Shredded Beef (Ropa Vieja)

The translation for Ropa Vieja is actually old clothes, don’t know if it’s because it’s a comfort dish like old clothes or if it’s because you cook it as long as you would boil old clothes back in the day. Either way, it translates to a delicious beef dish!

This dish is even tastier the next day and is very inexpensive to make. You can use shoulder london broil which is quite cheap, so you can buy enough to feed a battalion (batallón)!

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Chicken Noodle Soup (Sopa de Pollo)

This soup is on every abuela’s arsenal! When anyone has a cold or is just a bit under the weather, this is the cure! Lots of love goes into making this soup, plus a few basic ingredients. This soup is really simple. The first time I made it on my own, I got it all wrong because I added too many things! It didn’t taste anything like Mami’s lovin’ soup.

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Arroz Congrí

This is the recipe that started the Bean Train! This is Mami’s best recipe and it’s the one that her kids and grandkids want to learn and pass down. Everytime she makes it, she calls me to see if I want her to save me some. Of course I do! (Hers is still better than mine!)

This is a traditional rice dish that’s served with just about anything, but especially with roast pork (lechón asado) on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena).

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Chicken Fricassee (Fricasé de Pollo)

éééI grew up cooking Cuban food and this is one of the first recipes I mastered when I was a teenager. This dish similar to Chicken Cacciatore and, it’s a very easy recipe to work with, almost foolproof. I even tackled Turkey Fricassee for one Thanksgiving! Growing up in Miami, a traditional turkey dinner wasn’t something I did until I was married to my very American husband.

I remembered thinking I had bitten off more than I could chew as I was cutting up the turkey, but it came out delicious. Mami tried to take the credit for the dish, since she’s the one who taught me, but I wouldn’t let her. It was my trophy turkey!

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Seafood Paella (Paella de Mariscos)

Seafood Paella is one of those meals that just makes me want to throw a party! This is such a popular party food with Cubans in Miami that catering companies in specialize making paellas for big parties.

Paella comes in many varieties. Paella Valenciana is made with chicken, pork and chorizo. Paella Mixta uses meats and seafood and then there’s Paella de Mariscos. You can switch up the seafood based on your budget and preference, but it usually includes shrimp, firm fish and mussels. You can also add lobster tails, stone crab claws and calamari. Since I was in a party mood, I used all of them!

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