Cuban Rice Salad (Ensalada de Arroz)

Part 2 of my Cuban salad series. Fantastic hearty salad with chicken and rice! Great for outdoor parties or picnics.  I omitted the toasted sesame seeds, for personal taste.  Adapted from Cuba, the cookbook. Recipe invented by Vivian Costa Leal, a Cuban housewife.

 

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large green peppers
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely cooked chicken
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup or more mayonnaise

 

Directions

  1. Roast the peppers over an open flame or broiler. Place in a bowl fuller ice water. Peel off the skin, and cut into strips. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine the onions and vinegar. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3.  In a medium fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes till the garlic is fragrant. Stir in salt. Set aside.
  4.   In  a large bowl combine half the peppers and the rest of the ingredients. Salt to taste. Use the remaining peppers to decorate the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

 

 

Cuban Chicken Salad (Ensalada de Pollo)

A staple served at parties. This isn’t my great aunt’s version but close.   Adapted from Cuban Chicks Can Cook, by Ana Quincoces Rodriquez

 

Cuban Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole roasted chicken shredded without skin
  • 4 large peeled red potatoes, cubed into 1-inch pieces and boiled till tender
  • 1 large green apple peeled and finely chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, 3 finely chopped, use 1 for decoration
  •   3/4 cup peas
  • 1 cup canned asparagus tips, reserve 2 tablespoons liquid
  • 1 small can diced pimentos, reserve 2 tablespoons liquid
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, reserved pea and pimento liquid, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in the chicken, I used my hands. Add remaining ingredients. Toss well.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise if necessary.
  4. You can decorate the top with slices of egg, any left over pimento pieces, peas or asparagus.

 

Okra with Plantain (Quimbombo’)

Quimbombo, a dish I remember seeing at the kitchen table many times. My mother assisted me by making the plantain balls. She recalled that it was a stew that was made with whatever was on hand. Here I used the recipe below as a reference, but the rest is  from my family to yours.

Adapted from Cuba, The Cookbook by Madelaine Vazquez Galvez and Imogene Tondre

 

 

Okra with Plantain

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large half-ripe plantains
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cubanelles peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  •  1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 chorizo links, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
  • 1 cup ham, cubed
  • 2 cups sliced okra
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

 

Directions

  1. Peel and cut the plantain into pieces. Set in a pot with lightly salted boiling water. Boil till soften, about 12 minutes. drain and when cool enough to handle, mash it up, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and roll into balls about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Set the dumplings aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, garlic, and onion. Cook till fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook stirring regularly for about another 2 minutes. Stir in the chorizo, ham and okra. Add the lime juiced stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and wine, lower the heat and cover. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes. Add the dumplings gently stirring for a few minutes till heated through.

 

Country-Style Chicken

Part two of my recipes from Cuba, The Cookbook by Madelaine Vazquez Galvez and Imogene Tondre.  I adjusted the quantity of the oil to 1 cup instead of of 2.  You can also take the chicken out and place in the sauce instead of pouring the sauce over the chicken, that way you won’t have so much oil in the dish. Otherwise this is very delicious!

 

Country-Style Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup bitter orange juice
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 2 large green peppers
  • all-purpose flour for dredging
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium white onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

 

Directions

  1. Combine the chicken, salt, and bitter orange. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut an “x” into the skin at the blossom end of the tomatoes and submerge them in the boiling water. When you see the skin starting to peel away submerge the tomatoes in ice water to cool. When cool enough to handle peel away the skin. Halve, seed, and dice.
  3. Roast the green peppers over flame or broiler until the skin blackens, turning frequently.  Let cool and peel off the skin. Seed and cut into thin strips.
  4. In a large frying pan heat up the oil over medium high heat. Dredge the chicken in the flour and add to the oil. Fry till browned on both sides. Set aside.
  5. In a medium frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.  Pour the soffit over the chicken.
  6. Add the wine and let it reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, peppers, and scallions. Cover and cook till the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley.

 

 

Cuban Salmon and Shrimp

I have made this several times already.  So easy and so delicious!  Adapted from Cuba, The Cookbook by Madelaine Vazquez Galvez and Imogene Tondre, a great read on the  culinary history of Cuba with amazing recipes.

 

Cuban Salmon and Shrimp

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound salmon cut into 4 pieces
  • salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter

 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the salmon,  1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic, lime juice, wine, and olive oil and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Reserving the marinade, drain the salmon.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook till pink, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the salmon and cook, sprinkling the marinade, for about 8 minutes on each side. Add the shrimp to heat through, for about 2 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve over rice.

 

 

Vaca Frita

I call this the cousin of the Cuban dish, Ropa Vieja.  It’s primarily  same, minus the tomato sauce. Adapted from Cuban Chicks Can Cook by Ana Quincoces Rodriquez.

Vaca Frita

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  1. 2lbs flank steak
  2. 1/2 cup sour orange juice
  3. 1/4 cup lime juice
  4. 1/4 cup olive oil
  5. 2 medium onions thinly sliced
  6. 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  7. 2 teaspoons salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1 bay leaf

 

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Add the flank steak and bay leaf. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for  2 hours.
  2. Remove the beef from the water and let cool. Shred the beef by hand working with the grain. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, sour orange and lime juices. Let it marinate for 30 minutes. Drain any excess juice.
  3. In a large hot cast iron skillet, heat half the oil over medium heat. Add half the beef, onions and garlic. Stir frequently for about 10 minutes or until crispy . Set aside and repeat with the other half.

 

 

Bistek de Palomilla

I almost forgot about this dish, it took a trip to a Little Havana in Miami to remind me. It is such a Cuban staple dish. It is quick and easy to make. I used Ana Quincoces Rodriquez’s Cuban Chicks can Cook recipe as a baseline with some minor changes of mine.

Bistek de Palomilla

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

4 1/4 inch thick top round steaks

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 cup of sour oranges (or a mixture of lime juice and orange juice in equal parts)

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 cup of thinly sliced in half moons onions

Directions

Combine the sour orange juice with the crushed garlic. Pour over the steaks and marinate for no more than 15 to 30 minutes.

Heat up one tablespoon of olive oil in a thick fry pan.  Season the steaks with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Fry the steaks 2 minutes on each side. Set aside. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil in pan and add the onions, add a splash of the sour orange juice and saute till tender. Pour over the steaks. Serve with traditional rice, beans plantains and avocado salad.