Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guiso de Carne de Puerco (Cuban Pork and Potato Stew)

A simple, comforting, cuban tomato based stew of pork and potatoes hot n smokey from the cumin and pepper. I prepare it the same way as my grandmother's "Carne Con Papa" (beef n potato), a good way to switch it up when you don't feel like eating beef :)

Some Cubans will call this dish "Fricase de Puerco" (Pork Fricase) but when I make the pork fricasse, the pork meat is marinaded in sour orange, garlic, and salt and all this is planned ahead, etc. whatever you want to label it as it's damn delicious lol.

-1 1/2 - 2 lbs pork meat I like like to use pork spareribs cut into chunks
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or pork lard
-1 green bell pepper finely chopped
-1 onion finely chopped
-4 cloves garlic minced
-1 can 8 oz tomato sauce
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1 cups water
-3 potatoes peeled, washed and halved
-salt to taste
-black pepper to taste
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-1/2 tsp. bijol or ground achiote (optional we do this at home when we want to give the potatoes a golden yellow color, and the meat a glossy orangish tinge)

Wash your pork well, pat dry and season with salt and pepper, anyways now heat olive oil or pork fat in a large deep pan or pot, over medium high heat, when hot add your pork meat seasoned with salt and pepper, allow meat to brown all over
(2) When pork is browned add onion and bell peppers cook down 5 minutes, add garlic and stir 1-2 minutes just until fragrant, then add tomato sauce when it bubbles add the wine and let it reduce
(3) Now add water, cumin, bijol, more salt n black pepper to taste, and potatoes.
Bring to a boil on high, give a good stir cover and lower heat to medium low for 40 minutes- 1 hour until meat is tender. When tender it's done turn off heat :)
(4) Serve with rice and any sides you'd like, my mother sauteed some delicious spinach with onion, garlic, olive oil, and lightly seasoned it with salt served with a lemon wedge

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Potaje de Colorados #7 Con Malanga, Calabaza y Maiz (Cuban Red Bean Stew with Malanga, Calabaza, and Corn)

Ha ha yes sorry yet another red bean stew. Thing is I just love making hardy Cuban and Spanish bean stews (which are typically in my house made w/ meat, sometimes sausage, potatoes, and Calabaza married with a sofrito and spices) and since red beans weren't a family favorite I loved messing around with them and preparing them in different ways my family would enjoy them. Plus overtime just grew on me ha ha, now my family loves it when I cook a pot of red beans.

Ok so all that said and done this isn't your "typical" Cuban red bean stew with potatoes and calabaza. My grandmother (Tata) told me her step mother use to make bean stews using "Malanga" (a type of Caribbean taro) in combination with Calabaza back in Cuba. Also friends from "Oriente" (Eastern Cuba) makes Potajes with Malanga usually, and something that I found surprising was one of my readers Mamey told me he had a red bean stew with rounds of cobbed corn in Oriente. So pretty much from hearing all this I was like "Mmmm sounds yummy and a nice alternative to the typical Cuban bean stews. Ooooh have some cobs in the freezer... then I open the bottom drawer and some Malanga yummy all that was left was to buy some Calabaza" and that's how this recipe came to be :)

Try it, the results were silky smooth beans, a rich stock from the ham bone, and chunks of ham, hints of sweetness from the Calabaza and Corn, and everybody trying to find and gorge down those delicious chunks of Malanga, which are rich, starchy, and have a slight nutty taste. My Tata whom came to visit said it reminded her of Ajiaco (a rich stew/ soup made with meat and just about every tuber n delicious starchy veggies found in Cuban cooking something I will share in the future)

ok... ok... so before I begin I gotta tell you guys I recently broke my wrist and a small area below it when I went snowboarding... but yeah live n learn I guess. So I'm not able to cook as often or maneuver a bunch and was at the hospital most of my day. So I made this stew with the help of my mom, she chopped all the veggies for me and I did it "a la Crockpot" lol. but you can adjust the recipe to stove top. I'm going to need her when I make "Empanada Gallega" (a huge Galician meat pie) with chicken something I'll post later :)

