Comida Tipica (local food)

It’s been a pretty low-key week and weekend. Most of my stress this week came from turning in my mid-semester grades, and getting prepared for Semana Santa (holy week). Most jobs (that aren’t service-industry jobs) give their employees the entire week off! Most Costa Rican’s use this time to head to the beach with their families. The school I’m working at has decided not to take this upcoming week off, but the 5th through the 11th. Peter and I are super excited too because we are spending that time in Kansas City, MO and Kerrville, Tx!! We miss our families a lot, so this will be a much needed visit.

Well, since I don’t have anything adventurous to write about, I thought I’d make this week’s blog about cooking some of the wonderful dishes that I have experienced down here. If you know me, you will know that although not physically adventurous, this is still quite an adventure for me!

The first dish I want to write about is something I’ve had called Olla de Carne, which means “meat pot”. I have seen this at lunch at school, and at small restaurants around town. I’ve read that this is a staple in many homes for lunch or dinner. It’s really a type of soup. Just cook and serve with (or over) white rice! Here is the recipe I based my meat pot off of:

If the link doesn’t work for some reason, here is the recipe you will find there!

Now, I should mention that I did not use all of the ingredients listed here. I just used as many veggies as I could find from the list below. My adjustments to the recipes are all in  italics.


2 kg of beef meat prepared with salt and sour orange in big pieces with no fat. (I used chicken because that’s what I had. Both beef and chicken are good though!)
2 corncobs chopped in pieces.
12 cups of water
2 bay leaves
2 chayotes(squash) chopped in four pieces

(I didn’t have corn or bay leaves, so I just had the prepared meat, water, and squash)

Towards the end add:
2 cups of water
250 gr. Of carrots cut into pieces
1 big onion chopped in four
1 sweet and red chile (red chili is a red bell pepper)
3 garlic
1 roll of coriander (cilantro, I loooove cilantro!)
1 branch of celery
4 teaspoons of salt

(I didn’t have celery, but obviously it’s an awesome veggie to have in there)

After taking the meat out and chopping it into small pieces
500 gr. Yuca chopped into pieces
500 gr. potatoes peeled
500 gr. sweet potato peeled chopped into pieces
1 Plantain almost ripe chopped into pieces
500 gr. ripe chayote(squash) with skin chopped into pieces

Lemon (Optional)
Tortilla (Optional
Bread (Optional)


Cooking Pot


In a big bowl heat up the beef, the corncobs the water and the bay leaves. When it starts to boil turn down the heat to minimum, cover the bowl and cook until it gets soft.
Cooking time is approximately 2 hours. Mixing it once in a while. At the end add the chayotes. 2 cups of water, 250 gr. Of carrots cutted in pieces 1 big onion chopped in four, 1 sweet and red chile, 3 garlic, 1 roll of coriander, 1 branch of celery, salt.

Blend all the ingredients and add them. In the moment that it starts to boil again, take out the meat and cut it in to smaller pieces and put it back in to the bowl.

After add the yuca, the potatoes, the sweet potato, and plantain. Let everything boil, approximately for another 30 min. with the bowl covered.

At the very end add the chayote and let it boil for another 10 min.

Remove the bowl from the heat and serve it up.

Suggestion: You can drain the vegetable stock.

For 6 or 8 portions

For the rice, I just did a 2:1 ratio (2 cups water for 1 cup of rice), brought it to a boil, then reduced heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Just make sure it’s in a big enough pot. I am new at making rice, and I didn’t realize that rice GROWS so much! lol.

I love this dish. It’s also very cool because you can drain the broth and use it for other dishes and just eat the meat and veggies with rice and black beans!! Enjoy your taste of Costa Rica!

I should have taken more pics of the process, but now I know for next time!

YUM! Makes me want to eat some right now!

If you are looking for a yummy side dish or desert, I also recommend a local “fruit” (it’s not sweet), called pejibaye. As a side dish you pair it with a dollop of mayo and as a dessert you dip it in honey! Peter and I have tried it both ways and like it both! It is a little bit of an acquired taste at first, but we both really like it. We buy them at the market where they are already boiled.

After they are boiled you cut off each end and peal it.

Next, cut out the seed in the middle.

Last, throw the seed away and enjoy with mayo or honey. You choose!

Hope you enjoyed a small taste of CR with more recipes to come!!

If you choose to make Olla de Carne, let me  know how it turns out!



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