Every Friday after sunset, a house on my block would bring a bare lightbuld to hang outside of their door and a sign that said silpancho made out of a flattened lard can. When I was very little in Cochabamba, my street was a dead end and this silpancho light was the only illumination on the street. My mom would send us out with a plate to buy a silpancho from the lady selling them and we’d take it home to share among the five of us. People would sell silpancho in this way to earn a little extra money and it was so delicious.
I moved to Maine in 2009 and the first thing that I missed was Bolivian food. The first Bolivian recipe that I made for my in-laws was Silpancho and they loved it. So now, silpancho is the favorite dish of both of my families from Maine and Bolivia.
cooking time: 1 hr
1 c. white rice
3 yukon gold potatoes
1 small green pepper, med. diced
1/2 small red onion, med. diced
1 tomato, medium diced
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 lb. ground beef (with the least fat content possible, ideally 90% or more lean, buffalo meat is also delicious)
3/4 c. breadcrumbs
handful of Quillquiña leaves (or cilantro)
First, get 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water heating on the stove. Also put 3 whole potatoes on to boil for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, you’ll slice them like this (notice the insides are still raw). You’re going to finish cooking them in a frying pan.
Massage salt and pepper into the ground beef with your hands. Then you divide the ground beef into balls the size of limes. Sprinkle ground pepper onto a of a pile of breadcrumbs and then roll the beef in the bread crumbs to give it a light coating.
Coat each side the meat with breadcrumbs and roll flat with a rolling pin on top of the breadcrumbs, flipping the meat over whenever it starts to stick.
The final thickness should be like a crepe. Roll each meatball out into a sheet and stack the rolled meat sheets on a plate. Pan sear each on medium high, flipping them when you could see raw pink start to turn brown.
Stack each finished meat sheet on a plate, and then fry eggs individually and brown the potato rounds.
Top the dish with the salad of tomato, red onion, and green pepper. Bright, fresh, and crunchy, it breaks up the richness of the meat, eggs and potatoes. The dressing is equal parts vinegar and oil, plus generous salt.
To put the plate together, put potatoes at the bottom, then rice, the beef, egg and then the salad.
Prepare a nice llajwa (spicy sauce) to go with it!