Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Frijoles Pintos Estilo Cubano? (Cuban Style Pinto Beans)

This NOT A TRADITIONAL/ AUTHENTIC Cuban dish...Wait aren't pinto beans Mexicans? How the hell is there a Cuban style pinto beans?

Well here's the story,
my grandmother from my fathers side (Cuban/ Spanish) whom I call Tata prepares Pinto beans like this. She got introduced to Pinto Beans by my mother (whom is Mexican) and she dislikes the Mexican way of preparing "Frijoles de la Olla"which is very simple, she'll only enjoy those "re-fried" so she found a way to make it to suit her taste by "Cubanizing"

It truely is delicous and ever since she prepared them that way I actually crave them occasionally, She makes them rich and thick she let's them thicken with the bean starch, gives them a nice color by adding a sofrito with the addition of tomatoes and gives them a smokey flavor with cumin and a special little extra something with a hint of oregano.

-2 cups pinto beans
-water enough to submerge beans maybe about 2 inches use your judgement you want it to thicken a bit?
-1 green bell pepper (or half green half red)
-1 onion finely minced
-5-6 cloves garlic mashed to a paste
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce (homemade better but I usually use canned or the one in cardboard container)
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (fresh is nice in this dish but I only had dried)
-1 teaspoon or more of salt to taste
-2-4 regular potatoes (optional, she sometimes added it, sometimes not up to you I left it out I already eat enough rice, sugar, and starchy veggies in other way's ha ha)

(1) Wash beans well, drain, put in a pot with water, bring to a boil on high then simmer on medium low heat for about 1-2 hours (depends on your beans)
(2)Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a pan, on medium high, to check if it's hot enough drop a piece of minced onion if it sizzles your ready, add onion and bell pepper, sautee until translucent (maybe 6-10 minutes) add garlic, sautee another 1 minute, add ground cumin and oregano sautee moving constantly for 1 minute, add tomato sauce stir well. Bring to a bubble on medium high.

(3)Add this sautee to the cooked beans, add salt to taste, let raise heat to medium on beans and let it boil 20 minutes uncovered to thicken nicely, stir after 10 minutes to prevent sticking. After 20 minutes check if it's as thick as you like, if not simply with a wooden spoon smash and press the beans to the sides of the pot while stirring to thicken nicely. If it doesn't thicken that mean's you added to much water. Use better judgement next time (sorry if it sounds harsh I still love you :)

(5)Serve with anything, over rice, or if your mexican and like to eat tortillas go ahead.

This can also be done with "Flor de Mayo Beans", White Beans and "Mayacoba Beans"/ "Peruvian Beans"

ALSO I know the pinto beans in my picture didn't look the typical brown color of pinto beans that is because they are very fresh the one's I got and when cooked had a lighter color and cooked in less than 1 hour without soaking.

FURTHER MORE the color will alter depending how long you cook it with the "sofrito" after 10 minutes it is a pinkish orange color if you want it that color and it's thick enough stop cooking it, after 20 it will be a light pinkish cream color sort of yellow and cooking longer sometimes results in the color to dissapear and turns beige sort of. I don't know why I am not a scientist :)

Carne Guisada Con Chile En Rajas (Beef Sautee with Roasted Pasilla Peppers)

"Chile En Rajas" is used in a variety of Mexican dishes, it is fresh Pasilla Chiles sometimes also called "Chile Poblano" it resembles a green bell pepper in size and color except it is more sharp looking and is mildly smokey and spicy with no hint of sweetness. The peppers are fireroasted, covered in a plastic bag to sweat then peeled, seeded, and cut into long strands. This is called "Chile En Rajas"

My mother learned to make a dish in which beef is sauteed with aromatics then tossed with the "Chile En Rajas" she didn't learn this from her mother though, she takes care of an elderly Mexican lady sometimes and the lady told my mother how to cook it for her, my mother liked it and introduced it to our household.

