Thursday, February 24, 2011

Potaje de Frijoles Canarios (Mayacoba Bean Stew)

Frijol Canario translates to "Canarian bean" as in Canary Islands, but it also commonly known down here by people from Latin America as "Frijol Peruano" in engish some call it "Mayacoba beans" in English. This bean is EXTREMELY popular among the Mexican community down here in Southern California and Mexico, because it has an unsurpassed buttery and creamy texture, these beans hold their shape when cooking, but when you bite into them they are large, starchy, and creamy. The cooking liquid used to cook this bean becomes like a thick gravy when these beans are stewed it gives body to whatever it's cooked in as well. They just have a nice richness which is why they are popular and have replaced Pinto beans in some Mexican homes.

My mother LOVES this type of bean, it's her overall favorite and since the weather was cold I was craving a heavy Cuban/ Spanish bean stew, I thought "Why not make a Cuban or Spanish bean stew using these beans, my mother would love it" and so this recipe came to be. I decided to cook these delicious beans with Calabaza and potatoes typical of a Cuban bean stew, but sort of a fusion with Galician stew because I wanted to add some greens, but not collards or chard I chose Spinach. All this married with a delicious sofrito and smokey hints of paprika and cumin. Plus I had a wonderful ham bone and some ham steaks laying around :)


-1 lbs./ 2 cups frijoles peruanos (Mayacoba beans)
-1 ham bone
-1 lbs. ham cut into chunks
-2 smoked sausages (preferably Spanish Sausage as in Spain)
-1/4 cup extra- virgin olive oil
-1 bell pepper minced
-1 onion minced
-6 cloves garlic finely minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce (or 3 fresh grated tomatoes or finely diced)
-1 heaping teaspoonful sweet smoked spanish paprika
-1/2 heaping teaspoonful ground cumin
-2-3 bay leaves
-1 lbs. butternut squash cut into peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
-3 small potatoes, peeled washed, cut into 1 inch chunks
-1 lbs. spinach (cleaned well, washed several times, drained, and coarsely chopped or use frozen)

(1) In a large (I really do mean large) wash the beans several times, pick through them to see if there are any stones, and drain well, then add ham bone and ham chunks into the pot with beans and cover with enough water to barely cover ham bone and beat (you want the beans to be covered 2-3 inches in water) bring to a boil,
cover and simmer over low until very tender (about 1 1/2- 2 hrs)
(2) In the mean time prep all your vegetables, and make a sofrito (this is what flavors most Cuban dishes) start by heating olive oil over medium high, brown your sliced sausages and set aside, to that same oil add onion and bell pepper when translucent about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook down another 2 minutes, then stir in the paprika, cumin, and bay leaves about 30 seconds, then tomato sauce, give another good stir and let it reduce to a thick paste about 10 minutes over medium heat. This base will make everything taste amazing!
(3) When beans are tender, add your sofrito to the beans
here are all my veggies prepped (the spinach was frozen, we actually bought a lot of spinach when it was on special and cleaned, blanched it and stored it in container in freezer to have it ready for whenever we needed, you may use fresh)
(4) Add your potatoes, squash and sausage to the stew, and bring to a boil then simmer about 15- 20 minutes until tender (to test for tenderness check with a fork, if you can pierce it it's good) the last 5-7 minutes add your spinach and bring to a boil. Give a good stir. Then when everything is cooked turn off heat :)
here's another snap shot. Serve with bread or rice :D
*I highly suggest anyone to give this bean stew a try, if your kosher or can't eat pork products use some cubed beef meat and some beef bones to substitute the ham products. Oh and also you can use an all beef smoked sausage :)
*You can make this stew using chickpeas/ garbanzo beans, white northern beans, or lentils which was what I was going to do today, but I felt like cooking it with these creamy beans. If using lentils remember they cook quick so please adjust cooking times and such. Like for lentils I would cook them 30 minutes, then start adding everything and not let them cook longer than an hour.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sad Update/ Broken Camera

OK so my wrist is finally healed after breaking it when I went snowboarding with some friends at Big Bear (well the healing part is wonderful news) however I know it's caused me to neglect my blog for sometime and not really post much because I haven't been cooking much (mom's been in charge of the kitchen and the food is just as delicious lol.)