-1 lbs. small or large red beans (washed and drained twice, then cover with 2 inches water bring to a boil 20 minutes, then turn off and soak at least 4-6 hours or overnight)
-1 ham bone
-1 lbs. ham steak or chunk cubed
-5-6 small "aji cachucha" peppers minced
-1 green bell pepper chopped
-1 onion chopped
-6 cloves garlic chopped
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce (or fresh chopped tomato)
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-3 small or 2 medium or 1 large bay leaf
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled oregano
-6-7 freshly ground allspice berries or 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
-1 lbs. Calabaza cut into 1 inch pieces (butternut or kabucha squash are good alternatives since carribean squash isn't available here easily)
-2 medium malangas cut into 1 inch chunks (taro root)
-2 ears of corn sliced into 1 inch rounds
Directions ( now I'm going to include directions for both crockpot and stove top it's similar procedure for this recipe):
(1) Do not drain the red beans or you'll lose color, throw the already pre-soaked beans in a large pot on stove-top, or throw in crockpot, add ham bone, ham chunks, cachucha peppers, bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, olive oil, bay leaves and corn, if using crockpot add calabaza and malanga if using stove- top don't add it yet. If using crockpot set on low for 8-12 hrs. or high for 6 hrs insuring you added enough water to cover all ingredients. If using stove top, bring to boil, cover and simmer about 1 1/2- 2 hours checking occasionally until beans are tender.

(2) When beans are tender add salt to taste about 2-3 tsp, the cumin, dried oregano, ground allspice if using crockpot allow to cook an additional 30 minutes with spices, if you made the stove-top version when beans are tender add salt, spices, and cubed malanga and calabaza to the stew and cook 30 minutes, add more water if necessary.
(3) When calabaza and malanga is tender remove one cup of calabaza and mash it to a paste, stir it back in, this will make the stew have a delicious sweet hint and thicken it. Turn off-heat, and serve over white rice :)
this was all that was leftover from that huge pot :)
I'ma say it again... and again hehe if you'd like to help me out please vote for me to win a chance to have my own recording and be feautured on the cooking show Delicioso on "Univision" by voting for me in the below link. It is one of my dreams to be in something like that :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mole Verde de Carmen (Carmen's Green Mexican Curry)

Mole (pronounced Mole-ay) is a term used to describe complex Mexican sauces that usually have a variety of dried chilies, chocolate, nuts, and spices used to cook turkey, chicken or pork depending. The best way I can think of to describe it to people not familiar with Mexican Cuisine is that "Mole" is a type of Mexican "curry" with tons of variations, some are almond based, some yellow from using corn masa, different shades of red depending on the peppers, some dark shades of brown of black, etc. and one of the very unique one's that deviate from the typical is "Mole Verde" a.k.a. green mole, which is based on a variety of leafy greens, green tomatillos, and sometimes green pumpkin seeds.

The recipe I share with you today is Mole Verde, and it is by far my favorite recipe for Mole Verde. This recipe has been passed to my mother by her dear friend Carmen, whom is a 96 year old Mexican woman originally from Guadalajara, Mexico who learned this recipe from her mother so it dates back at least 100+ years, she like me and my mother has much love for the kitchen, and has taught my mother a thing or two about Mexican Cuisine. Her recipe for "Mole Verde" is by far the most healthiest, simple, and delicious version I have had.

The sauce unlike some Mole Verde's I've tried is extremely smooth, because the greens are cooked prior to blending as well as the tomatillos, recipes that blend everything raw then simmer tend to not produce smooth sauces, they tend to be grainy to some extent. Also it isn't heavily spiced, it's the natural flavor of the different greens and vegetables that give this sauce it's flavor which are pre-dominantly mostly from the smokey taste from the poblano peppers, peppery tones from the radish leaves, it get's slight citrus taste from the cilantro, and the special green/ herb in here is "Epazote" which has a very strong taste and flavor, I can describe it as earthy, strong pungent smell? It's very hard to describe the taste, extremely unique. Like maybe "brothy"? So I guess I can describe it as smokey and peppery without being spicy, as well as an acidic fresh bite from the cilantro to balance the earthiness and brothiness of the Epazote, then I forgot to mention the meaty citrus taste of tomatillos, and we all know how good onions and garlic are too, all this is just married the right way together to produce a healthful, flavorful and savory green sauce that is stewed with meat. It's just one of those things you gotta try.

And just a heads up for all those having all these healthful New Years resolutions or who need a break from the sugary, rich and fatty diet of the new years and Christmas (although sugary, rich, and fatty is me almost every day) this is a real healthy great recipe to try because for one in this version of Mole Verde everything is boiled nothing is fried or has fat added to it, it incorporates tons of healthful greens, and can be made with chicken which is generally accepted to be a more "diet" conscience alternative for many (when the skin is removed) I however just eat everything in moderation but just a heads up for those who aren't like that ha ha.

