Canopy Family Panama

Canopy Tower meal

Our Favorite Recipes


After a day of birding in the lowland forests of Pipeline Road or a morning in the misty cloudforests of Cerro Gaital, return back to your retreat at the Canopy Tower or Canopy Lodge, relax and enjoy a decadent meal together.  Whether buffet style or beautifully plated, we serve a delicious blend of Panamanian and international cuisine.  And remember, save room for dessert... 

These recipes are from the popular cookbooks by Raúl's sister, Cuquita.  For more information about Cuquita and to browse her delicious recipes, visit her website, Al Estilo Cuquita




Palmito Salad with Dates

½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp. mustard
1 ½ tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. tarragon, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped dates
1 lb. fresh hearts of palm
4-5 cups fresh lettuce, assorted
1 tbsp. chives, finely chopped

1.     Prepare a vinaigrette with all the ingredients except the hearts of palm and lettuce. In the vinaigrette, marinate the cut hearts of palm for 4 hours.
2.     When ready to serve, cover the serving platter with lettuce and pour the vinaigrette over the lettuce with the hearts of palm.
3.     Sprinkle with red pepper and chives for garnish.

Cold Pasta Salad

4 cups pasta
½ cup olive oil
½ cup vinegar
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. mustard
½ cup parsley
½ cup chives
½ cup red pepper
½ cup green pepper
½ cup yellow pepper
½ cup black olives
½ cup onions
½ lb. white cheese, fresh

1.     Add the pasta to sufficient boiling water with salt and cook until al dente. Drain and pour into a container and hold aside to cool.
2.     Chop all the ingredients in small cubes.
3.     Add all of the ingredients to the cooked pasta.
4.     Before serving, season the salad with olive oil and mayonnaise.

Coconut Rice

2 cups white rice
2 tsp. salt
3 ½ cups coconut milk
1 can Coco Lopez (cream of coconut)

Boil the cream of coconut in a saucepan until reduced; when it is golden, begin to fry the rice. Add coconut milk, salt and continue to cook until dry. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, until the rice is soft.

Chayote & Beets in Cheese Sauce

2 lb. beets
2 lb. chayote
4 slices of cheese (yellow)
2 tbsp. butter
½ lb. onion, cubed
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 cup milk

Vegetable Preparation:
1.     Peel the beets and cut in half. Boil until al dente, remove and cut into 1-inch cubes.
2.     Peel the chayote and cut in half. Boil until al dente, remove and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Sauce Preparation:
1.      Fry the onions in butter until cooked.
2.     Add the cheese and milk.
3.     Stir and boil until thick.

Just before serving, cover vegetables in cheese sauce.

Chicken in Lemon Sauce

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp. dry vermouth
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon rinds, chopped
¾ cup whipping cream
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup grated parmesan
chopped parsley
lemon slices

1.     Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
2.     Add the chicken. Sautee for approximately 5 minutes per side, until fully cooked inside.
3.     Put the chicken on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
4.     Pour the butter from the pan and add the vermouth, lemon juice and lemon rinds.
5.     Boil for 1 minute, breaking up and lumps that may have formed.
6.     Add the cream & chicken broth to the juice from the chicken. Boil for approximately 8 minutes until reduced and creamy.
7.     Mix in the grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8.     Pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle parmesan and parsley on top of chicken. Garnish with lemon slices.

Beef Tri Tip Sirloin with Bacon

4-lb. Beef Tri Tip Sirloin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. mustard
½ onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, cubed
1 ½ cup cooking tomato, minced
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 cup water

At least 1 day before serving, marinade the beef with all the ingredients, excluding the bacon. On the day of serving, fry the bacon in a large pan until well-cooked; remove. In the bacon fat, fry the beef; when it golden, remove. Cook the vegetables in the same pan until cooked & translucent. Put the meat back in the pan with 1 cup of water. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. The beef should be pink inside. Serve with fried bacon on top.

Curry Chicken with Prunes

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ tsp. dry oregano
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. curry
1/8 lb. butter
½ lb. mushrooms
1 cup chopped prunes, cooked in 1 ½ cup water
chicken broth
2 tbsp. corn starch

1.     Mix garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and curry with the chicken breasts and refrigerate overnight.
2.     In a frying pan, heat the butter and cook the chicken until golden.
3.     Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes.
4.     Add the prunes with its juice and the chicken broth and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, add some corn starch diluted in water.
5.     Shred the chicken and mix with the sauce.
6.     Serve with coconut rice.

