Making Authentic Costa Rican Chicharrones in the Rainforest

 

Wood-burning Stove in Ana’s Kitchen

 

We spent a magical weekend in Monteverde with our new friends, the Zuniga family.  Meeting Ana, Monica’s cousin’s boyfriend’s mom, was one of the true highlights of the trip.  Ana showed us how to make Costa Rican chicharrones in her amazing kitchen in the middle of the rainforest.

In the short time we spent with Ana, her generosity, confidence, and skill impressed us.  Her skillful hands moved quickly and precisely, like a well-rehearsed professional.  She made cooking for 16 hungry people look easy.

Ana had 5 children.   Her oldest son died of cancer 14 years ago at the age of 21.  She supplements her husbands income by selling handmade fabric bags for $12 – $16 each.  The simpler bags take her about 8 days to complete, while the more intricate ones can take up to 1 month.

If you would like to buy one of these bags from Ana, please email me at spencer@lostandfoundfamily.com.

Ana tells us there are 2 versions of chicharones: one made with the pork skin, the other with the pork meat.  The following is of the meat variety.

Chicharones Ingredients:
Pork (about 5 lbs chopped)
Garlic (8 cloves, chopped)
Oregano (about a handful, chopped)
Rosemary (about a handful, chopped)
Achiote Paste (about 1 tbs)
Cooking oil (about 1/2 cup)
Salt

Chicharones Directions:
Heat cooking oil in large pot.
Add achiote paste and chopped garlic.
Add chopped pork about 30 seconds later, and stir.
Cook pork on high for about 5 minutes.
Add chopped oregano and rosemary, and stir.
Cook pork until done.
Salt to taste.

Cabbage Salad:
Chopped cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and cilantro, tossed in lemon juice.

Yuca:
Boiled yuca salted to taste.

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