Ingredients for the stock:
-1 whole chicken 3-4 lbs., cleaned, washed, cut into sections (I wash it several times after cutting in sections, then the last wash I submerge it in water with a lot of salt, and either vinegar or lime and swoosh and drain then rinse with water again. I'm just real picky about chicken and pork don't like the after taste if it's not well cleaned)
-3-4 bay leaves
-1 tsp whole black peppercorns (or black pepper to taste)
-4 cloves garlic
-1/2 onion
-2 tsp. chicken bouillon
-2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)

Ingredients to finish the dish:
-1 head of Romaine lettuce washed and roughly chopped
-1 handful of fresh Epazote about 1/2 of a large bunch washed.. for some reason this herb just reminded me of weed... though it does look sorta different ha ha

-1 bunch of Cilantro
-2 small bunches of Radish Leaves washed (removed from two small store bought bunches of radish) this is what they look like
-2 fresh Poblano Peppers washed and seeded
-2 cups "tomatillo milpero" or regular tomatillos outer husk removed
-1/2 onion
-2 cloves garlic
-salt to taste

Directions for the chicken stock:
(1) Fill a large pot half- way with water, add peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, onion, bouillon, and salt bring to a rolling boil.

(2) Add CLEANED and already cut into sections chicken to the pot. Wait for it to come to a rolling boil, skim off any impurities and boil for about 30- 35 minutes. (You do not want to overcook the chicken to the point that it falls apart becuase you will cook it longer when you stew it in the green sauce and use the stock to form the sauce)
(3) After chicken has been cooked, remove from stock, strain the stock to get rid of the pieces of things used to make it. So you just get a golden clear stock. Set aside.

Directions for the rest of the dish:
(1) Get all your cleaned vegetables and throw them in a large pot EXCEPT the garlic and onion, add about 5 cups of the reserved chicken stock, you don't need to submerge them just add about 5 cups trust me, you just want to cook em down and wilt, you can thin the sauce out later as needed, cover and bring to a boil about 10- 15 minutes
When the tomatillos change color, and sorta pop then you can stop simmering it
(2) Blend all your boiled vegetables in small batches, adding more chicken stock if necessary to blend BUT don't add to much or it will be to liquidy I did it in two batches along with garlic and onion. Here's the first batch
then adding it to the pot that I set my chicken aside in, no need to strain just blend it until real smooth
and here's my second batch which I added the chopped onion and garlic to
same thing pour it into the pot with chicken
(3) Now put the pot back on the stove, and set heat to high and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer on medium low uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 20- 25 more minutes, if the sauce is to thick, add more reserved chicken stock about 1/2 cup at a time until it's as thick as you want it or as thin. REMEMBER it thickens as it cools, and also REMEMBER YOU DO NOT WANT THIS TO BE SOUP either, it's a stew. After boiling 10 minutes, check and see if you want to add more salt to taste. When it's done cooking it should look like this :)
(4) You will have leftover chicken stock, you can save it for other dishes, for making soups, rices, etc. my mom used some of the leftover chicken stock to make Arroz Rojo (Mexican red rice), and some to use to make a very spicy salsa in which she used the stock instead of water, you can try and make the "Salsa de Chile de Arbol". This mole can be served in a large bowl with tortillas, and if you'd like a side of red rice, and for those who want to get super full a side of "Frijoles de le Olla" (Mexican boiled beans) or even refried beans.
*This green Mole sauce is NOT spicy at all, just smokey and peppery. So for those who don't like spicy, you should try it out. We make a separate hot sauce at home to serve it with for those who love the heat. Now for the home cooks who want to make this spicy, you may add maybe 3-6 Serrano chilies depending on how hot you want it....... also I just want to add I've seen pre-made green pastes to make like "instant" mole verde at the Mexican stores... I'm sure they are good... but something about using a pre-made paste of old preserved greens makes me feel eh when I have the option to make it fresh at home, and it isn't so difficult to make at home or any harder.

P.S. Ima say it again... hehe if you'd like to help me out please vote for me to win a chance to have my own recording and be feautured on the cooking show Delicioso on "Univision" by voting for me in the below link. It is one of my dreams to be in something like that :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Carne Con Papa (Cuban Beef and Potato Stew)

Carne Con Papa literally translates to "Meat and Potatoes" is a very typical and common Cuban beef dish, it's one of those that are up there along the "Picadillo" (ground beef hash), "Ropa Vieja" (stewed shredded beef), "Rabo Encendido" (oxtail stew)

