Saturday, 14 June 2014

World Cup Food Recipes - Costa Rica

Costa Rican Higado en Salsa is beef liver in a spicy tomato sauce

Costa Rica really must be wondering what they have done to deserve the World Cup group draw they have been handed. They find themselves up against England, Italy and Uruguay, three teams who would all have had an eye on a number one - or at worst number two - seeding in the old draw system. The task to progress is therefore even greater than the Central American side may have anticipated but who knows what can happen in the funny old world of football? Costa Rica kick off their tournament campaign later today against Uruguay so it seemed an appropriate time to look at just one of the country's popular dishes.

Costa Rican Higado en Salsa (Beef Liver in Sauce) Recipe

One thing Costa Rica can certainly bring to the World Cup table - irrespective of their realistic chances of progressing beyond the group stages - is some tasty food recipes. This is a dish (associated with a few countries in the region) which I selected for a number of reasons, including its simplicity and speed of preparation, for when you'd rather be watching the games than spending time in the kitchen. As always, I've added my own little minor twist or two. 
Rice is briefly stirred through melted butter

Ingredients (One Large Serving)

3 ounces basmati or long grain rice
1 ounce (1/4 stick) butter
6 fluid ounces fresh beef stock
8 ounce can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons Worcester sauce
Few drops of Tabasco sauce (remember to be very careful with this ingredient - it is hot!)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Handful of mixed sliced bell peppers (capsicums)
1/2 small white onion, peeled and sliced
6 ounces beef or ox liver
Salt and pepper
4 or 5 large basil leaves (rolled and shredded), to garnish

Rice and beef stock ready for covering and baking


Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Pour the beef stock in to a small saucepan and gently heat. Transfer temporarily to a heatproof jug.

Melt the butter in the same pan while you wash the rice under cold water through a sieve. Add the rice to the butter and stir around over a low heat for a couple of minutes, just until the grains start to turn a little bit transluscent.

Put the rice in to a small casserole dish, spread evenly over the base and carefully pour in the beef stock. Put the lid on the dish and bake in the oven for twenty-five minutes.

Spicy tomato sauce ingredients

Add the canned tomatoes, garlic cloves, Worcester sauce and Tabasco sauce to a food processor/blender and blitz until smooth.

A few minutes before the rice is due to come out of the oven, heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and sautee the peppers and onion for a couple of minutes.

Sauteeing peppers and onion

Pour the spicy tomato sauce in to the vegetables and bring to a very gentle simmer, stirring frequently.

Soicy tomato sauce is added to sauteed peppers and onion

The beef/ox liver should be chopped to approximately one inch cubes.

Fresh beef or ox liver

Take the rice from the oven and let it sit for five minutes before gently fluffing with a fork.

Baked rice is fluffed up with a fork

While the rice is resting for the five minutes, add the beef liver to the tomato sauce, stir and simmer for four minutes. This should see the liver cooked to perfection.

Beef liver is added to spicy tomato sauce and vegetables

Spoon the rice around the edges of a serving plate to form a containing border for the liver in sauce. as shown below.

Rice border is formed on serving plate

Taste the higado en salsa and adjust the seasoning as required. The liver in sauce can then be carefully spooned in to the centre of the plate and garnished with the basil to serve.

Higado en Salsa is spooned in to centre of serving plate

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