Have you ever tried gallo of picadillo de arracache? This is a traditional Costa Rican dish made from a root vegetable called arracacha, whose flavor has been described as “a delicate blend of celery, cabbage, and roasted chestnuts.”
Grown best between 6,000 and 8,000 feet, arracacha was a traditional food of the Incas, originating in the Andes mountains.
This wonderful traditional meal was served during our stay at Hotel Mountain Paradise in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. The resort sits at the bottom of the Arenal Volcano, which you can often see puffing smoke from the open-air dining room (when the clouds aren’t shrouding it).
We enjoyed this special menu item in honor of Anexion Nicoya (Annexation of Guanacaste), an important holiday in Costa Rica.
Gallo of picadillo de arracache is made with a steamed mixture of ground beef, onions, arracache root, and spices. It is delicious served on warm corn tortillas.
If you are unable to find arracacha, you could try substituting parsnip or celery root instead.
If you enjoy Costa Rican cuisine, be sure to try this Gallo Pinto recipe as well!
Gallo of Picadillo de Arracache
- 2 pounds arracacha peeled and chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4-5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups onion finely chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves chopped
- 5 ounces tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
- Next, stir in the cilantro and tomato paste.
- Add the ground beef and chopped arracacha. Add 2 cups of water, cover, and steam for 2-3 minutes.
- Uncover the pan. Simmer until the arracacha is soft. Add cumin, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, so the beef and vegetables are well combined.
- Serve on top of fresh, warm corn tortillas, along with hot sauce.