plantains overripe (yellow with brown spots). Sliced thinly length wise
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1/2 tomato chopped
- 2 16 oz cans red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 tsp cumin
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
- 1 cup white rice
- 4 spicy sausages I used Italian
- 4 eggs fried
- Cook rice (variable depending on kind of rice used). While rice is cooking cook sausages until browned on all sides (reference package for specific cooking instructions).
- In another pot add oil and let warm on medium heat. Add chopped onion and tomatoes sauteing until onions translucent. Then add both cans of beans and cumin mixing well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the vegetable stock allowing to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside.
- For the plantains you will cut a lengthwise strip down the front and back, careful to only cut the skin and not the flesh. Using your fingers pry back the skin and peel off leaving the plantain. It should come off in big pieces. Then slice your plantains.
- To cook the plantains you will first get a pain with a large surface area. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the pan bottom. Heat oil on medium heat and fry plantains on both sides until golden brown. Remove from oil and allow to cool on paper towels.
- Cook the bacon to preferred doneness reserving some of the grease to fry the eggs. Place bacon on paper towels. Fry eggs then assemble all the ingredients in a bowl or plate. We discovered Sweet Baby Ray's (not traditional) tastes very good with this.