Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arroz Caldoso Con Costilla (Soupy Rice with Pork Ribs)

I've been craving this dish for awhile, with the weather getting chillier, soups and stews are what we crave the most this time of year.

This is a very comforting hardy thick rice porridge with pork spareribs, guaranteed to warm you up, leftovers taste even better!

Like I've said in previous posts these type of soupy rice dishes in
Spanish cuisine rice dishes like this can be cooked with almost anything pork ribs, chicken, seafood, etc. it's essentially in it's most basic form rice with a sofrito (sautee of onion, garlic, bell pepper sometime tomato) with a lot of liquid and some spices married with your choice of protein. However in typical Cuban cuisine I only see this done with chicken however, and other Caribbean countries with either chicken or shrimp. I do love all the other Spanish variations though :)


-1 1/2 lbs. pork spare ribs
-extra-virgin olive oil
-1 onion minced
-1 green or red bell pepper minced
-1/2 head garlic minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce or 3 grated fresh tomatoes
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-1 tsp. sweet smoked spanish paprika (for a different taste/ more Cuban flavor as opposed to Spanish substitute the sweet smoked spanish paprika for ground cumin)
-2-3 bay leaves
-12 cups water or meat stock (any chicken, beef, pork, mine looked real red because I actually had a lot of leftover stock from when my mother made Pozole a type of Mexican Hominy and Pork stew which is the reason I made this)
-salt to taste
-2 cups short-grain rice (calrose, bomba, arborio, whatever you can get ahold of)
-saffron or annato seed powder/ bijol or what they call in Spain "colorante"
-parsley or cilantro minced to garnish (optional)

(1) Heat a real deep-pot over medium high heat, add olive oil and when it's hot sautee onion, bell pepper, and garlic together for about 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally, add pork spareribs stir til they lose raw color, then stir in sweet smoked Spanish paprika and tomato sauce, let reduce a bit.
(2) Add hot boiling stock or water and boil meat until tender about 40 minutes.
(3) When meat is tender add your rice (I premixed the raw rice with the bijol powder if using saffron you can add the saffron threads to the boiling stock and let it all infuse)
(4) Let simmer on medium low, give a stir every 10 minutes,
after 30 minutes, remove from heat and serve in large shallow bowls, you can accompany it with a salad or whatever other vegetable sides, or simply eat alone
For a chicken version of these types of porridges see my post for "Arroz Caldoso Con Pollo" for a shrimp variation see my "Arroz Con Camarones a la Chorrera" :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Calamares en Su Tinta (Squid in Ink Sauce)

This dish I believe originated somewhere in Northern Spain the Basque name for it is "Txipiroiak bere tintan", squid is stewed in a rich savory black sauce until very tender and often served over white rice with some fried potatoes or salad.

My version of the sauce has the holy trinity of Cuban cooking/ what we call "sofrito" which is also shared with Spanish Cuisine it's onion, garlic, bell pepper sometimes with the addition of tomato all cooked down in olive oil and some dry white wine.

Cuban cuisine also shares this dish, however to most Cubans squid in ink sauce is usually bought canned already prepared, eaten straight with rice, but very often the canned squid in ink is used to make a mixed rice dish in which you cook and steam rice together with a sofrito to kick it up, some spices and add teh cans of squid in ink sauce, resulting in a black to dark grey mixed rice dish.

This is the first time I make the dish from scratch, I usually just buy it canned, and I have had many failed attempts but have now been successful after watching many videos on extracting the squid ink, however many people usually have packets or jars of squid ink that are sold at some specialty stores, they just add a couple tablespoonfuls to the sauce and it's done, however be warned when doing from scratch it isn't hard but is very time consuming.

-1 1/2 lbs of whole fresh small squid
-1/2 onion minced
-1/2 green bell pepper minced
-2 cloves garlic finely minced
-1/2 cup tomato sauce or 1 fresh grated tomato
-1/4 cup dry white wine
-water (enough to barely cover the squid)
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste (optional)
(1) To extract the ink there is a ink sac inside the body when you yank out the internal part of the body by pulling it down from it's head, it's a silver sac, remove it with your hand gently, and place it in a bowl intact, then to extract more ink this sounds gross but carefully stab the baby squid in the eye and drain the black ink from it's eye. Repeat the process, set aside in a small bowl, add a little salt, a good drizzle of olive oil, and mash with a fork, spoon or mortar to a thick black sauce. Set aside
(2) Now finish cleaning your squid, remove the see-through bone from it, the outer skin, cut into rings and wash several times, discard the heads and save the tentacles wash well too. Then pat- dry and set aside.

