Last May, when I flew up to NH on a trip, I sat next to a really interesting woman from Paraguay. She was probably in her 80’s, but she was a spry little lady! We talked about family, raising kids, traveling… but mostly we talked herbs. She talked a lot about Mate, which is a major drink in Paraguay. She mentioned a couple of different recipes that her parents made with the Mate when she was a kid. Mate terere was one, which is mate made with cold water and lemon, or cold juices. But, the one I really wanted to try was Mate Cocido. She gave a detailed description of how you take the mate leaves and cook them with sugar on an open flame until it caramalizes. But, once I left the plane, I couldn’t remember all the details.
Anyway, today, what do I get in the mail, but a package from this woman. She bought me a pound of Mate when she got back to Paraguay and sent it to me with instructions on how to make Mate Cocido! Isn’t she great!! I can’t wait to try it!
In a pan put 6 tablespoons of yerba mate leaves and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cook gently while stirring and brown the sugar. Be careful not to allow it to burn. Turn off the stove and pour 2 cups of water (or a mix of water and milk to make a total of 2 cups) over the mate and sugar. Strain out the herbs and enjoy the drink! (If it’s too strong add more fluid)
I read a recipe on the internet that also suggested adding a little dried orange peel to the caramalizing process. Mmmm, sounds good!