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Lomito encebollado? It's just Costa Rican pot roast.

Lomito encebollado? It's just Costa Rican pot roast

Familiar flavors make the little-known cuisine of Costa Rica appealing to a wide range of tastes. We've rounded up a sampling of popular dishes for two menus: the cozy pot roast supper pictured here and a beef barbecue on page 204.

Both menus feature a beef entree. Basic seasonings are Worcestershire (similar to a sauce made in Costa Rica), garlic, onions, bell peppers, and cilantro.

This party buffet comes from Isabel Campabadal, a cooking teacher from San Jose, the nation's capital. Her menu is common to central Costa Rica, where Spanish influence is strong. You braise a beef sirloin tip with tomatoes and onions, they serve it with beans and rice (gallo pinto). Offer fresh tortillas plain or with guacamole.

Central Costa Rican buffet

The meat, beans and rice, potatoes, and tortillas can be made a day ahead and reheated. Prepare the salad and your favorite guacamole (use 3 large avocados) shortly before the meal.

Braised Beef with Onions (Lomito Encebollado)

1/3 cup Worcestershire

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 piece (4 to 5 lb.) beef sirloin tip roast

3 tablespoons salad oil

1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes

1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon dry thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon dry oregano leaves

2 bay leaves

In a 9- by 13-inch pan, mix marinade of Worcestershire, garlic, and pepper. Place beef in pan; coat with marinade. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turning meat occasionally in pan. Pour oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat. Lift meat from marinade; reserve and chill marinade. Pat meat dry and place in pan; cook, turning to brown all sides. Add tomatoes and their liquid (break up with a spoon), bell pepper, onions, thyme, oregano, and bay. Bring to boiling.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, turning meat occasionally until it is very tender when pierced, about 3 1/2 hours. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to overnight. Discard fat. To reheat, simmer covered until meat is hot.) Lift meat out; let stand about 5 minutes. Remove strings; slice meat and place on a rimmed platter.

Skim fat from sauce. Add marinade to sauce to taste. Bring to boiling. Pour into a bowl or around meat. Serves 10 to 12.

Cabbage and Tomato Salad (Ensalada de Repolla y Tomates)

1 medium-size head (1 3/4 lb.) cabbage

1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

2 medium-size firm-ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1/2 cup salad oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Finely shred enough cabbage to make about 10 cups. In a large bowl, mix cabbage, most of the opinion, half of tomatoes, and half of bell pepper; arrange remaining tomatoes, pepper, and onion rings on top. Mix oil and vinegar with salt and pepper to taste; pour over vegetables. Mix salad. Serves 10 to 12.

Beans and Rice (Gallo Pinto)

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 cups cold cooked long-grain white rice

3 cups cooked black beans (directions follow)

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

Salt and pepper

In a 12- to 14-inch frying pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper, and celery; stir until limp. Stir in rice and beans. Reduce heat to low; stir often until mixture is hot. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to overnight. Warm over low heat, stirring often. Add a little water, if needed, to prevent sticking.) Stir in cilantro and Worcestershire; add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl. Serves 10 to 12.

Cooked black beans. Sort debris from 1 1/3 cups (about 5 oz.) dry black beans. Rinse beans and combine in a 3- to 4-quart pan with 1 1/2 quarts water. Bring to boiling; simmer, covered, until tender to bite, about 1 hour. Drain. Makes about 3 cups.

Chopped Potatoes (Picadillo de Papas)

1/2 pound bulk pork sausage

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1 tablespoon canned tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

2 pounds thin-skinned potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3/4 to 1 cup water

Salt and pepper

Fresh cilantro sprigs

Crumble sausage into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan; stir over medium-high heat until browned. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper, stirring until onion is limp. Stir in tomato paste, cilantro, potatoes, and 3/4 cup water. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 20 minutes; add water if potatoes stick. Add salt and pepper to taste. (If made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to overnight. To reheat, stir over low heat; add water if potatoes stick.) Spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Photo: He's reaching for a fresh corn tortilla; it's part of a party buffet for 10 to 12. Clockwise from the tortillas, the menu includes beans and rice, guacamole, braised beef with onion, chopped potatoes, and a cabbage and tomato salad. For dessert, offer tropical fruit. Serve wine or tonic water and lime to drink

Photo: Costa Rican cook pats fresh masa into thick tortillas (see page 206 for recipe)
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Oct 1, 1986
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