Tuesday, March 22, 2005


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Sunday dinner was, finally, boliche. I say 'finally' because I've been looking over boliche recipes for several months now. I'm not really sure what I was looking for, but I settled on a recipe from Aaron Sanchez's La Comide del Barrio. The book's subtitle is "Latin-American cooking in the U.S.A," and, so far, it seems like a decent primer to a variety of different Hispanic foods found in the U.S.

For those not familiar, boliche is a Cuban-style stuffed eye of round roast. Granted, I'm not really up to turducken status, but I did manage to get two pork products into a pot roast this time. Not bad, eh? Eh? Eh? Anyway, the procedure was actually very simple, sort of fun, and more than a little obscene. Basically, I drove all eight inches of a chef's knife lengthwise into this four pound roast, created a pocket, and filled it with diced ham and chorizo. So much easier than butterflying or unrolling a cut of meat--no trussing. Oh, prior to stuffing, I used my mortar and pestle to make a paste of garlic, oregano, black pepper, and toasted cumin seeds. I rubbed this all over the roast, inside and out, and then, I stuffed.

Once the roast was stuffed, and Renee and AJ had stopped chuckling at my using the handle of a wooden spoon to jam in the last few bits of ham, I marinated the roast in a mixture of orange, lime, and key lime juices. The recipe called for Seville or sour orange juice but, well, no gots. The recipe didn't call for chorizo either, but several others did. Slight deviations here and there. After about four hours of marinating, I browned the roast in the old le creuset dutch oven, then sauted green bell peppers and onions. Next, I deglazed with a cup of dry sherry, added a can of pureed tomatoes and the marinade, then put the roast back in. I put the lid on and placed the whole deal in a 350 over for about two hours, turning occasionally.

Slightly before the meat was ready, I set about making rice and beans, as well as some fried plantains. The best thing I've found to do with canned black beans is to simmer them with some sauted crushed garlic, dried oregano, and maybe some cumin chili flakes. The plantains were simply sliced on an angle and fried in some vegetable oil until their sugars carmelized.

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I removed the roast from the pan, let it rest for about 10 minutes, and then sliced it into rounds and served it with its 'gravy.'

For desert, I'd planned to serve some wafers with cream cheese and guava paste, but everyone just sort of groaned at the mention of more food.

Now, I don't know a whole lot about Cuban food. I know I ate a lot of it as a kid in Key West, but most of the time I wasn't in the kitchen, I was sitting on a bench eating bollitos out of a translucent paper sack. If anyone has any suggestions on a more authentic boliche, I'd love to hear them.


At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Martha Marshall said...

I've cooked boliche several times over the years, but forget in between times how I did it. I'm thinking of serving it for a dinner party this Friday. Yours sounds really good. The trick is to undercook it just enough to slice it neatly, then return the slices to the sauce for final cooking until it's really tender.

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