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Pupusas and potpourri.

Few places in the Hemisphere can boast such a successful and versatile blend of European cuisine and cooking traditions of the Americas as tiny El Salvador. "Gallo en Chicha," the local adaptation of "Coq au Vin," along with other entrees and deserts from the Old World coexist comfortably with tortillas and tamales.

The result of this gastronomical harmony is a cuisine that presents not only an amazing variety in the use of ingredients, but also in the modes of preparation. Typical Salvadoran dishes feature all kinds of meat, several starches--rice, beans and potatoes--and an abundance of vegetables. And there is an added bonus for the health conscious. While there is some frying, most Salvadoran cooking is baked, boiled, stewed or grilled, and virtually fat-free, since many recipes call for skimming the fat off the top or draining during the preparation process.

Perhaps the most original contribution of Salvadoran cooking is the "pupusa," a corndough pie traditionally stuffed with pork and/or cheese. The hardy "Yuca con chicharron," accompanied by the shredded cabbage and carrot salad known as "curtido," is another staple. Salvadorans also have a highly developed sweet tooth, as illustrated by the cornucopia of lip-smacking deserts, including "nuegalos con miel" and the "empanadas de leche."

Some traditional dishes use local fruits or vegetables that are difficult to obtain outside El Salvador, but many can easily be tried by cooking enthusiasts everywhere."

PESCADO ENVUELTO

6 medium sized snooks or black sea bass (1-1 1/2 pounds each) Juice of 1 lemon 6 big corn husks or 12 small ones 6 teaspoons olive oil 1 teaspoon broth 1 bunch coriander

Clean and dry fish. Season with lemon juice, broth and oil. Blend coriander and 2 1/2 water until it forms a sauce. Place each fish in one big corn husk or two small ones and add some coriander sauce. Wrap up and tie with a string. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or put in a pan with water and boil for 15 minutes. Serve wrapped up in husks.

PUPUSAS REVUELTAS

For the pupusa:

3 cups of corn meal

For the stuffing:

1 cup cold ground red beans 1 cup cold chicharron mixture 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

For the chicharron mixture:

1 onion 1 green pepper 1 clove garlic Salt and pepper to taste 1 lb pork, with no grease and cut into little pieces

Saute the pork in oil for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then put it in the blender with the tomato, onion and garlic until it becomes a paste. Return this paste to a low flame and continue to cook for about 30 minutes. Make sure this mixture is cold before you stuff it in the pupusa.

Mix 2 cups water and corn meal to make the corn dough. Take two spoonfuls of dough, make a ball and a depression into the ball with your fingers. Put some pork, beans and cheese in this depression and cover carefully with the edges so that the stuffing does not come out. Melt some butter on a griddle, and cook the pupusas five minutes on each side.

YUCA CON CHICHARON

1 pound yuca 1 pound lean pork meat

Peel the yuca and boil for 10 minutes or until soft in water seasoned with cumin and a little salt. Drain. Cut the pork meat into 1/2 ounce cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 15 minutes in any oil, but make sure the pieces are not covered. To keep the meat soft pour enough water to cover it once it has begun to brown, let evaporate and keep on sauteing.

EMPANADAS RELLENAS CON LECHE

4 ripe plantains 1/2 quart whole milk 1/2 cup cornstarch 2 teaspoons vanilla 1/2 cup sugar Dash of cinnamon

Boil the plantains in their skin until they are soft and the skin breaks (about 30 minutes). Peel and puree. Mix the milk, sugar, cornstarch and put on a slow fire for five minutes while stirring continuously until it becomes harder. Take a handful of the puree and slap it into a tortilla shape, take a spoonful of the filling (called poliada) and fold the tortilla closed. To prevent the tortilla from sticking put some vegetable oil on your hands. Deep fry the empanadas in peanut oil for about two minutes. Roll in sugar.

Liza Gross is a freelance writer residing in Washington, D.C. Recipes were supplied by Salvadoran chef Hector Guerra, owner of El Patio Restaurant and the book Comida tipica by Vilma G. de Escobar.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Organization of American States
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes of El Salvador
Author:Gross, Liza
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:760
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