Many years ago I made the faux pas of serving ponche(traditional Mexican hot fruit punch) on a day other than Christmas or New Year’s Day. The deer barbacoa I made was delicious but sadly, was upstaged by this grievous social error.

So, I hesitate to share this tricked-out recipe of a traditional Nicaraguan dish, but, I promised recipes, it was super tasty, and Felipe’s favorite chili is habanero.

Carne in Salsa Habanero

1 pound carne, this means beef in Nicaragua.

You can buy frozen beef in most small neighborhood stores, but, it will be a random chuck of something called carne(tougher) or lomo(softer). Even as a butcher I’m usually guessing what cut I ended up with, I think this was rump.

1 small onion, one clove garlic, one habanero, one green pepper, all sliced thin

1 cup steamed, chopped dark greens

A goodly splash of Worcestershire

1 cup of sour cream

A couple Tbls butter

1 cup sliced sauteed mushrooms.

I have to use canned, fresh mushrooms aren’t available in my town. Even though they suck, I love mushrooms so much I have them every once in a while, especially if they’re slathered in sour cream.

Cut the carne into chunks or slices saute with some butter. Splash it with the Lea and Perrins. In Nicaragua, brand = name.  Pull it out when you’re happy with the temperature. Saute all the raw veggies in the meaty butter pan juice. I like to start with the onion and garlic, then add the chili, green pepper, so they’re a little crisper. Put the meat back, and add the chopped, cooked dark greens. You could saute them with the rest of the veggies, but I don’t like how much fluid they release. It waters down the sour cream, which you add last, stir and warm it all up. Yum!

It’s generally served with rice but would make a fine taco.

Here’s a more traditional take.

This sauce is also served on chicken breast, and I think most deliciously titlilies(chicken gizzards) stewed until very tender.


Do you have traditional dishes that are sacrosanct?

I’d love to hear your take on breaking with tradition.