Merecumbé is my trademark, I chose it back at culinary arts school when I was working on my final project, creating a restarurant. It means a musical rythm, a fusion between Colombian Cumbia and the Merengue of the Caribbean. In Panama, my country, it has different connotations, usually referring to things that are a mess, but work well together... like jazz. A Merecumbé is likely to start before a bigger problem. In my culinary world everything is possible as long as it remains ordained by tecnique and discipline. It is by those two pilars that I support having the craziness around.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Panamanian Traditional Food: Patacón, Ceviche, Guandú con Coco y Ropa Vieja

     My cousin David and his girlfriend Joy are from Dallas, Texas and wanted to have some real Panamanian food. So I made dinner with Joy, we bought everything fresh from the market and invited my brother and his girlfriend too. We had a lovely evening and a hearty meal. As an appetizer we made sea bass ceviche with patacones, which is fried green plantain. It is typical to make them flat, and eat them just like that;  or you can top them with cheese, such as fresh local cheese like we did. You can also shape them into little buckets and fill them with ceviche and make a great appetizer.

As a main course we made ''arroz con coco y guandu'', which is coconut and green pigeons beans rice, and ''ropa vieja'', which is a brisket stew that translates into old clothes!

One Small Serving!

Arroz con Guandú

Ropa Vieja
2 pounds brisket
1 onion sliced
2 bell peppers sliced
1 cilantro leaf minced
2 cloves garlic minced
4 tomatoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
S + P to taste
Olive oil
1.       In a large pot with water boil brisket about 1 hour.  Drain, let cool and shred with a fork.
2.       Heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until tender and a little golden, add the bell peppers and then the garlic. Immediately add the tomato paste and deglaze, add the tomato cubes, the cilantro and the meat. Cover and lower the heat.
3.       Adjust the seasonings and cook until it’s tender. You may add some of the cooking stock from the brisket.

I hope you enjoy my traditional food!


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