Sunday, June 20, 2010


For Father's day, Brandon wanted Pabellon, a traditional Venezuelan dish, or Roman pizza.  I knew there was no way I would have time to make pizza dough yesterday with everything I needed to get done to be prepared for today, so I picked Venezuelan food.  It is very time consuming - not particularly difficult, but the food takes a long time to cook, so it is time consuming.  Pabellon is a typical dish of shredded beef, black beans, rice, arepas, and fried plantains.  It is something I had living in Venezuela various times.  I've never been able to replicate it to my liking.  I really like this black bean recipe that I have made before, so that is what I used today except that I boiled it for a bit longer to see if I could reduce the amount of time in the crock pot because I didn't have that long until dinner by the time I got home from church.  Hope that works.
  The recipes I used to make this were a combination of the shredded beef by Bobby Flay, and another recipe I found here and my own likes.  I liked that Bobby Flay added some extra veggies.  I'm always one for adding veggies when you can sneak them in because my kids don't eat enough veggies.  I'm actually not sure what I used from the other recipe.  I just know I looked at both of those.  For the plantains I decided to try them baked instead of fried.  I found that recipe idea here.  I also made coconut tres leches for dessert because that is what Duncan picked for his birthday cake, but that will be a separate post.
This turned out so good, definitely one of the best meals we have had, but it took a lot of time.  So good though.  I think I would double it next time though to freeze some and I may try to make the meat in the slow cooker next time - combining all of the veggies at the beginning. Not sure though, because it was so tasty I'm afraid to change anything.  The shredding of the beef was just extremely tedious and I don't usually have that trouble with sirloin in the crock pot.
It isn't particularly traditional to put the meat in the arepa for pabellon, but I like it that way.  Yum!

Shredded beef Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onions, chopped
  • 1 (2 pound) sirloin steak
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red bell peppers, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained 
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  1. In a large pot, saute chopped onions in butter.  Add chopped carrot and celery, continue cooking until tender.  Remove vegetables from pan.  Put 1 Tablespoon oil in the pan and sear meat on both sides.  Return the veggies to the pan.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Add cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and boil for 1.5 to 2 hours - until tender enough to shred.  
  2. Remove meat, shred, drain  the liquid,  - reserving for later, keep veggies.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and red pepper to the beef.  Boil 15-20 minutes until liquid has reduced.  (My meat took forever to shred today, so my sauce boiled the whole time I was shredding and tossing into the pot, plus 15-20 minutes after that.)  I thought I would end up suggesting less tomato, because I had to boil for a while to reduce it, but the flavor was so good that I decided nothing should be changed.  It was still juicy, but I just served it with a slotted spoon.  Soo delicious
Arepas Ingredients
  • 2 cups Harina pan (white corn flour - I use this brand because it is what I used in Venezuela.)
  • 1.5 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix water and milk.  Add the corn flour and salt.  Mix until smooth.  (It will be very moist.)  Let rest for 15-20 minutes.   Divide into 8 balls.  Roll each ball in your hand until smooth, then begin patting it between your hands until it is a flattened disc shape about 3-4 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick (those are guesses on the sizes.  Should have measured.)
  2. I baked mine on a griddle heated between 300 and 350 until golden brown on each side.  I then put mine in the oven with the bananas to cook the middles a bit more and keep them nice and warm.  They were so yummy, nice and crisp on the outside.  
  3. Fill with butter, cheese, and/or the meat mixture.

Not fried plantains Ingredients
  • very ripe plantains - Very yellow with some black (or plain bananas - not overripe)
  • cooking spray
  1. Heat oven to 450.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Slice the plantain in diagonal slices and place on the cookie sheet.  (I could only find one ripe enough plantain, so I used 3 bananas.  I cut them in 1/2 length wise and the width wise.)  Spray with cooking spray.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown turning 1/2 way through cooking time.

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