Cuban Feast on a Plate

A Cuban feast on a plate

TAMALES

Prepared by Anerys Brotherton & Ernestina Ford

Ingredients

  • Pork belly, cut into 4 cms pieces
  • 3 sweet corn cobs
  • 350g polenta
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 capsicum
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 bottle of tomato pure
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Aluminium foil for wrapping

Method

  1. Marinate the pork belly in lemon juice and 1 tsp of cumin for 30 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, fry the pork belly pieces to render the fat and set aside.
  3. Remove leaves from the corncobs keeping some leaves to make ties for the tamale parcels.
  4. Cut off the kernels from each cob and in blender mix with a little water to a creamy consistency.
  5. In a bowl, mix the polenta with the corn mixture and add the salt. The polenta will absorb the moisture.
  6. Chop the onion, capsicum and garlic and fry in the pork fat until soft, then add the tomato pure. Mix well.  Pour in the polenta and corn mix and stir until the mixture thickens.
  7. Cut the foil into even sized squares.  Scoop one spoonful of the tamale mixture into the centre of the prepared foil.  Place on piece of pork belly in the middle and fold the foil into secure little parcels.
  8. For authenticity, tear the leaves from the corn into thin strips and tie the parcels across the middle with the ribbon of corn leaf.  It is said that a mark of a good tamale is that it has a waist.  Tying also stops the packages from splitting.
  9. Pack in a large pot of boiling water, enough to cover the tamale packages and keep on the boil for 1 hour.
  10. Serve while still warm.

CONGRI   (Black Beans & Rice)

Prepared by Martha Valdes

Ingredients

  • 250g Black beans
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed with a little salt
  • 1 Capsicum
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 2½  cups Water

Method

  1. Prepare beans – In a saucepan, cover with water and add 3 bay leaves.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour or until beans begin to soften.  If you have a pressure cooker it will only take 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the bay leaves, pour off the water from the beans and set to one side.
  3. Prepare the sofrito or sauce.
  4. Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil.  Add chopped capsicum, 1 tsp. cumin and mixed herbs.
  5. Drain the water from the cooked beans into a jug and add water to make 2½ cups in total.  Then add the sofrito, and cook for a further 5 minutes in the pressure cooker, or until the rice is cooked if using a stove.

ROAST PIG with ORANGE MARINADE

Prepared by Anerys Brotherton & Ernestina Ford

Anerys injects the under layer of skin on the pig with her orange marinade before cooking it in her special China Box.  It is a portable roasting oven imported from Florida in the United States, which has a grill frame for the pig to sit in. A tray of hot coals sits on top of the box and provides enough heat to cook the pig within.

The lid of the box totally encloses the pig so that heat surrounds the meat. It was given the curious name of ‘China Box’ because, as the story goes, any clever invention in Cuba was known as ‘Chinese’.

If you don’t want to use a needle to inject the skin of the pig, score the skin to allow the marinade to penetrate through to the underlayer of fat for extra flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole piglet approx 6–8 kg
  • Marinade
  • 1 litre orange juice
  • ¼ litre lemon juice
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 bunch oregano
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Bay leaves

Method

  1. In a blender add the orange and lemon juice, and the chopped garlic. Remove the leaves from the herbs and add to the juice along with salt and blend.
  2. Strain the juice and keep the herbs to one side. 
  3. Flatten the piglet so it will sit within a grill frame.
  4. Fill the needle with the herb flavoured juice and inject at evenly spaced points across the skin of the piglet.
  5. Leave it to rest for 15 minutes.  Score the skin then place in the China Box for about 3 - 4 hours.  Turn every hour for even cooking.

TOSTONES

Prepared by Esperanza Arias Calli

  • Plantain bananas
  • Brown paper
  1. Cut each banana into 2 cm widths.  Peel and drop each piece into a saucepan of hot oil. 
  2. Cook until they begin to turn brown. 
  3. Remove and while hot, squash the flesh flat, between 2 pieces of brown paper. 
  4. Then fry one more time. 
  5. Drain and sprinkle with salt before serving.
  6. Thin slices of banana can also be double fried for a more regular look.

CORN FRITTERS   

Prepared by Dardenia Callis

Ingredients

  • 1 can creamed sweet corn
  • 1 cup Polenta
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sofrito
  • 1 Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Capsicum, chopped
  • Salt

Method

  1. To make the softrito,finely chop the garlic, onion and capsicum and fry off in a little vegetable oil.
  2. Place the creamed sweet corn in a bowl and add the polenta, plain flour, baking powder and 2 beaten egg yolks. Then stir in the sofrito.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan and drop a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil to test.  The fritter will puff up and brown if the oil is hot enough.  Continue until all the mixture has been used.  Several can be cooked at one time but don’t overcrowd the saucepan. 
  4. Drain the fritters on paper towelling and serve.

RICE PUDDING (Arroz Con Leche)

Prepared by Margarita San Jose

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups short grain rice,
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • Rind from 1 lemon or lime 
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Cinnamon powder

Method

  1. In a saucepan, cook the rice in water until just soft.
  2. Add cinnamon sticks, lemon rind and milk and stir.
  3. Add the coconut and condensed milk, stirring all the time.  Then add sugar to taste.
  4. Stir thoroughly until it is of a creamy consistency.  If the mixture is too thick add more milk.
  5. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
  6. This creamy rice is delicious with stewed fruit or on it’s own.

STUFFED POTATO BALLS (not featured in the episode)

Prepared by Magnolia Szabo

Ingredients

  • 6 potatoes
  • 250g beef mince
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika (optional)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg, beaten

Method

  1. In a saucepan, fry the garlic and onion in a little oil.  Add the beef mince, tomato and spices and simmer until meat is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.  Set aside.
  2. Boil potatoes and mash.  While still warm, roll spoonfuls of the potato mash into a ball.  Poke a hole in the middle and add a spoonful of the mince. Close over with potato.
  3. Roll each ball in egg and breadcrumbs and fry in a saucepan of hot oil.

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