Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Costa Rican Thanksgiving

Cross cultural exchange is one of the things we value here at Costa Rica Outward Bound: both learning about someone else's culture and sharing our traditions with others.

This week is Thanksgiving, and us gringos here on base are excitedly preparing a Thanksgiving dinner that we can share with our Tico friends. However, it's not always easy to find traditional Thanksgiving ingredients here, so we've been adapting our family recipes using more easily found, local ingredients.

Here's a traditional Thanksgiving favorite from one of our staff,  with a Tico twist:

Platano Casserole with Oatmeal Cookie Topping
The original recipe called for sweet potatoes, but platanos (plantains) are much cheaper and more abundant here in Costa Rica so they have been substituted for this Tico Thanksgiving!

7 large ripe Plantains (platanos maduros)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger-root
2 teaspoons salt

For topping
Fourteen 3-inch crisp oatmeal cookies, broken into pieces (about 3 cups),
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 450°F. and butter a baking dish, 13 by 9 by 2 inches. Prick potatoes and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet in middle of oven until very soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Scoop flesh into a large bowl and mash with butter, sugar, juice, marmalade, ginger-root, and salt. Spread potato mixture evenly in baking dish. Potato mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring potato mixture to room temperature before proceeding.

Make topping:
In a food processor grind cookies fine. Add butter and pulse motor until mixture resembles soft cookie dough. Wrap topping in wax paper and chill until firm, about 2 hours. Topping may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Crumble topping over potato mixture and bake in middle of oven until topping is browned lightly, about 25 minutes

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