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September 26, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: Enjoy The Sights and Flavor Of Central America


Last week I asked: How is a burrito Nicaragua style made?

See recipe below

John and I have been to Nicaragua several times since our first visit in the ’90s.

 Beach with inactive volcano in the background

Beach with inactive volcano in the background

At that time the country was trying to recover from the devastation caused by the conflicts between the socialistic Sandinista junta and the opposition, the U.S.-backed contras.

It wasn’t the first involvement by a group from the United States.

Every school child in Central America learns about William Walker, an American who invaded Nicaragua with his private army.

Walker became president of Nicaragua from 1856 to 1857.

Conception Volcano on Omepete Island

Conception Volcano on Omepete Island

We visited the local museum where money issued by Walker during his administration is on display.

Around the same time, Cornelius Vanderbilt considered building a canal connecting the natural waterways between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Instead, the Panama Canal was built.

In 2016 a Chinese tycoon started to build a canal across Nicaragua; but work is at a standstill.

The Rio San Juan connects the Atlantic Ocean with Lake Nicaragua and from there it is only a short distance to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific.

Lorena making burrito

Lorena making burrito

Hopes for a new Nicaraguan canal spurred hopes for increased tourism on the projected route including Ometepe Island.

Ometepe is home to twin volcanoes connected by a narrow isthmus.

In December,  John and I visited the island which is accessed by ferry from Rivas.

The island is popular with nature-lovers.

We stayed at Xalli Beach Hotel located on the isthmus with views of both volcanoes.

 Lorena with Burrito

Lorena with Burrito

It was just a few steps down to the long beach on the Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America.

Xalli, whenever possible, buys organic and locally-grown produce.

It ensures freshness and helps the local farming community.

I loved the chicken burritos and asked the cook, Lorena Alvarez, to share the recipe with me.

She showed me how to make burritos and gallo pinto Nicaraguense with Pedro Centeno, the manager, translating.

Most likely the burrito originated in Mexico and spread throughout the Americas with each area making their own adaption.

Burrito plated

Burrito plated

The word “burrito” means “little donkey” and possibly referred to the bedrolls carried by the donkeys.

Chicken Burroitos

1 large tomato – diced

1 small green pepper – diced

1 small onion – diced

1 tsp cilantro – diced

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon juice

12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded or diced

¾ cup cheese – shredded (cheddar or white Nicaragua cheese)

Salt and pepper

Small 2. burrito ingredients

Mix tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro, oil, and lemon juice in a bowl add salt and pepper to taste.

On each tortilla add place two tablespoons of chicken, two tablespoons of veggie mix, top with cheese.

Fold.

Lightly oil a pan.

Grill burritos about one minute each side.

Ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and assembled when ready to eat.

Assembled burritos can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for several hours.

Serve with gallo pinto and /or sour cream.

Gallo Pinto Nicaraguense

1 lb rice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup onions, finely diced

1 can small red kidney beans (Goya sells Central America Beans)

1 green pepper, finely diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice, set aside.

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto

In frying pan, add oil, sauté onions over medium heat until onions are translucent.

Add beans with liquid.

Mash beans a little to add aroma and color.

Add green pepper.

Sauté about two minutes.

Add rice, sauté about two to three minutes.

Can be refrigerated for later use.

Trivia Tease™: Where did F. W. Woolworth get his ideas for his future five-cent stores?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

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