World Cup Cook-off: Honduras and Uruguay

Picture: Salvelio Meyer

John Harvey with quesadillas from Honduras. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

With the Fifa World Cup just days away, The Global Table’s World Cup Cook-off project is close to reaching its goal!

Over the past few months our foodie blog has “travelled” to 22 of the 32 nations represented in this year’s soccer spectacle. Tortilla soup from Mexico, rinder rouladen or beef rolls from Germany, caldeirada or fish stew from Portugal and spotted dick pudding from England are just a few of the many recipes we’ve shared, most of them from Eastern and Southern Cape folk with close ties to the various nations.

And there are still 10 more countries left on this culinary itinerary of ours. Still to come are dishes from the likes of Nigeria, Cameroon, Paraguay and Slovakia, so make sure you visit the blog every Saturday right up to July 11, when the final match of the World Cup is played!

Given that despite our best efforts it has proved rather challenging to track down Hondurans and Uruguayans in the Eastern and Southern Cape, Weekend Post news editors Louise Liebenberg and John Harvey took up the challenge this week to find a recipe to represent each of these two nations.

John’s  research revealed that Honduran cooking varies considerably depending on which part of the country you travel to.

“Honduras is a poor country and therefore its culture and cuisine have not gained a great deal of recognition around the world,” he said. “However, the cuisine is mostly based on unprocessed products and is very healthy, with beans and homemade salsas playing a large part in the nation’s diet, as is the case with other South American countries.”

Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Quesadillas with black bean and spinach filling. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Honduran Quesadillas: The Recipe

John tested a delicious recipe for quesadillas – two flour tortillas sandwiched together with a filling of black beans, spinach, jalapeno chillies and sauteed onion.

It adapts well to many variations, for instance you can add salsa, sautéed onion or pepper and diced red or white onion if you like. Pinto or red kidney beans can be substituted for black beans.

The dish takes about an hour to do, including preparation time, and it serves six as a main meal with a green salad on the side, or 12 if cut into wedges as an appetiser or snack.

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil; 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion; 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped; 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped; 1 cup cooked black beans, mashed; 1 cup cooked spinach; 1 pinch five-spice powder (available in Asian or speciality food stores); salt; freshly-ground black pepper; 12 x 20cm flour tortillas; 1 egg, well beaten

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper and saute until soft, for about 3 minutes.

Add the mashed beans to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the spinach and mix well, but not too robustly.

Season with the five spice-powder, salt and pepper, then remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Place six of the tortillas flat on a work surface and divide the bean mixture among them, spreading the filling on top of each tortilla but leaving a border of a bit more than a centimeter around the tortilla edges.

Brush the edges with beaten egg, then place a second tortilla on top, pressing down to seal.

Preheat the oven to just under 100 degrees Celsius (or around 200F); in the meantime place a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat on the stove.

Brush the tops and bottoms of the tortillas with the remaining oil and cook each one in the hot pan until light brown, about 2 minutes on each side.

Keep the finished quesadillas warm in the preheated oven until all of them are cooked.

Remove the quesadillas from the oven. Leave whole or cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Ensalada Rusa from Uruguay. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

World Cup Cook-off: Uruguay

Louise’s Uruguayan dish – Ensalada Rusa – is another one for which there are many variations throughout South Africa, and indeed in Spain.

As with Honduras, the traditional food of Uruguay is largely based on its European roots, in the form of Mediterranean dishes from Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, but also from countries such as Germany, along with African and indigenous mixtures.

Like us South Africans, they also love their barbecues, or asados, with beef being a particular favourite.

And, because of historic links to Italy, pasta is another staple in Uruguayan cuisine. Also extremely popular is the chivito, a sandwich made with steak, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise, which many consider to be the national dish of Uruguay.

Ensalada Rusa: The Recipe

Ensalada Rusa, which ironically translates to Russian salad, is vastly different from the standard potato salad we all know here in South Africa. This one is a riotously colourful concoction of potatoes, peas, carrots, red onion, tuna, egg and mayonnaise. It makes for a great side dish to a main course, but can just as easily qualify as a meal in its own right.

This recipe serves 6 as a salad side dish, or 4 as a main meal.  The quantities are a guideline only as you really can use as much carrots, peas, corn and so on as you prefer. It is also advisable to blanch the chopped onion in boiling water for a few minutes, just to reduce a bit of its burn – you can then simply run some cold water through it to retain the crunch (do drain well before adding it to the salad though!)

Ingredients

Five medium potatoes, peeled and diced; 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced; 2 eggs, hard-boiled and cooled; 1 smallish red onion, chopped; 1 tin of tuna chunks, preferably in oil; 3/4 cup of frozen peas which have been thawed (do not use tins as they are just too dull in colour for this dish), 3/4 cup tinned or fresh, cooked sweetcorn (not creamed); 1 cup or more good-quality or home-made mayonnaise; 1 tbsp of chopped parsley; salt to taste

Method

Steam the potatoes and the carrots for about 20 minutes – until the potatoes are cooked through but not falling to pieces. The carrots must be cooked too, but it is preferable if they do still have a bit of crunch. Allow to cool.

Pile into a big mixing bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients (you will by now have chopped the eggs and drained and flaked the tuna). Mix everything though, but be fairly gentle as you don’t want the salad to become a messy, mushy business! Season to taste. The dish can be served immediately or made ahead.

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