(Special Guest Post by Morena Cuadra – author of a successful Peruvian food blog and a brand new cookbook coming out. This also oddly marks the 2nd post we’ve done on the Peruvian culture so far (remember the chicken parties?). Let me know if you like budget recipes like this and we’ll do more :))
To cook on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on good food. What it does mean, is that you will need to get your creative muscles working, and come up with good ideas to keep your family well fed and satisfied.
We marvel at the skill of home cooks who have enticing food on the table even when they don’t have much money to spare. In Peru we see this all the time. And some of the most delicious recipes of our culinary repertoire have been created out of pure necessity, using everything on hand to make tasty dishes that also look good. After all, you eat with your eyes too.
Arroz Tapado is one of those easy, delicious, and versatile dishes, that is also kind to your budget. To make things better, it’s the perfect meal to prepare with those veggies dying in the fridge too, saving you an extra grocery shopping spree (and saves on gas/bus/subway/etc).
Ground beef is the traditional filling, but chicken, canned tuna, canned salmon, vegetables (fresh or frozen), pork, or any other filling can be used. White fluffy rice is the usual base, or you may want to use brown rice, leftover quinoa, couscous or barley. You can also add green peas, corn, and finely diced red bell pepper to the rice to make it colorful.
This dish will surprise your palate and your wallet. And there will be enough for leftovers! And here’s a little trick: mix any leftover filling with tomato sauce, and you have an upgraded pasta sauce.
Arroz Tapado (Peruvian Meat-Filled Rice)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup diced carrot (optional)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 cups cooked white fluffy rice
- Parsley for garnish
How To Prepare:
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic, stirring a couple of times. When the onion is soft and translucent, add tomato paste and stir for 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef. Cook for 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. If the mixture looks dry, add ½ cup water. It should be saucy.
- Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped carrot, and cook for 3 minutes. Then add raisins, olives, hard-boiled eggs, and parsley. Turn off the heat.
- In an oiled cup or ramekin, make a layer of rice, about 1/3 cup. Then put a layer of the beef mixture, and top with more rice. Put a plate over the ramekin and turn upside-down. Unmold, garnish with parsley, and serve with a nice green salad on the side.
For more cooking inspiration visit: PeruDelights.com
Morena Cuadra and Morena Escardo are the mother/daughter team behind Peru Delights, a blog celebrating the food of their country. With both a traditional perspective and an open mind with a healthy twist, they join their passion for food and writing, on a mission to promote Peru’s increasingly popular food around the world. They are the authors of The Everything Peruvian Cookbook.
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!