Nicaraguan salpicón is simply minced meat mixed with onion, bell pepper, and lime. With just four ingredients, it's incredibly simple ... but also incredibly delicious.
My family recipe, a traditional Nicaraguan recipe, requires very little prep and cooking time. That means it's the perfect dish to make ahead, especially because it is served cold with hot white rice.
Spanish and Latin American countries each have their own version of salpicón, but they are all similar in concept — as the word salpicón means "hodgepodge" or "medley" in Spanish. Salpicon recipes from Honduras might include adding Naranja Agria (bitter orange) and garlic. In Mexico and Central America, a salpicón recipe might include avocados and serrano peppers.
- 1 to 2 pounds of pot roast or eye-of-round, cut into two-inch squares
- 1 medium onion (dice half and slice the other half)
- 1 large bell pepper, sliced
- 3 to 5 limes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place your meat in a medium saucepan. Add sliced onions and peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Add water until the meat is covered.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat for about 20 minutes. Skim and discard any foam that forms as the meat boils. Remove the meat from the pot, but leave behind the onions and peppers and discard the cooked vegetables and liquid.
- Let meat cool for 10 minutes or so, then place meat in a food processor and pulse to grind. You might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your food processor. I have also used a handheld immersion blender and a regular blender to grind the meat.
- Transfer meat to bowl then add salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste. (I prefer to really taste the lime so I add a lot — you might like less!)
- Stir in the diced onions (or use it as a topping if you'd prefer. My son has an aversion to all onions except onion rings, so I leave the onions as a topping.)
Salpicón is traditionally served cold so I place it in the fridge until it is time to eat. The traditional way of serving is over hot rice, with a slice of lime and a corn tortilla.
One of the reasons this dish is so popular is because it is so versatile. Don't want it cold? You can fry the meat up before serving so it gets a nice crunch to it. But if you haven't had it before, I encourage you to try it cold — the mix of hot rice and cold meat is so good!
You can also use the meat as a topping on a tostada (fried tortilla) or as taco filling. My husband is eating low carb and I serve him this with cauliflower rice and sliced avocados.
No matter how we serve salpicón, it is always a hit with my family!