COLUMBIA- Bandeja Paisa

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One of my favourite stars from previous World Cups is Carlos Valderrama, the mad-haired midfield maestro from Santa Marta- generally considered Columbia’s greatest ever player. El Pibe (The Kid) captained Los Cafeteros at Italia ’90 with a series of commanding displays including scoring an excellent solo goal in their 2-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates. He would go on to make the killer pass for team mate Rincon to score against West Germany, ensuring Colombia went passed the group phase in the tournament for the first time in their history. Despite a good performance against Cameroon, Colombia lost out 2-1 after a mistake by goalkeeper Rene Higuita (he of scorpion kick fame)
Blonde afro-ed Valderama remains a worldwide footballing icon.

Bandeja Paisa, a platter incorporating a delicious selection of pretty much all of the most common Colombian foods and ingredients on one massive platter, originates from the Paisa region at the foot of the Andes.

This was one of the meals I was most looking forward to from the very beginning of the project- the mix of ingredients and layout of the dish had me really excited, as well as the chance to try a few things I’d never come across before like carne en polvo (powdered beef) , frijolespaisa, and arepa.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
Frijoles Paisa:
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed.
1/4 smoked sausage ( Mattesson’s or similar)
1 tbsp Tomato purée
1 tbsp BBQ sauce
150ml ham stock, from cube

Carne en Polvo:
5-6 slices cooked roast beef.
Salt and pepper to taste

Arepa (flat breads):
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil for frying

Others:
1 ripe plantains- cut into thin strips
1/2 smoke sausage
200g white rice

To serve:
Lime wedges
½ Avocado cut into quarters (dress with lemon juice to prevent browning)

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INSTRUCTIONS:
Frijoles Paisa:
1. Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan over a medium heat and stir well.
2. Cook for around 15 minutes to reduce liquid to a thick consistency

Carne en polvo:
1. Add roast beef to blender , season, and blend until beef is powdered.
2. Add to a frying pan over medium heat and cook through for 5-6 minutes.

Arepa:
1. Add ingredients to bowl and mix well until it reaches a thigh doughy mix.
2. Split mix into 4 small balls.
3. Heat oil in frying pan over a medium heat .
4. Flatten balls into thick rounds, then add to pan.
5. Cook for around ten minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown.

Others:
1. Prepare white rice, sliced avocado, smoked sausage.
2. Fry plantain chips in a frying pan with a little oil until golden brown.

Serve on a large platter and make sure you’re hungry as there is a lot of eating! Provecho!

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