Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2010

This side dish can be found at any typical Puertorrican “fonda” or dive.  Arroz con tocino (I like to add the “tocino” for the flavor but don’t eat it) is simply medium grain white rice with salt pork.  The salt pork or “tocino” (I use Hormel brand because it is not as salty and its marbled like bacon) gives the white rice additional flavor and its fat allows for the perfect setting to make crispy “pegao” (crusty rice at the bottom of the pan seen in the following picture).  Other countries make similar crusty rice like in the Dominican Republic in which they call it “con-con” or the persians which have different versions of rice called “polo” and also make crusty rice at the bottom.

tocino

pegao

Serve with “lechón asado”, “pasteles”, “carne guisada”, or “fricasé de pollo” and top with “habichuelas guisadas” with a side of “tostones” and a slice of avocado and you have an example of what many people in Puerto Rico like to have for lunch or dinner.  I know its a lot of food and unhealthy if eaten everyday in large quantities, but believe me, having “arroz con tocino” with stewed beans once in a while is very satisfying.

Enjoy!

Arroz con tocino

Ingredients

6 ounces of  tocino (salt pork) cubed

3 cups white medium rice

4 1/4 cups warm water

2 tsp fine sea salt

Procedure


1.  In a medium “caldero” heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté salt pork until golden brown for about  8 minutes over medium heat. Stir occationally.

2.  Add white rice and sauté for about 2 minutes. (if you want the tocino to remain crispy, remove form pan once its browned and add at the end when the rice is done)

3.  Add water and salt and let water evaporate completely.

4. Bring heat to low and stir rice.  Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is cooked completely. (add tocino if you removed in step 2)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

In many cultures around the world it is said that to get to a man’s heart you first have to get to his stomach, so when I got married 12 years ago I set a goal for myself to learn to cook cuban food like a cuban. My husband Emilio is the son of cuban immigrants that moved to Puerto Rico in the late 1960’s.  Puerto Rican and Cuban food have many similarities since they are both a fusion of mainly Spanish and African influences along with the ingredients the tropical climate of the Caribbean region has to offer.  However, the cuban staple dish of white rice (long grain), black beans, breaded beefsteak (carne empanada) and yuca al mojo (boiled yuca with a dressing made of garlic, onions, oil and lime juice) is different form the Puerto Rican staple dish of white rice (medium grain), red beans, sauted beefsteak with onions and tostones (fried green plantains).  Probably these differences come from availability of the products or varying tastes from immigrants from different regions, but in order to impress my husband with the food he grew up with I had to give it try.

Of course, the first step was getting a cuban cooking cookbook.  My mother in law, Doña Martha gave me Nitza Villapol’s Cocina Criolla (not to be confused with Puerto Rico’s Mrs. Carmen Valdejully Cocina Criolla).  In this book, which has no pictures and is printed in old fashioned type writer font, I have found all of the recipes that are trademarks of cuban cuisine and more.  This book along with cooking tips from dear cuban family and friends like Doña Martha, Nene, Lilly, and of course Emilio, have been the wind beneath my wings to discover the pleasures and savour of cuban cuisine.  Arroz con leche, frijoles negros, yuca al mojo, arroz con pollo, maduros, ropa vieja, picadillo, carne empanada, mojito, congri and cafe batido have become part of my recipe repertoire and in my family’s dinner table for many years.  I must mention  there is another version of cuban picadillo which has raisins and or cubed potatoes if you like it.  It is also delicious!

Picadillo, which means to cut or mince in spanish, is the best way to make ground beef in my opinion.  As I have mentioned before in other blog posts, I don’t eat a lot of meat but I like to make Picadillo with organic ground beef and use as a filling for tacos, burritos, empanadillas, empanada gallega, relleno de papa (potato fritters filled with ground beef), pastelón, lasagna, alcapurrias, ravioli, Bolognese Sauce or just as a side dish with white rice.  Some people like to add Bijol powder or annato oil to give it more color but I don’t think its necessary. This recipe makes a large amount because it is generous enough to make a meat lasagna but if I only need half of it I have the option of freezing it or using it as a filling for argentinian oven empanadillas (which can also be frozen once assembled) or whatever dish comes to my mind.  I also use it for my mother’s recipe of one-pot-spaghetti in which the pasta is cooked in the meat sauce. Super delicious!  Here is my version of Picadillo.

Buen provecho!

Picadillo (cuban style ground beef)

Ingredients

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 cup of yellow onion finely chopped

1/2 cup of green cubanel pepper (pimiento de cocinar)

3 cloves of garlic minced

2 pounds approximately of organic ground beef (lean)

8 oz. tomato sauce

2 tsp fine sea salt

1  tsp homemade adobo (if you don’t have then use salt with a pinch of cumin)

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp dried thyme

2 recaito “ice cubes” = 3 tbsps

4 dried bay leaves

3 tbsp “alcaparrado” (mixture of capers and manzanilla olives)  or just manzanilla olives

1/4  cup dry white wine

Procedure

1.  In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat oil (med or med-low depending on your stove) and add onions, cubanel pepper and garlic.  Saute for about 5 minutes until transluscent (not browned or burned).

2.  Add rest of ingredients, except ground beef, and let simmer to make “sofrito”.  Stir occasionally.

3.  Add ground beef.  Mix well and cook uncovered for approximately 20 minutes stirring frequently so that the beef doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Take out excess fat with spoon.

Read Full Post »

This is a delicious easy alternative for a week day family dinner.  You can leave the pork tenderloins seasoned the night before. The brown sugar gives the tenderloin a sweet golden finish and helps make an amazing onion cream sauce.  It is different and tastes so good!  I use fresh rosemary from my herb garden but you can use dried if you want.  Just remember nothing beats the flavor of fresh herbs, with the exception of dried oregano in italian cooking. I make this dish for my family and always get outstanding reviews.  Great with homemade mashed potatoes or salad.

Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

2 pork tenderloins

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves (mashed)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of white wine

1 medium onion  sliced

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Procedure:


1.  Clean pork tenderloins from excess fat.

2.  Mash garlic cloves with a pinch of the salt in a mortar and pestle.  Mix with brown sugar, pepper, remaining salt and rosemary to create a paste and rub on tenderloins.

3.  In a heavy bottomed medium size casserole (caldero) or dutch oven,  heat extra virgin olive oil (med-hi heat).  Add pork tenderloins and brown on one side for about 5 -7minutes.

4.  Add white wine and flip to brown on the other side for about 5 minutes. Lower heat to med-low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Check for doneness.

5.  Remove tenderloins form pan and add onions to the meat-wine juices left in the pan.  Saute until onions caramelized and add heavy cream. Do not let juices to evaporate completely. If too high lower heat (stoves vary so use common sense).

6.  Meanwhile, cut tenderloin into medallions and add juices from your cutting plate to the onions in the pan.  Allow sauce to reduce until creamy in texture.

7.  Pour sauce over medallions.   Serve immediately with salad or vegetables.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts