Spanish word, unkown to the Spanish speaking people except in Puerto Rico, which means slave. Back in the days when slavery was allowed in Puerto Rico it used to ship Africans from Africa and transport them into Puerto Rico for other distribution points from over there.

Admittedly the food I know as an alcapuria cannot be bought on every street corner in Puerto Rico, but I was surprised to learn that the word also meant "slave," which hotthamir tells us in his w/u. The association between "slave" and this food will probably take some thought.

As best as I can analyze it, an alcapuria starts out with either grated plátino ( = plantain]s: those big bananas with a glandular problem) or yucca, which looks a bit like a potato. For color and a unique flavor people add something called achiotina, which is left over after you fry achiote ( = annotto) seeds and then throw the seeds out. This is all mushed up until it looks like the classical gup.

Put that to one side and in a a large frying pan make the picadillo, a bunch of seasoned ground meat; cooks tell me that a combination of pork and beef works the best. Add at will a couple tablespoons sofrito, the secret ingredient of all Puerto Rican cooking, a combination of capers and green olives, a couple cilantro leaves ( = coriander), some finely chopped tomatoes (drained) and maybe some finely chopped onions and garlic. Fry this up until it's fairly dry.

Now comes the fun part. Somehow balls of picadillo are wrapped up in the plátino mixture and compressed. so they won't fall apart while they are being deep fried. The color becomes almost a deep chocolate brown when they are done. The best I've had come from the Plaza de Mercado ( = farmers' market) in Río Piedras, near the University of Puerto Rico. The second best come from the Kioskos ( = outdoor food stands) outside a famous beach in Luquillo.

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