Casado with Cabbage Salad and Stewed Pork

Casado with Cabbage Salad and Stewed Pork

Casado is not so much a dish as it is a meal. In Costa Rica lunch is typically the largest meal of the day, and the casado plate is a popular option.

The origins are a bit cloudy, as they often are, but the word translates directly to “married,” or “married man.” Casado is a mixed plate, typically with rice and beans plus some sort of meat and vegetables or other starches. One idea is that these plates were created to mimic the sort of homemade meals that a married man, with a wife back home to cook for him, might enjoy. Another theory is that these plates are based on the lunches that wives would pack for their husbands, lovingly wrapped in a banana leaf, when they went off to their jobs as laborers. Or it may simply refer to the marrying of a variety of dishes on a single plate. Regardless of the actual origin, what you have is a large plate perfect for dinner or a hearty lunch. Just make sure you have time for a nap afterward.

What I have for you here is actually two recipes for Costa Rican dishes that you can use to fill out a casado plate: a Costa Rican cabbage salad and a recipe for stewed pork. You’ll have to figure out your own recipes for fried plantains, rice, and beans to make the full plate, but I believe in you.

Enjoy it for lunch or dinner and, if you have leftovers, use the rice and beans to whip up some gallo pinto the next morning.


casado plate


Casado Plate:

Costa Rican Cabbage Salad

½ head of cabbage
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
¼ cup cilantro, packed and minced (~½ bunch)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
½ cup roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

Slice the cabbage in half and cut out the stem. Slice one half as thinly as possible and further slice into 3-inch segments.

In a large salad bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, minced cilantro, and tomatoes. Add the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and red pepper flakes.

Toss the salad and allow it to wilt for around 30 minutes before serving.

Costa Rican Stewed Pork

2 lbs. pork stew meat
½ cup finely chopped cilantro (~1 bunch)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp black pepper
Salt, to taste

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add a splash of oil and then toss in the pork stew meat as well as the oregano and black pepper. Sear the pork until browned on all sides.

Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, and lime. Add water to just cover, and simmer, uncovered, until the pork is tender and the water is reduced by half or more, around 45 minutes.

Add salt to taste.

Serve with fried plantains, rice, and beans.



Related Recipes:

Gallo Pinto

Olla de Carne

Tres Leches Cake

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