Three Classic Cuban Dishes And How To Make Them

15 September 2017
 Categories: , Blog

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Cuban cuisine is known for its unique combination of Spanish and African flavors. The dishes are often heavily seasoned with spices and served alongside rice and beans. Luckily, you do not have to travel to Cuba to explore this enticing cuisine. There are plenty of Cuban cookbooks, and if you keep on reading, you'll learn how to make three popular Cuban dishes right in this very article.

Fricase de Pollo

Fricase de Pollo just means "chicken stew" in Spanish. This dish is warm and comforting on a winter evening. It combines spicy and sweet flavors, and the tomato-based sauce is lovely on rice.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pound chicken leg quarters
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinate the chicken in the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper for about an hour. Drain off the extra liquid, and brown the chicken, a few pieces at a time, with the olive oil in a saucepan. (Set the extra lime juice mixture aside.) When you are finished browning the chicken, add the onions and peppers to the pan, and saute until tender.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove drippings. Then, bring the sauce to a simmer, and add the chicken back to the pan along with the remaining lime juice mixture, raisins, tomato sauce, cayenne, capers, potatoes and salt and pepper. When the mixture starts to simmer, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Serve with rice.

Cubano

This classic sandwich is filling, delicious, and a favorite among Swiss-cheese lovers.

Ingredients (for one sandwich):

  • 1 white roll (some grocery stores sell Cubano rolls, which are oblong in shape)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces shredded pork shoulder 
  • 3 slices deli ham
  • 3 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 - 8 round dill pickle slices
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Spread the mayo on one side of the roll and the mustard on the other. Layer the ham, pork, Swiss, and pickles between the bread. Spread some butter on the outside of the roll, and then place the sandwich in a hot skillet to brown the outside of both halves of the sandwich. Cool slightly, slice in half, and enjoy.

Pescado En Escabeche

This swordfish dish is served with a luscious sauce made from garlic and peppers. The recipe makes enough for serve four.

Ingredients:

  • 4 8-ounce swordfish steaks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 large onion,sliced thinly
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix the salt, pepper, and flour together. Dredge each piece of fish in this mixture. 

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Place the onions and pepper in the pan, and saute until tender and slightly browned. Add the garlic, saute briefly, and then remove the veggies from the pan using a slotted spoon.

Add the fish to the skillet and brown for about 3 minutes per side. Put the veggies back into the pan, and then add the vinegar. Bring to a simmer, simmer for about 2 minutes, and then serve.

These recipes are sure to get you hooked on Cuban cuisine. Luckily, if you want to enjoy more Cuban dishes, there are plenty of Cuban cookbooks out there that will teach you to make other favorites like Ropa Vieja (a shredded beef dish) and Pernil Asado Con Mojo (a citrus pork dish). Look for illustrated cookbooks, such as from MARCELLA KRIEBEL Art and Illustration, so you know exactly what you'll be making and can drool over the pictures.