Pabellón Criollo

Our guest Chef Alejandra Schrader​ shares her recipe to create a spectacular Pabellón Criollo, Venezuela’s national dish.

  • Servings 2-4
  • 3 hrs.
  • Medium



For the Carne Mechada:

  • 2 tsp. coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp. smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp. ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. Black Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 lbs. Flank Steak
  • 1 brown Onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 large Green Bell Pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 large Roma Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 6-oz. can organic Tomato Paste, diluted in 1/2 cup Water

For the Arroz Blanco:

  • 2 cups White Rice
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, whole
  • 4 cups Water
  • 2 tsp. coarse Sea Salt

For the Caraotas (Black Beans):

  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Scallion Whites, chopped
  • ½ cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 15-oz cans of Black Beans, undrained
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. Annatto powder
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. coarse Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed Orange Juice

For the Platanos (Fried Plantains):

  • 2 ripe Plantains (must be very ripe with black stripes on the skin)
  • 2 cups of Grape Seed Oil (or as needed to cover about ½ inch of a frying pan)


For the Carne Mechada:

  1. In a bowl, whisk paprika, cumin, turmeric, black pepper and sea salt with a drizzle of olive oil. Place beef in bowl and marinade, spreading all over with your hands. Beef may marinade overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven at 375˚ F.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear beef until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pot and place on platter.
  4. Add sliced onions to Dutch oven and cook for about 6 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and peppers; stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Return beef to pot, placing on top of vegetables; add tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  5. Cover Dutch oven with lid and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours. Remove from oven and let it cool down. Using a fork or two, break beef apart completely until thin strands incorporate with sauce.
  6. You may return pot to the stovetop and cook on low heat, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes to reduce sauce to desired consistency.

For the Arroz Blanco:

  1. Rinse rice thoroughly with water until liquid runs clear. Strain as much as possible and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add garlic and saute garlic for a couple of minutes. Pour rice in the pot and stir with wooden spoon until rice has been coated with oil. Add salt and water; stir gently and increase heat to medium-high-high to bring water to a boil.
  3. When water boils, reduce heat to low, stir gently, and cover with lid. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice has absorbed all water and is cooked through. Depending on the rice, you may need to cook for a few more minutes. Turn heat off and keep pot on stove, allowing rice to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

For the Caraotas (Black Beans):

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add scallions and bell peppers and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add black beans, stock, cumin, annatto, garlic powder, salt, and lemon juice.
  2. Stir until all ingredients have incorporated and simmer, uncovered, on low heat for about 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced.

For the Platanos (Fried Plantains):

  1. Peel plantains and cut in half, then into slices about ¼” thick.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook plantain slices until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper town to drain extra oil. This may be done in batches to avoid over-crowding pan.

Pro Tips

Serve beef, rice, black beans, and plantains on a plate with a small to medium arepa.


Gingerbread Molasses Cookies

Cookie-baking time! Make these delicious molasses gingerbread cookies, inspired by the Mexican ‘marranito’ cookies.

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