Pobellon criollo is a mélange of beans, beef and rice that is traditionally cooked in Venezuelan cuisine and widely served in whole of Caribbean. Being one of the commonly cooked dishes of Venezuela, many people regard it the Venezuelan National dish.
A dish with several variations all over the world, it exhibits a perfect balance of flavors acquired by the ingredients that even provide a colorful visual appeal to the dish.
History of Pabellon Criollo Recipe
The exact origin of Pabellon Criollo is still mystifying, but it is believed that since 19th century this dish has been a representative dish of Caracas, Venezuela. This quintenssial dish has been associated with the natives of Venezuela since its origin and has undergone minor variations throughout the history in different parts of the country. But it still retains the inimitable essence of the Venezuelan cuisine.
Since colonization in the country, beans and rice have been a part of the daily urban diet. Therefore, this dish, a combination of beans and rice, truly represents the food tradition of Venezuelans.
Ingredients and Preparation Overview of Pabellon Criollo
Pabellon Criollo mainly consists of shredded beef, white rice, sliced plantains and particularly black beans. All these ingredients are considered the ornamental components of the dish that provide flavor as well as aroma, and a unique color combination to the dish.
Typically, very white rice is incorporated in Pabellon, as this rice is the specialty of the Venezuela that is often steamed with garlic, onion and sweet pepper.
The beans used are deep black in color. Beans are often impregnated with cumin, garlic, clove, onion and salt. While boiling, these ingredients impart an intense flavor to the beans. Smoked pork may be added to the boiling water with beans for extra flavor, but pork is used only as a flavor enhancer, it is not served on the plate. When cooked, the beans can be used along with the stock, or can be drained before combining with other components.
For shredded beef, the beef steak is boiled with salt and onions until meat is tender and able to pull away easily with hands. The cooked meat can either be finely chopped or shredded coarsely. Subsequently, the meat is stir-fried with annatto (a combination of chopped sweet pepper, onion and sautéed minced garlic). Chopped tomatoes may also be added with meat and simmered until meat releases all its juices and attains a red color.
Finally, the plate is arranged with all the components placed decoratively. The slices of fried plantain are placed on the sides of the plate and often a fried egg is topped above all. The distinctive colors of white rice, black beans, red meat and golden plantains offer a unique visual appeal that appears as a perfect sunset view.
Variations of Pabellon Criollo
Few variations are prepared in different cuisines with shredded meat or fish, as during the festival of Lent, the Roman Catholics are restricted to eat beef.
The long fried plantains served on the sides of the plate are humourously said to prevent food from spilling off from the serving plate.