(3) Heat extra- virgin olive oil on medium high heat, add you squid, stir it will release a lot of liquid crank the heat up to high and stir occasionally until all the water evaporates.
(4) Meanwhile chop your onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and have your tomato ready. When all the water evaporates lower heat to medium high and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic cook down for about 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally, add tomato and cook down 5 minutes.
(5) Add the squid ink stir well, when it comes to a bubble add dry white wine, bring to a boil, add enough water to barely cover, taste it and add salt and pepper to taste bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer on low heat covered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until very tender.
Serve over rice
*This doesn't make a very large portion once you have cleaned all the squid and everything you end up with about 4 small to medium portions I recommend you make 3 lbs. next time I make this I will use 3 lbs./ double the recipe

Helpful tips:
I learned to extract the ink watchin this video

and also the technique for using it in cooking from "El Cocinero Andaluz"

and for those unclear about cleaning squid you may benefit from watching this video with "Maangchi" :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Manitas de Cerdo en Salsa (Pigs Feet In Sauce)

Pigs feet are simmered until tender, creating a rich stock used to make a rich smooth sauce that's slightly sweet from cooking down sweet yellow onions, garlic, leek, sweet carrots and tomato, and also has hints of spicy from the black pepper and for those that can handle more heat some dried chili peppers can be added to kick it up.

Served hot smothered in sauce, it's simply comfort food with rice or bread :)

I learned this recipe from "El Cocinero Andaluz" (The Andalusian Cook) he has a video blog dedicated to his home cooking and has an array of Andalusian recipes at his blog:

For those that don't know Andalusia is in Southern Spain and is well known for their fried foods, especially fish and using a variety of herbs and spices (due to Moorish influence). His blog is a treasure chest for anyone interested in this Cuisine, however it is in Spanish and so are the videos, but the videos are usually silent and if your familiar with the kitchen you can just watch what he is using and how he does things for those who don't know Spanish and are still interested.

I did however adjust his recipe a bit, first by blanching the pigs feet first which is something I always do out of habit, second I added garlic to the aromatics and dried chili peppers as he suggested since he said it was "missing something" and made the sauce more smooth and abundant (because in my house we love having lots of sauce to soak up with rice)

Ingredients for the stock:

-4 lbs. pigs feet
-water (enough to completely cover pigs feet)
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
-2 whole cloves
-salt to taste

Sauce Ingredients:
-1/4- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 leek (discard green leaves, and the bottom tip area use only the body, cut in half and rinse well then slice thin)
-1 large onion julienned
-2 carrots peeled cut into thin rounds
-3 cloves garlic minced
-2-3 small dried red chile peppers (cayenne, guindillas, or chile japones or chile de arbol this is optional only if you want a spicy kick to it)
-2 large fresh ripe tomatoes quartered
-1/2- 1 cup tomato sauce
-pork feet stock (reserved)
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste
-finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro to garnish

Directions for pig feet/ stock:
(1) First we start by cleaning the pigs feet by blanching, wash them well, drain, bring water to a boil in a pot enough to cover the pigs feet and boil them 10 minutes,
all the scum will rise, skim it off, after 10 minutes,
drain the water out and wash the pigs feet again.
Now they are ready to use, this step is always done in my house when we cook pigs feet, it get's rid of any impurities or bad taste from the meat.

(2) Now bring a pot with enough water to cover pigs feet to a boil again, add the cleaned pigs feet, bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, and salt to taste when it boils strong, cover and lower heat to medium low simmer about 2 1/2 hours until very tender.
(3) When pork feet are tender, remove from pot, and you will have a rich flavorful stock, strain the stock to remove bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and set aside. You will use this stock to make your sauce. Don't be alarmed if you get a white stock it doesn't mean it's dirty, what it means is that the meat has released a lot of it's minerals, and gelatine which is a good thing makes the stock very rich.

