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"There is nothing better on a cold wintry day than a properly made pot pie."--Craig Claiborne

Rondon (Run Down Soup) Recipe

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This recipe for Rondon (Run Down Soup) is from Recipes of Costa Rica, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!


Meats: pork, wild boar, beef, chicken, rabbit, red snapper, sea bass, marlin, lobster, crab, shrimp, squid, and/or octopus
Greens : yucca, green plantain, onion, sweet pepper, spicy pepper such as jalapeño, palm hearts, celery, sweet potato or yampi, thyme
Also: coconuts (or desiccated coconut or canned coconut milk), chicken stock, garlic, salt, black pepper, water

1/2 gal coconut milk
2lb shrimp (shelled)
2lb fish (cleaned and headed)
1/2lb clams or oysters (shelled)
1 doz crabs (whole)
1 doz bananas (peeled and halved)
3lb yucca (aka cassava) (peeled and split, halved)
1lb malanga (peeled and cubed about 1″)
4 green plantains (peeled and halved)
3lb quequisque (aka taro) (peeled and cubed about 1″)
2 seafood bullion cubes
1 chile cabro (or any small, hot pepper)
1 onion (diced medium)
2 bell peppers (diced medium)
1tbs black pepper
salt and lime halves as you wish for taste

1 can of coconut milk
3 small (or one big) fish heads
1 pound boneless fish meat
1 large onion chopped
9 thyme sprigs
9 cilantro sprigs
1 habanero hot chili pepper
1 dash of black pepper (or more)
cassava (yucca) (manihot)
malanga (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) arrowleaf elephant's ear, a starch tuber
2 green bananas
1 sweet potatoes
some dumplings

1 Gather 1 coconut for each 1 ½ litre of water. The amount will depend on who many mouths you have to feed.
2 Open the coconuts using a machete or hammer and nail and pour any liquid into a large pot.
3 Cut the coconut into pieces to make it easier for you to remove the coconut meat.
4 Grate the coconut meat into a large pot.
5 Add water and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
6 Use your hand to squeeze the coconut meat, separating the milk from the gratings.
7 To get the very last drops of water out of the gratings, use a strainer or cloth sack or clean stocking.
8 Discard the gratings.
9 Cut the vegetables into pieces.
10 Bring the coconut milk to a boil and add the vegetables.
11 Add crushed garlic to taste. Dried or fresh herbs like thyme and parsley are also nice. 12 Leave the pot to simmer.
13 Grill the meat and fish or fry it in a frying pan. The fish needs to be gut cleaned first and scaled and chopped into three sections: head, middle and tail. Score each side using a large knife and smother each piece in black pepper.
14 Some Caribbean cooks like to pour chicken stock over the meat and fish and boil it rather than grill or fry it.
15 Add salt and black pepper to taste.
16 Before the meat is fully cooked (it will finish cooking in the soup), add it to the simmering vegetable pot.
17 If you like sea invertebrates, add lobster, crab, shrimp, squid, octopus or similar at this point. The invertebrates should be well cleaned and, if necessary, cut into suitably sized chunks.
18 Leave to simmer until the vegetables are soft, the meat is fully cooked and the seafood is transparent.
19 Take the pot off the heat and let it rest for 20 minutes. (Locals cover the pot with banana leaves during the resting period.

VERSION 2: Once you have all the ingredients, find yourself a big pot, build a fire on the ground and get cooking:

1. Boil the crab and clams/oysters until they are well cooked
2. In the big pot, boil the coconut milk and throw in the black pepper, salt and all the ingredients that grow out of the ground except the chili cabro and lime halves
3. After a couple of minutes, add in the seafood bullion
4. When the veggies begin to soften, add in the shrimp, the crab and the clams/oysters
5. The fish is added last with the chili cabro. Set the lid on your pot and let it cook for about 20 minutes
Note: if you want a milder rondon, add the chili cabro 5 minutes before you remove the pot from the fire. Serve on the side of rice and bean with the lime halves for taste.

Boil the fish heads, onion, thyme, cilantro, pepper, salt and the dumplings in the coconut milk. A little bit of water can be added if you see liquid has reduced to much.
Strain the stock (save dumplings).
Boil with it the vegetables, fish meat and the dumplings with the Habanero hot chili pepper. (You may add to the recipe other seafood, such as shrimp, clams or similar).
NOTE: If you leave the Habanero chili pepper on top of the soup while cooking this last segment and don’t shake it, it won’t tear off and therefore the flavor without the hot will combine with the coconut milk producing an indescribable flavor. If you want it hot, you can make some holes punching the Habanero pepper with a fork, once cooked remove the Habanero delicately, again if you like hot you may chop it in small pieces and add it to your dish, this is ideal when you want to share your food with someone that doesn’t like hot flavor on its food.

Rondon can be made in the kitchen or on the beach: just make a fire with a nice bed of coals and cook the soup in a big kettle resting on some stones. This recipe varies alot depending on what ingredients a person can “run down” (or how gracious the sea is being with it’s blessings of fish and seafood that day). So don’t worry about exact proportions. Half the fun is gathering the ingredients! The first task is to gather some coconuts. The amount you gather is entirely dependent on how many people you are cooking for and how much total liquid you want in your kettle, including both the water you add and the coconut milk. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 coconut for each 11/2 liter of water. Open the coconuts up (the locals use a machete) and grate the coconut meat into a large pot or kettle. Add the water and squeeze the gratings with your hands. Separate the milk from the gratings using a strainer or by squeezing the gratings in a cloth sack. Bring the coconut milk to a boil and add some caribbean vegetables: yucca, plantain, yam/sweet potato, palmitos (palm hearts) onions, etc. Add crushed fresh garlic and dried thyme to taste. Add a jalapeño if you want some tang! Separately smoke or grill some fish. This can be pargo rojo (red snapper), marlin or corvina (sea bass). Season the fish with black pepper and salt. You can also pour chicken stock over the fish while cooking it. Don’t cook the fish completely, it will finish cooking in the soup. When the vegetables in the soup have softened, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the fish. Now add langosta (lobster), cangrejo (crab), camarone, (shrimp) calamare (squid), pulpo (octopus) and whatever else you have “run down”. Simmer the rondon a little longer just until the seafood is transparent and delicate. Rondon is best served about 20 minutes after taking it off the heat. Locals cover the pot with banana leaves.

Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
Rondon is a rich, delicious traditional Jamaican party dish and is very popular on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. The name is the Patois pronunciation of “run down”.

Rondon was merely a matter of “running down” the ingredients in the bush, in the sea, or on the farm. The thrifty housewife put everything together in one pot, simmered it in coconut milk, and called it “rundown” for everything she was able to “run down” that day. If it included fish, yam, plantain, scallions, palmito and Panamanian pepper, it could hardly be better.”




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