To start with, you have to have a great appetizer. Here's what I recommend:
|8-10 jumbo shrimp||3 tbsp. chopped parsley|
|1/2 cup chopped garlic||2 tbsp chopped cilantro|
|1/4 cup oil||2 tsp. paprika|
|1/4 cup white vinegar||1/2 tsp. cayenne|
|1/4 cup lime juice||salt and pepper|
Here are the three must-haves for an authentic cuban meal:
Bistec de Palomilla
This is the most typical steak served in Cuban restaurants.
For cooking at home,
you can either have your local butcher slice the sirloin no more than 1/4 inch thick.
You can also get a thicker slice and pound it out with a meat hammer or rolling pin.
|6 thin-sliced, boneless sirloin steaks||4 tbsp. butter|
|juice of one lime||2 tbsp. olive oil (for frying)|
|3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced||Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste|
Once the steaks are cooked, remove the steaks, remove pan from heat and quickly
add lime juice to deglaze the pan. Add four tablespoons of butter and garlic. Return to
low heat and cook long enough to heat through, but do not brown or otherwise overcook
the garlic. Pour the sauce on the steaks and serve with fresh lime sections.
And of course, we can't forget the side items. Here are my absolute favorites!
Baked Sweet Plantains
No Cuban meal is complete without plantains, also known as 'maduros.'
|4 medium plantains, very ripe||1/2 cup dry wine or light rum|
|1/4 cup dry sherry||1/4 cup packed brown sugar|
|4 tbsp. salted butter||4 tbsp. ground cinnamon, to taste|
|4 tbsp. ground nutmeg, to taste|
Cuban Black Beans
And last by not least, the best part of every Cuban meal...My grandma's legendary
Cuban Black Beans. I can't explain to you how much I love these beans!
|1 lb. package of
|10 cups of water|
|1 green bell pepper||2/3 cup olive oil|
|1 large Spanish onion||5 garlic cloves|
|4 tsp. salt||1/2 tsp. black pepper|
|1/4 tsp. oregano||2 bay leaves|
|2 tbsp. sugar||1/4 tsp. ground cumin|
|3 tbsp. cooking sherry
|1.5 oz. jar of cocktail onions and 1 tbspn. of onion liquid|
|About 25 pitted pimento stuffed olives||1 tbsp. of the olive liquid|
|Place the beans and the green pepper in the water overnight to soak(or atleast six hours).
Boil in a covered pot in the same water until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes.
In a skillet, heat the oil and sautee the chopped onion, minced garlic and chopped green pepper
for about 2-3 minutes until brown and tender. Add salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaves, cumin and
sugar. Boil for about 1 hour at medium heat to keep it at a slow rolling boil. Add the cooking
wine, the cocktail onion and the olives with their liquid and cook at a low heat for about
1/2 hour and then uncover the pot and cook slowly for another 1/2 hour so the liquid is reduced
and the bean soup thickens to a more creamy consistency. Serves approximately 8 portions. May
be served with chopped raw onions and a little parsley on top to garnish.
These recipes are a courtesy of 3 Guys from Miami and my Grandma Norma.
Instead of having pictures of food, I thought some photos of Cuba would be nice.
These are both from La Habana, where my grandma was raised. She moved to the U.S
with two baby girls in 1957, right before Castro took over. I would love to go
to Cuba one day, but I'll never travel there until Fidel gets the boot. Isn't it beautiful though!