Little hidden

It’s been over a week since I published here, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been cooking… I actually have been cooking a lot, but nothing Brazilian inspired. Like all other Americans responsible for the Thanksgiving dinner, I made turkey, green beans, potatoes and pecan pie for some friends. But I had a lot of help of my friend Lalita, she is an great cook also. Aaahh, I love to cook with friends and a beer in my hands… And everything was amazing, the food, the mountains and specially the weather at Lake Tahoe where I spent my holiday, where the snow came in the perfect day and time.

Drinking and eating a lot last week made me try to go easy on the food this week. That’s why I thought about showing you another very popular Brazilian dish, that can also be made in the lighter side.

The dish is called escondinho, which literally means “little hidden”. The reason behind the name is because the meat gets hidden underneath purée or mashed potatoes. Cute, right?

This became very popular in bars in Brazil, it’s kinda like an individual appetizer plate. They come in a small bowl and in a diverse variety of flavors: meat with pumpkin purée, chicken with mashed potatoes, fish with cassava purée, etc.. My favorite is carne seca com mandioquinha or dried meat with arracacha, two ingredients very important and largely used in Brazilian culinary, but almost impossible to find here. So that’s why I’m making the chicken and potato version, also delicious, lighter and very easy to find the ingredients over here.

Other ingredient in this dish, the brie spread, is a substitute for the requeijão. Requeijão is the Brazilian cream cheese. It’s a cheese spread but it doesn’t have the sourness of the cream cheese, and it’s a lot more creamy. It’s used here to make the chicken more moist and flavorful. Here in the US a friend of mine found the brie spread that looks and tastes pretty much like the requeijão. Actually I think that tastes better, but don’t let any of my Brazilians friend know that I said that. The recipe would work just fine with regular brie (and a splash of milk), cream cheese, or bèchamel sauce.

Little hidden

Ingredients (for two)

To cook listening to Marisa Monte

Chicken filling

1 Chicken breast

1 Bay leaf

1 Cube of chicken bouillon or 1 liter of chicken broth

2 Shallots or 1/2 small onion

1 Garlic clove

1 Tomato

1/2 Cup of pea

1/2 Brie spread

1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil


Mashed potato

1 Potato

1 Tablespoon of butter

Splash of milk

Salt or Garlic salt

Preheat the oven at 350F degrees.

Cook the chicken in the boiling broth with the bay leaf for 20 minutes or until the meat starts falling apart. Strain the meat and toss the bay leaf, let it cool.

In the meanwhile, peel the potato and cut in pieces and boil for 10 minutes or until the potato is cooked all the way. To know if the potato is ready, stick a fork in it and if it falls out the fork, that means it is all cooked. Strain the water and add the butter, splash the milk and salt, mash the potato and set aside.

If you don’t like the tomato peel like me, remove the peel before cutting the tomato. To do so, place the tomato in boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until the peel starts to fall out. Let it cool down. Remove the peel and the seeds and cut the tomato in small pieces.

Cut the shallots and garlic in small pieces. Shred the chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the shallots and stir fry for a minute, then add the garlic for another minute. Add the shredded chicken. Add the brie spread and stir until it liquefy and gets absorbed by the chicken. Then add the tomato, peas and parsley. Stir and set aside. Adjust salt and pepper.

Divide the chicken filling between two oven safe bowls, just until half way of the bowl. Than cover the chicken with the mashed potato, top with Parmesan cheese and place in the oven on top of a baking sheet for 40 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt. And bom apetite.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 6:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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