I have been BEGGING my mom to make her DEE-Licious encebollado for a couple of years now. I’ve come to the conclusion that her stove may have run away from home and afraid she might be living on microwavable food since not even my sisters have been graced with the presence of one of her dishes for some time now. Her cop-out… “you’re all grown, cook for yourself!” then turns into the female version of the Abominable Snowman “grr… you cook, me sleep, get out, get out, I’m not listening. Grr” And then gives that infamous stare… the one from the scene of the Exorcist movie (when she’s sitting in the chair, hypnotized by the Dr., looks up and grabs him by the chestnuts) Yeah… the one she used on all my boyfriends to scare them away. That’s mommie. A true Puerto Rican down to her temper and stare! So she doesn’t want to cook my sisters and I some Encebollado? Fine!… I make it myself.
Okay, enough about the coolest and meanest Puerto Rican mom I know. Onto the food…
Encebollado de atún is a typical soup from the coastal region in Ecuador. It actually translates to “tuna onion soup” I’m sure many Latin American families have various names for this dish. Encebollado is made with fresh a “Ajo” base, fresh tuna, yuca, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and is served with a curtido salad on top or mixed in with the soup, the curtido is what gives it the name “Encebollado”
The dish itself is very versatile. You can make it with just about any fish you like. I’ve made it with Stripped Bass and it’s out of this world!
Now, the one question I know you all have is “What the heck is Yuca!” Maybe some of you guys might know the little Angel by it’s other names; cassava, yuca, mogo, manioc, mandioca, and kamoteng kahoy. And if you think you can’t find it in your local grocer, think again. Chances are you walked by it a gazillion times! If it’s not in your veggie isle, I’ll put 2 kudos down that it’s in the freezer isle.
Wondering how healthy this little Angel is? Just check this site for yourself! Instead of eating that dreadful potato, get yourself some yuca!
Now let’s get down to business…
Encebollado de Atún con Curtido – Tuna and Yuca Stew with Onion Citrus Salsa: Serves 4 to 6
Let’s get your ingredient’s together…
- 3 lbs Tuna (fresh, not from the can)
- 2 lbs Yuca / Cassava – For the sake of this post I purchased frozen yuca
- 2 Large Tomatoes
- 1 Large Yellow Onion
- 1 Cubanelle Pepper
- 3/4 cups Fresh Chopped Cilantro w/sprigs
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 4 Chopped Garlic Cloves
- 2 tbsp Sea Salt
- 2 tbsp Achiote oil / Annato Oil
- 1 tsp Sweet Paprika
- Zest of one Lemon
- 36oz Fish Broth or Clam Juice
- 3 Qts Water
- 2 Red/Purple Onions Sliced (for curtido salsa)
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt (for curtido salsa)
- Juice of 4 lemons (for curtido salsa)
- 1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Step 1 – We’re going to make the refrito / ajo mix. Chop up 1 tomato, 1 yellow onion, cubanelle pepper and 1/2 cup cilantro
Step 2 - In food processor add refrito mix along with the garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse about 15 times. This is called ‘Ajo’. It’s to Ecuadorians what Sofrito is to Puerto Ricans.
Step 3 – In a large pot saute ajo and achiote oil for about 5 minutes.
Step 4 – Add Paprika, lemon zest. Cook for 2 min.
Step 5 – Add fish broth and water. Bring to boil.
Step 6 – Chop tuna or don’t. It’s up to you. Cook in broth for no more than 10 min.
Step 7 – Remove fish from broth. Store in airtight container. Chop yuca and boil in broth for 30 minutes. Fresh yuca boil for 45 min. Boil until fork tender
Step 8 – In the meantime, make your curtido salsa with the ingredients in this list. 1 large tomato, 2 red onions, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and 1 tbsp salt. Set aside
30 minutes later your yuca and broth should have changed in color and texture.
Now we’re ready to start putting everything together. Find a spacious area to work in. Get your tuna, curtido salsa and the LARGEST serving bowl you can find. Keep everything close by or this will get messy.
Step 9 - Scoop yuca ONLY into serving bowl. Add 1/4 of the curtido salsa and mix.
Step 10 – In the container the tuna is in. Mix 1/4 of the curtido salsa and mix. Crumble the tuna if desired. Then layer the tuna mix right above the yuca in the serving bowl.
Step 11 – Add 2 cups broth over the mix. Reserve the rest of the broth for serving. My sisters, family members and kids like to add extra broth after serving into a dish.
Step 12 - Garnish with remaining Curtido and let sit for 10-15 min.
That’s it! Seems like a lot of work for a little pleasure eh? When you serve this, try to scoop from the bottom since this is arranged in layers. Garnish with some avocado if you wish.