Chamorro culture infuses traditional dish on Guam
There are a number of recognized staples that are an important part to any holiday feast. On Guam, however, a number of these staples have been stamped with local flair, making for a unique spread.
Stuffing is one traditional dish that many island residents have taken upon themselves to re-create. In local recipes, stuffing or Riyenu (ree-jehn-YOO) may include any combination of diced pimentos, black olives, celery, onions, garlic, sweet pickle relish or fried potatoes.
“I think what makes Chamorro stuffing Chamorro is the cook,” said local resident Fran Quitugua. “(The dish) can take anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours to make. It’s a long process but it’s worth the wait.”
Morale, Welfare and Recreation Guam Food and Beverage Director Robert Walter said Thanksgiving stuffing is something that is very much open to interpretation.“From my experience, each region, culture and many times families have their own variations on this dish,” he said. “Many times with different types of bread, such as cornbread, and (some) incorporate meats and especially seasonal herbs.”
If you are looking to try something new, consider adding some local flair to your holiday table with Chamorro stuffing or experimenting with ingredients to make a flavor all your own.
Riyenu (Chamorro stuffing):
• Three cups or one to two pounds of shredded and browned meat: Turkey, sausage or
• Four tablespoons of vegetable, corn or
• One-half of an onion, diced
• Three cups of diced potatoes, deep fried
until golden brown (approximately four to five potatoes)
• Two tablespoons of minced garlic
• Three cups of diced carrots
• Three cups of diced celery
• 15 ounces of canned diced tomatoes
• 10 ounces of sliced medium black olives
• 10 ounces of a jar of dill relish with juice
• Two sticks of butter or margarine
• One can of evaporated milk
• Two cups of beef, vegetable or chicken stock
• One teaspoon of salt and -black pepper
• 48 ounces of your favorite
• Sliced green onions, for garnish
1. First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pot or Dutch oven that will fit all your ingredients, heat your pot and add oil. Sauté your onions till translucent. Add the carrots and celery and sauté until half-cooked, but still bright in color. Add garlic and butter, and sauté until the mixture is fragrant.
2. Once the butter is melted add the meat, tomatoes, olives, relish, salt and pepper and mix together.
3. While stirring, add breadcrumbs, golden brown diced potatoes and evaporated milk. Then add broth to meet your desired moistness.
4. Place your stuffing in a casserole dish and cover it with foil. Bake for 30 minutes,,remove the foil and baking for another 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
5. Garnish with green onions and serve.
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