However my camera is pretty much broken :/ I took it out last week a night on the town, and well someone in the car must've somehow stepped on it or sat on it because the screen is completely messed up, like the display is all warped up and cracked... it can still take photos and upload them but I can't see what I'm taking a photo of, and yeah.

I'll buy a new one when I have time, and my dad isn't letting me borrow his...

Anyways luckily I have some old photos of stuff I cooked previously that never made it here :) One of them the Canary Islands version of "Ropa Vieja" (shredded meat stew) which is different than the Cuban version, and the other is a short-cut improvised "Potaje de Garbanzos" (Chickpea Stew) I made with my grandma that was very delicious, oooh and another "Empanada Gallega" (Galician Meat Pie) :)

So stay tuned, and those will have to do until I have time to buy a new camera :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Castañeta (Palometa) Frita de Mi Madre (Mom's Fried Golden Pompano)

At home we eat fish occasionally Golden Pompano is one of my favorite fish, it is meaty, sturdy, moist (has enough fat), and best of all doesn't have a lot of bones, most of the bones are large and in the center body not embedded through-out it's flesh.

It is very similar to white Pomfret and Black Pomfret (which are also one of my favorite fish, when I want fish steaks, medallions, rounds, whole fried fish, or a fish that can hold it's own in stewing)

This is how my mother prepares it she simply puts generous salt, pepper, mashed garlic, and lime. Then flours and pan or deep-fries. The results, a slightly crisp exterior, moist interior, and garlicky, flavorful fried fish.

With my wrist broken and unable to cook much, I decided to take pictures of what my mom was cooking and share the recipe :)

Main Ingredients:
-2 Golden Pompano's (cut into steak rounds)
-6-8 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste
-juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon (she used a lemon)
-salt to taste (salt generously all over)
-ground black pepper to taste
-flour as needed to coat fish

Ingredients To fry the fish:
-enough oil to deep-fry fish, or almost completely submerge (2-3 cups?)
-3 whole garlic cloves, skin on, slightly bruised

(1) Tell your fish market guy to cut it into steaks, wash the fish real well, rinsing in cold water several times and pat-dry, make slits on the steaks skin with a knife about 2 inches apart, sprinkle salt and pepper all over, rub garlic, and lemon or lime juice all over.
(2) Allow to marinade atleast 2 hours or over night
(3) After 2 hours or marinading longer, lightly flour all the fish pieces
Directions to fry:
(1) Heat your oil over medium high heat, add your bruised garlic cloves (this will help your house not smell like a bunch of fish) add your floured fish when hot, in batches fry 5-6 minutes without touching
then turn over and allow to continue frying.
(2) Drain and remove from oil, put on paper towels to drain further or o n whatever you'd like
(3) Do the same with the second batch :) When done it should look like this. We ate it with rice and salad :D
(1) Notice the fish is a golden reddish, my mom used an oil she had previously infused with sweet smoked Spanish paprika, you can also just mix the flour with some paprika for the color.

(2) This recipe can work for Tilapia/ Mojarra, Catfish, Redsnapper, or Seabass. any fresh white fleshed whole fish, even fish fillets :)

(3) If you like this recipe you'll like my mother's Salmon, with generous garlic, pan-fried in butter and olive oil see post for "Salmon de mi Mama" or her "Mojarra Frita a la Mexicana" (Tilapia Mexican style)

(4) I have a feeling I have the wrong Spanish name... I think "Castañeta" or Palometa is actually referring to "Pomfret" though Pomfret and Pompano look so similar....