These dressings can be served in small bowls, placed around the main dish; add as desired.

½ cup raisins
½ cup chives
½ cup mango chutney
½ cup peanuts
½ cup parsley
½ cup shredded coconut

Chicken & Mushroom Lasagna

1 package lasagna
5 chicken breasts
2 portobello mushrooms
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
8 tbsp. butter
1 lb. mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 cups milk
4 tbsp. flour
salt & pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce Preparation:
1.     Heat the milk just to the point of boiling and remove from heat.
2.     Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir with a whisk for 2 minutes. Little by little, add the hot milk, stirring constantly to avoid boiling over, and continue until all the milk has blended with the flour.

Lasagna Preparation:
1.     Wash the chicken breasts and remove skins, season with salt and pepper and bake for approximately 20 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool, remove the meat off the bones and cut into small pieces.
2.     In a heavy saucepan, melt the rest of the butter, and fry the onions and garlic until translucent. Slice the Portobello mushrooms and fry until golden.
3.     Pour the béchamel sauce in this mixture and cook for 1 minute until the flavors have combined.
4.     Cook the lasagna according to package instructions.
5.     In a large Pyrex, layer first with the lasagna noodles, then chicken, then béchamel sauce, and finally top each layer with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Continue to create the layers in this sequence until the dish is filled, finishing with a good layer of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
6.     Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 30-40 minutes until heated through. Remove the foil for the final 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese on top to become golden and crispy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Plantains in Temptation

5 ripe plantains
1 ½ cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cups concentrated passion fruit
1 cup water

1.     Peel the plantains and cut into three pieces.
2.     Put the plantains in a saucepan.
3.     Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the plantains are soft and some of the water has evaporated, and the sauce has the consistency of syrup.

Coconut Flan

1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup coconut milk

Use a 5-cup flan pan. Preheat oven to 325F
1.     Place a tea towel in the bottom of a deep pan.
2.     Fill the pan with enough boiling water to cover the flan pan to half its depth. Place in the hot oven.
3.     In a heavy saucepan, cook the sugar and water over high heat until the sugar has dissolved and becomes dark brown, approximately 12 minutes.
4.     Remove from heat and pour the caramelized sugar into the bottom of the flan pan. Cool.
5.     In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the flan until well combined.
6.     Pour the mixture into the flan pan and place inside the double boiler.
7.     Bake until the flan is cooked and gelatinous.
8.     Store in the refrigerator until cold.
9.     When ready to serve, run a knife around the edges of the pan. Place a serving tray over the pan and invert flan so that it falls on the tray.

This flan is more flavorful the second day.

Dulce de Chocolate (Chocolate Squares)

1 package wafer biscuits
1 package merengue
1 cup chocolate powder
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp. corn starch
¼ lb. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 cup chopped nuts

1.     In a large pot, combine sweetened condensed milk, water, evaporated milk, sugar and chocolate powder, bring to a bowl, stirring constantly. When it reaches a boil, add butter.
2.     In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks with corn starch and add two tablespoons of the hot chocolate mixture, stir well. Add the mixes together and cook, stirring constantly.
3.     Add the vanilla and remove from heat. Cool.
4.     In a Pyrex baking dish, place the wafer biscuits (to cover the bottom), pour the cooled chocolate mixture and the chopped nuts.
5.     Repeat the layers of wafers, chocolate mix and nuts until the dish is filled.
6.     Cover with merengue.

Lemon Mousse

1 package graham crackers or Maria crackers
1/8 lb. butter, melted
1 can (8 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (8 oz.) evaporated milk
juice of 3 lemons
lemon zest, for garnish

Use a 9-inch round Pyrex dish
1.     Crush the graham (or Maria) crackers and combine with the melted butter.
2.     Press the cracker and butter mixture into the bottom of the Pyrex dish, covering the bottom completely.
3.     Pour the evaporated milk in a blender and place in the freezer for two hours to freeze.
4.     When the evaporated milk is almost frozen, blend until it is foamy and then add the sweetened condensed milk.
5.     As you continue to blend, add the lemon juice.
6.     Pour the mixture over the crushed cracker base in the Pyrex dish.
7.     Place in the freezer until frozen.
8.     Garnish with lemon zest.

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