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 :)