So what makes it Cuban you may ask? The answer is that the beef is cooked with a combination of onions, green bell peppers, and garlic cooked down in olive oil or lard which is the base for most Cuban dishes we call this "sofrito", and it is stewed with tomato and wine a very common thing that is present in almost all of our meat stews. In addition it is married with potatoes a starchy tuber we all know (and starchy veggies are very much appreciated in Cuban cuisine taro, yuca, calabaza, etc.) and the final thing that makes this stew Cuban is that it is spiced with cumin, which was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese during colonizations and became popular in Cuba. However it is also identical or similar to many of the meat stews made by the Spanish (specially those from Canary Islands and some parts of Northern Spain to no surprise, being that a lot of Cuban cooking specially that of my family and other white or Spanish Cubans is very intertwined with the Cuisine of Spain and share many dishes)

Anyways :D today I present my Tata's version (my grandma's) :) it is very rustic, simple, authentic, typical, straight forward and delicious just the way Carne Con Papa should be. You end up with chunks of beef and potato in a smokey savory tomato based sauce. The sauce get's the smoked flavor from the browning of the meat that is de-glazed using tomato and wine, and kissed with a touch of cumin which gives it that extra oomph and depth but without over powering the dish, just subtle and marries well. This goes perfect over white rice :)


-2 lbs. beef stew meat cut into 1 inch chunks
-1/2 large green bell pepper chopped
-1 onion chopped
-5 cloves garlic (mashed to a paste mortar or garlic press)
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1 cup water
-1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
-salt to taste (about 2 tsp.)
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-4 regular potatoes peeled, cut in half


(1) Heat olive oil on medium high heat, add the cubed beef lightly seasoned with salt, stir. The beef will release a lot of liquid usually do not freak out just raise the heat to high and stir occasionally and let it reduce at some point everything will evaporate and lower heat to medium high and it will start browning.
(2) When meat is browned add diced onions, bell peppers and stir let cook down about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic cook another 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
(3) Stir in tomato sauce, water, dry white wine, ground cumin, and bring to a rolling boil, taste it if it needs more salt or not. Cover and simmer on medium low for about 1 hour or until meat is as tender as you'd like.
(4) Uncover and when meat is tender add potatoes,
cover an additional 20- 30 minutes until potato is fully cooked.
(5) Turn off heat, enjoy with some fluffy white rice, and a side of black beans if you'd like and salad.
If you liked this recipe, you may also want to check out my grandmother's alternative to this "Carne Con Papa" which she calls the same as this one, the only difference is she cooks a whole, un-cut, well cleaned, boneless chuck steak that is about 2 1/2 lbs. in the same fashion but uses red wine, a mix of red and green peppers, and large chunks of potatoes and carrot. It is worth checking out see the post for it below:

Also if you'd like to help me out please vote for me to win a chance to have my own recording and be feautured on the cooking show Delicioso on "Univision" by voting for me in the below link. It is one of my dreams to be in something like that :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Fellow food bloggers, and my people LOL. I have been chosen to participate in a contest called "El Blogerro Delicisioso" (the delicious blogger). The contest is to be able to have a recording and be featured on the cooking show "Delicioso" on Univision.

PLEASE SUPPORT ME and vote for me! I would really appreciate it :D Maybe my dream will come true :D

I started this blog about 2 years ago, going into my 3rd to share my culture through a culinary perspective. Because I believe that the best way to learn about a culture is through it's food, and of course I wanted to also share the food I enjoy and my knowledge about it with other's.

Growing up I grew up in a very "food oriented" family, I quickly learned to appreciate and love the preparation of food. My Tata (grandma) making the rich Spanish and Cuban bean stews in the kitchen, the cured meats, the pork, the golden rice dishes, and rich tomato based stews, the fragrance of sofritos cooked in generous olive oil illuminating through the house, and of course the smell of fried pork. My mother (mom) making her Tamales, spicy flavorful stews of all kinds with an array of all sorts of peppers and sweet spices, enjoyed w/ fresh made corn tortillas, the humble dishes of vegetables simply sauteed with onions, tomatoes and garlic served almost daily. All these memories I wanted to share.

When my Tata moved, it made me get even closer to my culinary heritage it was a way to stay close to her, and in touch with my roots. Through out this time, I learned more through friends, and other foodies I met, and still keep learning to this day.

Currently I am still a student at Cal State Northridge majoring in Dietetics/ Nutritional Science to which I am adding a Food Science minor too. I don't know where this road will take me exactly whether working in a hospital as a RD helping other's, or formulating some wacky stuff ha ha. Who knows maybe culinary school after wards. Regardless though being on a cooking show or even having my own some day, maybe a restaurant is also one of my many dreams :)

So if I'm one of your favorite food bloggers or you wanna support me I would really appreciate it and it would mean a lot to me if you guys voted for me at Univision's website :)

or click on this link:

Vote for me