Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Thom Driver; Food Styling: Anna Hampton
Active Time
1 Hour 50 Mins
Total Time
13 Hours
Yield
Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cup beans, 2/3 cup meat, 1 arepa, 5 plantain slices)

We know, the ingredient list looks a little intimidating… but pulling together the various components of this dish is actually not all that difficult if you plan ahead, and you should have no problem finding most of the ingredients at your local Mexican market. “Paisa” refers to the Paisa region of Colombia, and “bandeja” means “platter,” as this dish is intended to be served on a platter, given its size. This incredible spread includes a little (i.e. a lot) of everything—crispy, fatty pork belly, hogao (a traditional Colombian condiment often served with beef—it’s similar to a delicately sweet tomato-onion jam), saucy red beans, beef, chorizo, cheesy arepas, caramelized plantains, and fried eggs. Just a few helpful tips for creating this immaculate Colombian feast: Be sure to buy ripe plantains; they should be mostly black, with just a few yellow spots, if any. If you can’t find asadero cheese, substitute queso blanco or even mozzarella instead. And finally, prepping the means, meats, hogao, and pork belly a day ahead (and reheating when ready to serve) might be your best strategy for tackling the meal. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the Chicharrones: Place pork belly on a rimmed baking sheet. Stir together salt, sugar and cumin; rub evenly on pork. Wrap pork in plastic wrap, and chill 6 to 12 hours.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 425°F. Unwrap pork, and place, fat side up, on a lightly greased wire rack. Place rack in a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Step 3

Reduce oven temperature to 250°F, and cook until pork is tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Step 4

Cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Wrap pork in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Step 5

Cut pork into 4 strips. Cut 3/4-inch deep slits crosswise in pork at 1-inch intervals. Heat a large skillet over medium. Cook pork until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes per side.

Step 6

Prepare the Hogao: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onions, bell pepper, and achiote paste; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have broken down and thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro.

Step 7

Prepare the Frijoles Rojos: Place beans in a medium bowl; add water to cover by at least 2 inches. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Step 8

Drain beans. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low. Add pork belly; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in beans, broth, Hogao, cumin, and salt. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 4 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours, adding water, 1 cup at a time, if mixture becomes too thick.

Step 9

Prepare the Carne Molida: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add beef; cook, stirring to break into pieces, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in Hogao, salt, and cumin; cook, stirring often, until well combined and heated through, about 2 minutes.

Step 10

Prepare the Chorizo: Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Cook chorizo links, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Step 11

Prepare the Arepas: Combine masarepa, cheese, water, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough is smooth. (Dough will look soupy, but will firm up after standing.) Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Step 12

Shape dough into 4 (4-ounce) balls. Gently flatten each into a 1/2-inch-thick disk (about 3 1/2 inches in diameter). Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Cook arepas until golden brown and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side.

Step 13

Prepare the Tajadas de Plátano: Cut plantains diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook plantains, in batches, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.

Step 14

Prepare the Huevos Fritos: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Break eggs into pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until whites are set and starting to brown around edges, 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 15

Evenly divide Chicharrones, Frijoles Rojos, Carne Molida, Chorizo, Arepas, Tajadas de Plátano, Huevos Fritos, rice, avocados, and remaining Hogao among 4 platters. Garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.

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