Columbus Day

We are going to move forward a few decades and meet Santa María La Antigua del Darién. The first stable city founded by Europeans on the mainland of the Americas in 1510.

Santa María la Antigua del Darien was also the first episcopal see in the continent, and a few years later became the capital of the territory of Castilla de Oro, and the starting point for the foundation of many cities in the rest of the continent during the late 1510 and the time of discovery of the Pacific Ocean in 1513, made by Nunez de Balboa, its Mayor, with the help of the natives.

In fact, half my mom’s family is from Darien, she was born in Darien in a small town calls Jaqué. The last “big” town that closes the Panamanian coastal scenery in the South Pacific, is a beautiful ethnic world of contrasts, full of rhythm, friendship and nature. With a picturesque architecture, colorful wooden houses and shops, decorated with unique names along the river and the beach.

Today’s recipe is a typical Darien’s dish: Guacho de Mariscos, a kind of risotto with shellfish. Maybe it doesn’t look that appealing, but I can assure you that it is delicious.

Guacho de mariscos


1 ½ cup rice
¼ pound of longorón
½ pound of clams
½ pound of shrimp
¼ pound of Conchuelas
1 onion
2 tomatoes
3 coriander leaves
½ teaspoon oregano
Salt to taste
8 to 10 cups of water

I’m giving you the original recipe taken from the book 100 typical Panamanian recipes. But I changed some of the ingredients as follow: The Longorón (no idea what it is exactly) was substituted by Chirlas and the conchuelas by Coquinas.

Wash and clean the seafood, soak rice in water and leave it for 2 hours or more. Drain.
Cook shellfish with cilantro, rice and water, let it simmer until the rice burst (the grain opens), 7 minutes or so.
In a pan put 1 tsp. oil and sauté the onions, tomato, oregano and a bit of achiote (you can substitute achiote with paprika). Pour this into the rice, cook for 20 more minutes.
You can add chunks of yuca or plantains. Add more water if needed, check the salt and let stand a few minutes before serving.

What about the drinks? You are saying. Well, no time for cocktails today. For the guacho and to celebrate Pilar’s day we opened a bottle of red wine from Ribera del Duero.

16 Replies to “Columbus Day”

  1. Seafood and rice go so well together and you’ve included just the right spices to insure a successful marriage. Great recipe & thank you for the history lesson.

  2. Este plato de marriscos se ve tan bein.
    Love the history of the seas, and new world stuff… I wrote a poem you may be interested in reading, about the the Santa Maria, and it’s ironic twist of becoming the wood used to build the first town in what is now Haiti.
    Bless You
    keep up the wonderful work…the post’s the recipe’s and the beautiful pictures.
    Makes me hungry every time I visit.

    1. Dear Paul, thanks for stopping by and commenting… in Spanish! ¡Me encanta!
      Yes, doing these posts is helping me “rediscover the discovery” and it’s been interesting. I will love to read your poem; can you send me the link or the poem?
      Thank you!

OK, let's talk

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.