You can see another way to prepare these chiles on my other blog post for "Chiles Rellenos" here:


- 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced and cut into pieces steak (you can use sirloin, etc.)
-1 onion chopped
-2 tomatoes (fireroasted, peeled and chopped)
-3 cloves garlic minced finely
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1-2 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
-5 fresh Pasilla/ Poblano Chiles (fireroasted, peeled, seeded and cut into long strands)

(1)Fire roast "Chiles Pasillas" by placing them on the flame on the stove while until all or most parts are blackened you can rotate it or move it around with some tongs aka "pinsas" (in Spanish)

(2)Put in a plastic bag 10 minutes (this well help the skin come of easier because of the steam)
(3)Get a wet paper towel on your hand, lay the chile on your hand and peel of all the outer skin by hand. Make a small opening, remove seeds and core then slice into thick long slices. Set aside

(4)Now in a "comal" (griddle) put aluminum foil and fire roast the tomato until blackened on some sides, let cool a bit then peel and dice. Now also have all your other stuff prepared
(5)Now heat a pan on high heat for a little bit, now lower to medium high add 1 tablespoon of lard and melt it let it heat and brown the meat on one side for about 5-8 minutes during that time sprinkle with salt, cumin, and pepper, do not touch meat let it brown and the juices released evaporate.
(6)Now add another tablespoon of lard and sautee onions until translucent, add garlic sautee until fragrant, add diced tomatoes and sautee until they release some juice, now add the fireroasted cut into strands chile pasillas, fold in gently, let it cook a couple minutes, taste for salt, add a little more if necessary then toss gently and your done.
(7)Serve with rice and beans or tortillas and beans or you can use it as a taco filling.
P.S. I know what I am about to say is not "traditional" or "authentic" but for my reader's who may not be able to get a hold of Pasilla/ Poblano Chiles that are fresh maybe green bell pepper would work fine in it's place even though the taste will be different but can end up with nice results for sure

ALSO you don't have to use lard I just used it because it's more traditional, but you can use any oil you like, I have preference for extra-virgin olive oil for anything, I love the taste and it's good for you.

Malta Con Leche Condensada (Malt Sugar Drink with Sweetened Condensed Milk)

The name say's it all. This is a favorite drink among Cuban's of all ages. It is made by combining a fermented malt sugar drink called "Malta" (the brand "Hatuey" is the one most Cuban's consume) with sweetened condensed milk until you get a creamy light golden brown color, it's like drinking a rich, creamy, dense cold bubbly soda that has a very light molasses/ caramel flavor? Hard to describe one must try it.

It's a very sinful, calorie laden, concoction so drink it slowly and savor every second you enjoy of this delicious drink.

My Spanish/ Cuban grandmother loved this concoction she use to drink it "pa'engodar" (meaning to get fat), my grandmother always wanted to gain weight, she said, "Si engordo se me quitan las arrugas po'que se estira la piel unas 20-30 libras me ase bien" translates to "If I gain 20-30 pounds maybe my wrinkles will go away" because the skin would stretch out more ha ha. Though she never gained weight from anything through out her life even now that she's in her 80's.

-1 Malta Hatuey
-1/4- 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (depends how sweet and creamy you want it)
-ice (in cubes or crushed to make this cold and refreshing)
(1)Get a big tall glass, add the condensed milk you wanna use to the glass, pop open your bottle of Malta and pour it in as you stir to combine. Taste it if you want add more condensed milk. Add some ice and your done simple (or you can add it at the beginning)! There's really no right way to do it.
NOTE: The Malta Hatuey bottles I have are pretty big like 12 oz. you can probably split it between 2 people. I drink the whole thing though, and then the leftover condensed milk in the can I eat it by the spoonfuls ha ha.

INTERESTING STUFF: The Indian "Hatuey" on the Malta bottles was actually a real person he was a Taino Indian who resisted the Spanish rule, and warned the Taino's of Spanish people arriving to Cuba, most thought he was crazy, some joined him and he was able to confine the Spanish conquering Cuba in "Baracoa, Cuba" eventually though he was captured and burned alive on a stake in Yara, Cuba.

Pretty sad story but alt east he still lives on every bottle of Malta ha ha just kidding.