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If you have been following my recipes, by now you will realize that I don't use any package seasoning like consomé or bouillon. I try to stay away from products that have extra additives and I try to keep my cooking as natural and simple as possible. An additive found in many complete seasonings in the market is Monosodium Glutamate, which has been linked to side effects and reactions like headaches and skin allergies. So I just don't bother to use it, and I don't see the need for it.
Also by now, you may have noticed that most of my recipes have the same spices over and over again. Mostly oregano, garlic, onion, cumin and pepper, and somehow every dish takes different and amazing. Doing a good combinations of this spices is all you need to give flavour to a dish.
Since I use the same spices in most of my dishes, I decided to create my own complete seasoning, that has a good balance in flavors and it is an easy way to get all the flavors that I want on a dish at once.
This particular mix, called Meli's Complete Seasoning, is a special mix of flavors that you will find in most of Costa Rica dishes. So give it a try and next time you are making a Gallo Pinto, just add this seasoning and salt and you will be good to go!.
This seasoning is especially good to cook cesina (flank steak) that is the meat use in Olla de Carne and Carne en Salsa. So what better way to try it than making some Carne en Salsa. His is a very traditional dish and one of the main ingredients in a meat casado*. I grew up eating carne en salsa, with rice and beans. Out of the many casado variations, Carne en Sale is definitely my all time favorite.
Casado (Spanish, "married man") is a Costa Rican meal consisting on rice, red beans, sweet plantains, picadillo or salad and a protein that may be chicken, beef, pork or fish.
Meli's Complete seasoning
3 tbsp dry oregano
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry ground cumin
1 tsp ground pepper
Mix all the ingredients together and storage in a seal container. Since I live at the beach, in a hot very humid environment, I use my spices in the freezer to keep then fresh and make then last longer.
This seasoning is great for use in tico recipes like beans, rice, picadillos and of course, carne en salsa.
Carne en salsa
For the meat:
1.3kg of flank steak (cesina)
1 tbsp meli's complete seasoning
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
In the pressure cooker, add all the ingredients and enough water to cover the meat. Secure the lid and bring the high pressure over medium high. Once at high pressure, cook for 45 min. Remove from the heat and, carefully open, remove the meat and shred finely. Set aside the broth for the carne en salsa.
This recipe makes extra meat, so you can use it to make picadillos. I use it to make green beans or carrots picadillo.
For the carne en salsa:
1 medium onion
1 big tomato
1 tsp seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cooked and shredded beef
1 cup of meat broth
In a medium pan, add a little bit of oil, onion, tomato, salt and seasoning; cook until the onion is translucent. Add the meat and the broth and mix well. Cook uncover for 10 to 15 min until the juice has reduce in half.
Serve it with rice, beans and sweet plantains
Hi I'm Meli and I love food, I love cooking, I love eating, I love traveling and I love Costa Rica. I want to share a little bit of my culture through my food