The Book of Latin American Cooking

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-07-03
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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This award-winning cookbook by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz includes 500 recipes from the exotic culinary traditions of the Latin American World, covering the coasts, mountainous areas, and fertile plains between Mexico and Chile. Ortiz selects appetizers, soups, main courses, salads, and desserts from each region and explores the wild array of spices and styles that make these recipes unique. Using delicious examples, she describes how the Spanish, Portuguese, African, and Middle Eastern influences have combined with the indiginous cooking of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations. Her recipes range from familiar favorites such as Guacamole and Feijao Preto (black beans), to more unusual recipes: Sopa de Topinambur (Jerusalem Artichoke Soup -- Chile), Matambre (Stuffed Rolled Flank Steak -- Argentina), Pichones con Salsa de Camarones (Squab in Shrimp Sauce -- Peru), Salada de Palmito (Hearts of Palm Salad -- Brazil), Quimbolitos (Steamed Puddings -- Equador), as well as a wide variety of sauces and breads. This book is the prototype for all books on Latin American cooking and remains the definitive text on the subject.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
Ingredients 3(16)
Hors d'Oeuvres and Appetizers
Fish and Shellfish
Pescados y Mariscos
Substantial Dishes
Platillos Fuertes
Vegetables and Salads
Verduras y Ensaladas
Breads and Desserts
Panes y Postres
Sources of Latin American Foods 339(2)
Index 341


Cocido a la Dominicana


Spanish Stew, Dominican Style

Serves 6 to 8

1/2 pound dried chickpeas, or a

    1-pound can

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

A 4-pound chicken, cut into


1/2 pound beef, cut into 1-inch


A 1/2 pound slice of smoked ham,

    such as prosciutto or Spanish

    Jamon Serrano, cut into

    1-inch cubes

1/2 pound chorizo (hot Spanish)

    sausages, sliced, or use hot

    Italian sausages

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and


1 large carrot, scraped and sliced

1 small cabbage, cut into 8


1/2 pound West Indian pumpkin

    (calabaza) or winter squash,    

peeled and cubed

1 fresh hot red or green pepper,    

left whole with stem on

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon white vinegar

8 cups beef stock


6 small pitted green olives, sliced

1 tablespoon finely chopped    


If using dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in cold water to cover. Drain, cover with fresh water, and simmer, covered, for I hour. Drain, measure the liquid, and use it to replace some of the beef stock. Set aside. If using canned chickpeas, drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the chicken pieces until golden on both sides. Transfer to a large saucepan or soup kettle. In the oil remaining in the skillet sauté the beef cubes, ham, and sausages, and add them to the saucepan. In the remaining oil, adding a little more if necessary, though the sausages will give off quite a lot of fat, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is soft. Add the mixture to the kettle with the potatoes, carrot, cabbage, pumpkin or winter squash, whole hot pepper, bay leaf, vinegar, the chickpeas and liquid or the canned, drained, chickpeas, the stock, and salt to taste. Cover and simmer until all the ingredients are tender, about I hour. The pumpkin or squash will have disintegrated, slightly thickening the broth. Remove and discard the bay leaf and hot pepper. Transfer the stew to a warmed tureen or serving dish, add the olives, and sprinkle with the parsley.

Variation: There is an interesting variation, Sancocho de Longaniza y Tocino (Sausage and Bacon Stew), also from the Dominican Republic. Soak 1 1/2 pounds bacon, in a single piece, for 15 minutes in cold water, rinse, drain, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Slice 2 pounds longaniza (Spanish garlic) sausages, or linguiça or kielbasa, into 1-inch slices. Heat 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet and sauté the bacon cubes and sausage slices until lightly browned. Transfer to a flameproof casserole. In the fat remaining in the skillet sauté 1 large onion, finely chopped, 3 cloves garlic, chopped, and I green bell pepper, seeded and chopped, and add to the casserole with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons Seville (bitter) orange juice, or two-thirds orange juice and one-third lime or lemon juice. Add 3 quarts beef stock, and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, then add 1 pound cassava (yucca) root, peeled and sliced, 1 pound taro (yautía), peeled and sliced, 1 pound yam (ñame), not orange sweet potatoes, and 1 pound West Indian pumpkin (calabaza) or winter squash, peeled and cubed. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, and hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) to taste. Simmer, covered, until all the ingredients are tender. In a separate saucepan, in water to cover, boil 2 green plantains in their skins for 30 minutes, cool, peel, slice, and add to the casserole just long enough to heat them through. The plantains may be omitted, if preferred, or green (underripe) bananas may be used instead, in which case boil them for 20 minutes. Put the meats and vegetables on a heated serving platter, pour the broth into a tureen, and serve in soup plates. Serves 6 to 8.

Carne Rellena


Stuffed Steak

This is an unusual dish and looks quite spectacular, as the egg and vegetables show attractively in each slice. The flavor matches the looks. The stuffed omelet makes a rich accompaniment to the tender, juicy steak.

Serves 6

A 3-pound flank steak, or two

    1 1/2-pound steaks

4 large cloves garlic, crushed


1/4 cup Olive Oil

4 eggs

Vegetable oil

A 10-ounce can green asparagus


2 whole pimientos, cut into strips

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 cups dry red wine

Trim the steak of any fat and place in a baking dish or any shallow dish large enough to hold it comfortably. Mix the garlic with 2 teaspoons salt and the olive oil and rub the mixture into both sides of the steak. Let it stand at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them lightly with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons water. Heat a 7-inch omelet pan and pour in just enough vegetable oil to film the surface. The pan should be about the same width as the steak. A rectangular Japanese omelet pan is ideal for this; if using a round pan, trim the omelet later to fit the steak. Pour the eggs into the pan and make an omelet in the usual way, stiffing vigorously with the flat of a fork over moderate heat until the eggs begin to set, then cook until the eggs have set. Slide the omelet out of the pan and place it on top of the steak. If using 2 smaller steaks, make 2 omelets. Trim the omelet to fit. On top of the omelet lay alternate horizontal rows of asparagus tips and pimiento strips, starting and ending about 1/2 inch from the edge. Roll up the steak and tie it securely with string. Put the steak into a baking tin and dot it with the butter. Bake in a preheated moderate (350° F.) oven for 45 minutes for rare steak, basting it several times with the wine. Cook for 15 minutes longer if a well-done steak is preferred.

Lift the steak out onto a warmed serving platter and remove the string. Reduce the wine and pan juices quickly over brisk heat and pour into a sauceboat. Cut the steak into 1 -inch slices, and serve with plain white rice, Caraotas Negras (Black Beans), and fried plantains or bananas.


Excerpted from The Book Of Latin And American Cooking by Elisabeth Ortiz Lambert Copyright © 2003 by Elisabeth Ortiz Lambert
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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