Directions for sauce and finishing dish:
(1) In a deep-pot heat olive oil on medium high heat, when hot add garlic, onions, leeks, and carrot until translucent about 5-7 minutes,
add chopped tomato and when tomato is tender stir in tomato sauce let this cook down 3-5 minutes.
(2) Add some of the stock enough to cover all the veggies, and let boil about 5 minutes, turn heat to low,
and use a hand blender to blend the sauce until smooth,
or remove the sauce in batches and blend in a blender (be careful hot liquids burst and jump in blenders or food processors, I use a hand blender for this dish)

(3) When sauce is smooth, add pigs feet, and enough stock to barely cover the feet, bring to a boil, add ground black pepper to taste and more salt if necessary, cover and allow to simmer 25- 30 minutes.
(4) Turn off give a gentle stir, and garnish with parsley or cilantro.
(5) Serve in a deep bowl with lots of sauce, some bread and a salad....
or like I did today for leftovers I had it Cuban style ha ha, with some white rice, sliced avocado, and fried plantains.
If you don't like pigs feet then you simply don't like them end of story I'm not here to convince you ha ha, but for those that do, give this recipe a try, you'll be pleasantly surprised :D don't forget pigs feet are messy to eat hehe., Don't be afraid to grab with your hands and chomp down on these morsels.

If interested in other recipes using pigs feet check out my Tata's / Grandmas Spanish "Potaje de Garbanzos Con Pata de Puerco" (Chickpea and Pigs feet stew) you can also use them in her "Potaje de Pata y Panza" in place of the beef foot called for, or my mother's Mexican "Patas de Puerco Cocidas" (boiled pork feet) served with lime, salt, and hot sauce. Another dish the pork feet are feautured in is in my mother's "Pozole Rojo" (Hominy and Pork Stew) and the pork feet can also be used in my grandma's "Potaje de Pata y Panza"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fricase de Puerco (Pork Fricase)

I had a good chunk of pork meat, well marbled good for stewing so I was planning on
making a stew with it, but not sure how I wanted to make the stew

I wanted a Cuban or Spaniard tomato based stew, and I knew the variations were endless.

However I remembered that some Cuban restaurants have something they call "Fricase de Puerco" which is a pork version of the Cuban "Fricase de Pollo/ Chicken Fricase" (which is chicken stewed in a tomato based sauce, traditionally/ typically chicken is marinaded in garlic and citrus first, browned, cooked in sauce and is somewhat sour with olives sometimes some capers but often balanced by stewing with the addition of raisins or sometimes instead of raisins some people add sliced carrot or leave it as is without the sweetness)

So here's my way of preparing a cuban-style "Pork Fricase" and let me tell you it came out delicious!!!! What made it special was marinading the pork in sour orange and garlic giving it that special cuban garlic sauce taste, but it married into the typical tomato based sauce made with the holy trinity of Cuban cooking (onion, bell pepper, garlic) the two married and gave birth to this, it was just amazing :D

-Ingredients to marinade pork-

-3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
-3/4 cups sour orange juice (you can substitute with 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 white vinegar or a mixture of 1/2 lime and 1/2 orange juice)
-1/2 head of garlic, peeled, mashed to a paste in a mortar or through a press
-2 tsp. salt

-Ingredients for for the rest-
1/2 cup lard or extra-virgin olive oil (I use lard for this)
-1 onion chopped
-1 bell pepper (red or green or both) chopped
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-3 cups water
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp. whole black peppercorns (or black pepper to taste)
-1 tsp. ground cumin
-4 potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
-7-8 olives cut in half (black or green spanish olives)
-4 tablespoons capers (optional)
-1/4 cup raisins (optional)
-salt to taste (towards the end because the olives and capers tend to be very salty, also the wine depending what you use, like if you use a typical cuban cooking wine like Goya or Edmundo it also has salt)

(1) Mix pork with all marinade ingredients allow to marinade at least 2 hours. When done marinading drain it BUT reserve the marinade, pat the meat dry.

(2) In a large pot, heat lard on very high heat, when it's real hot, add pork and brown on all sides (do not panic if the pork releases some juices and everything starts boiling, leave it uncovered and stir occasionally until everything reduces and it starts browning)

(3) When browned add bell peppers and onion and cook until translucent, add tomato sauce stir well and when the tomato sauce bubbles throw in bay leaves, peppercorns, and cumin, along with wine, and water. Bring everything to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour.

(4) When pork meat is tender (to check doneness pierce with a fork) add your potatoes, olives and the optional capers and raisins bring back to a boil on high, and cover simmer on medium low until potatoes are tender (about 20 - 30 minutes) turn off heat and it's ready to serve over rice :)

(1) For a very delicious variation, cut your potatoes into large cubes, and deep-fry them on medium high heat until inside is tender, and then crank the heat up and get them all well browned, drain and set aside. When the meat is fully tender, turn off stew and toss it with the deep-fried potatoes.

I learned that technique/ variation in these type of stews from "Maruxa Moíño" a wonderful home cook originally from Galicia, Spain now residing in Catalunya region of Spain. Her son created a blog documenting and making videos of her home cooking. So a big thanks and shout to them :)