Sunday, October 16, 2011

Venezuelan Pepito, Guasacaca, Salsa de Ajo Paired with 2009 Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Venezuelan Pepito

It is Sunday, my beloved Patriots are preparing to humiliate the Cowboys, and I am bringing you another great football food wine pairing.  This is my second pairing of Venezuelan street food and features one of the most popular street food sandwiches in Venezuela.  Next to the arepa (see my prior post “Venezuelan Arepas with Reina Pepiada and Pollo Mechado Paired with 2009 Benziger Family Winery Carneros Chardonnay”) and possibly empanadas, pepitos are the most common and favorite among those who love street food in Venezuela.

With sauces that typically include guasacaca (don’t you just love to say that?) and salsa de ajo (garlic sauce), this famous Venezuelan sandwich is full of well balanced flavor and a clear favorite of late night revelers in Caracas – and everyone in Caracas is a night owl.

Pepitos are constructed with either chicken or steak on a bed of lettuce and diced tomato in a hoagie like roll which is then topped with guasacaca, salsa de ajo, and other sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise if you care to add them.  Other options include a slice of ham and a fried egg.  I prepared two versions with my favorite ingredients; both with guasacaca (come on, say it three times and smile) and salsa de ajo, one with the ham and egg, and one without.

Venezuelan Pepito-1

Chef Sue was the only one in the house with first hand experience of a pepito.  The smile on her face was all I needed to know that I had faithfully recreated our fond adventures in Venezuela.  She was particularly impressed with how well I hit the mark with the guasacaca and salsa de ajo.  Success!

I paired our Venezuelan delight with a 2009 Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay.  We found this wine to offer complex aromas of citrus, pear, and lime with vibrant floral tones. The flavors echoed the aromas nicely with a nice touch of citrus, melon, butter and vanilla.

2009 Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay

The pairing was a pleasure.  Who says street food is not up to a good wine pairing?  The 2009 Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay worked particularly well with the chicken and matched the body of the sandwich perfectly.  The citrus flavors complimented the acidity in the guasacaca nicely, and the creamy buttery finish left us hustling for the next delicious bite.

It is early in the day, so I expect you to make a quick trip to the grocery, gather your ingredients, pull a bottle of 2009 Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay off the rack, and settle in to cheer on the Patriots.  You should also repeat the word “guasacaca” a few times and nod your head toward Venezuela in acknowledgement of the creators of this wonderful sandwich.

2009 Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay-1

Finally, I know I have some Venezuelan friends and readers.  I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on this pepito recreation.  I know you prefer a Polarcita and baseball with your pepito, but hey, the wine worked!

Recipes

Guasacaca

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, cleaned, deveined, and chopped 
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • A third cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Continue blending and drizzle in the oil until fully combined and smooth.
  3. Let stand and serve at room temperature.

Salsa de Ajo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper cleaned, deveined and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 of a medium onion chopped
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Salsa de ajo is best served from a squeeze bottle so you get a nice squiggly line of garlic goodness on top of your pepito.

Pepito

Ingredients

  • 4 hoagie-type bread rolls
  • 1 pound chicken breast cut in half crosswise then sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (also known as salsa negra in Venezuela)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 diced tomato
  • Guasacaca
  • Salsa de ajo
  • Crushed ruffles potato chips
  • Four pieces of thinly sliced sandwich ham (one per sandwich - optional)
  • 2 fried eggs per sandwich (optional)

Preparation

  1. Over high heat, sauté the chicken until it about half cooked.
  2. Add the garlic, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Construct the sandwich with a bed of shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Add the chicken and drizzle with guasacaca and salsa de ajo. Top with crushed potato chips. Ruffles with ridges are standard in Venezuela.
  5. Optionally, add a slice of thin sliced deli ham and two fried eggs. The hoagie rolls should be long enough to support two eggs.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.

Craig

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