Costa Rican Casado

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Costa Rican Casado is a national dish, an entire meal, and a super satisfying meal at that. It is most certainly a “comfort food” repast, with an assortment of delicious entrees presented on each serving plate.

Traditionally Costa Rican Casado was the meal served to newlyweds at the wedding reception. Legend has it, that the newly married couple needed to get to know which kinds of foods each other liked best. So, all sorts of salads, meats, rice, beans and more were presented on one large serving platter. By the time the meal was finished, the bride and groom had a good idea which foods their mate preferred the most.

There are many variation of this meal, but this particular Costa Rican Casado is very much in the traditional mainstream, featuring (the always present) rice and beans, pork loin, salad, plantains, cheese, fried onions, and eggs.

Costa Rican Casado

(Photo Attributed to Author: Richie Diesterheft, from Chicago, IL, USA)

Costa Rican Casado Recipe-

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops, chopped into bite-sized slices
  • 1 cup finely sliced queso fresco cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 white or yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup lamb broth
  • 2 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced in half, lengthwise
  • 1 small head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 red tomato, cored and sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • vinaigrette, for salad dressing
  • 4 cups freshly cooked white rice
  • 4 cups freshly cooked black beans
  • 4 large eggs, prepared to taste (boiled, scrambled, hard or soft fried, it doesn’t matter
  • tortillas, for serving (optional)
Directions:
  1. Season the pork with the minced garlic, salt, and pepper; rub in well, and allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet over medium flame, heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil, and fry the pork slices until nicely browned and cooked through.When the pork is about halfway done, add the sliced onions into the skillet and cook until softened, browned and fragrant.
  3. Remove the pork and onions, placing them in separate bowls and keep them warm in the oven, but leave the cooking juices and drippings in the skillet. “Deglaze” in the same skillet, creating a sauce by adding in 1/2 cup lamb broth. Use a firm spatula to scrape up all the browned bits and mix and stir them well with the broth. Bring it to a boil, and cook, stirring now and then, until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3. Then cut off the heat, pour the sauce into a bowl and keep warm in the oven.
  4. In another skillet, fry the plantain slices over medium flame in just a small amount of oil. Fry until a rich golden brown.
  5. Prepare the salad by combining the shredded lettuce, grated carrot, sliced queso fresco, and tomato slices. Season it with salt and pepper to taste, dress with vinaigrette, and set aside for now.
  6. Lastly, cook the eggs according to each person’s preference. They should still be warm when you put the meal together.
  7. When everything is ready assemble the meal, place all the prepared entrees in an attractive arrangement on each of the four serving plates. If everyone dining is equally hungry, put one-fourth of each entree each of the plates. Pour a little of the deglazing sauce over the pork and onions. If you are serving with tortillas, have them warmed up in the oven ahead of time, and place them on a separate platter on the table where each person can reach them.
  8. Serve your Costa Rican Casado right away. If it is a cold or cool day, a good cup of strong coffee goes well, and on a hot day, serve with some refreshing cold beer!

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