Notes: Rundown also known as Rondon is a stew in Jamaican cuisine. The traditional Jamaican dish is eaten in several Latin American countries that share a coast with the Caribbean Sea.
Normally it consists of a stew made up of reduced coconut milk with different types of seafood (fish, crabs, small lobsters or shellfish), plantain, yam, tomato, onion and seasonings. Rundown is typically available in Jamaican restaurants and it is a common dish in the Antiles, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Venezuela too.
For us this dish has a special significance for a few reasons. Our owner Michael Katz had a version of the dish served in a vegan variation while visiting a permaculture farm on the Caribean coast. The farm version did not use the seafood normally used for this dish and highlighted root vegetables instead. That is what we wanted to recreate for our version here at Alma de Amon. It is the first dish put on the menu with our new direction of focusing on healthy ingredients and indigenous cuisine.
Preparation: Malanga, Nampi, Camote and Yuca are cut into cubes and mixed with thyme, chile panameno, coconut milk and turmeric are all put into a pot and cooked. The starch from the vegetables helps to thicken the reduced coconut milk. The dish is garnished with Cilantro oil and Crispy Yuca sticks.
Country: Jamaica, Caribbean
Notes: This is by far our number one seller here at Alma de Amon. Our Rice and Beans con Pollo is a dish that is inspired by the Jamaican style of cooking called Jerk. Jerk is a style of cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Normally Jerk seasoning is very spicy but our version is not as spicy as a traditional Jerk. Historians believe it was originally developed by African slaves who escaped into the wilds of Jamaica adapting to their new surroundings. The former slaves created the spicy sauce and slow cooked the meat over a smoking wood fire. The meat is normally, but not limited to, chicken or pork, and the main ingredients of the spicy jerk marinade sauce are allspice and Scotch bonnet peppers.
Rice and peas is how they say arroz y frijoles in the Caribbean. It is traditionally cooked with coconut milk in the Caribbean which is what we have recreated here as well. The ‘peas’ are the name that refers to the frijoles in the Caribbean. We also add green mango salad to finish up the dish.
Preparation: Our wet marinade is made and chicken thighs are marinated in it. We then bake the chicken in the oven until it’s tender. The rice and beans are made with coconut milk and served on the sides with green mango salad.
Country: Cuba, Dominican Republic
Story: Lechón in Spanish is a pork dish in several regions of the world. Lechón is a Spanish word referring to a roasted suckling pig. It’s a popular food in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The dish is similar to what we serve. Lechon asado is a slow-roasted pork shoulder that is marinated in mojo, a marinade made from sour orange, garlic, onion, oil, and herbs. The ending result is a fall-apart plate of pork that is succulent and luscious, served alongside caramelized onions and topped with even more mojo.
The congri we serve with the lechon is started by cooking onions, garlic, and bell pepper commonly known as a sofrito. To this sofrito are added the white rice and pre-boiled black beans, as well as the water that the beans were boiled in. Other seasonings such as oregano and bay leaf are often added to the dish to give additional flavor. Congri is different from simple arroz con frijoles in that the beans and rice are cooked in the same pot instead of separately. We also serve traditional garnishes with the dish using platano maduro and yuca frita.
Preparation: Cerdo is slow cooked with mojo until very tender. The meat is then shredded and mixed with the mojo and placed on top of congri. The garnishes are fried yucca and platano maduro. Pickled onions garnish the top to finish it off.
Story: Argentina is not only one of the highest consumers of meat out of the Latin countries but they’re also consistently among the top consumers in the world. The quality of beef in Argentina is very high which is another reason why they consume so much beef. Asados in Argentina are the techniques and the social event of having a barbecue. An asado can consist of beef, pork, chicken, chorizo, and morcilla which are cooked on a parrilla. It is safe to say that Asados are the national dish of Argentina.
The Entraña cut of meat is one of great flavor though it isn’t the the most tender cut. It is generally not the most expensive cut of meat nor the cheapest. When cooked and sliced correctly however it becomes as good as any cut of meat on a cow. All of these factors make for a cut that has become very popular when choosing a cut of meat to cook.
The Chorizo in Argentina is not as hard as the Spanish variety or as soft as the Mexican variety and is generally not as spicy as other styles. It is one of the most popular items to grill on the parilla and is almost always included in asados. At Alma, we serve grilled vegetables added to the asado.
Preparation: Chimichurri is used to marinate the Entraña before cooking. Then the chorizo, Entraña and vegetables are grilled separately until finished. Finally, it is placed on a wooden board and served with chimichurri.