Sandi Abbott

Cuban chicken and rice

Cuban Chicken And Rice (Arroz Con Pollo) Is A Great One-Dish Meal

I’m so excited to share this Cuban chicken and rice dish with you because it’s my favorite Cuban dish! For years, I would ask Mami to make this for my birthday. There are two versions of Cuban chicken and rice you can make, and my favorite version is arroz con pollo a la chorrera, which means that the rice is wet, similar to risotto (chorrera can mean a water spout or drip). 

The Long And Short Of Arroz Con Pollo

For years, we lived in a house divided. Half of my family liked their chicken and rice made with short-grain rice (a la chorrera), and the other half liked it with long grain rice. Everything else about the dish is essentially the same, but the rice makes all the difference in the finished product. 

Arroz con pollo a la chorrera is made with short-grain rice called Valencia Rice which is very similar to the rice used in risotto. So, the dish is saucy, and the rice is soft and sticks together.  And, if you’ve got leftovers, you can make these super tasty fried rice balls (they are amazeballs, trust me!).

But you can also make arroz con pollo with long grain rice, and it will be just as tasty, but the rice will not be saucy and quite as soft.  In this case, you’ll cook with less liquid.

Cuban chicken and rice

Cuban Chicken and Rice Is Almost Like Paella

Arroz con pollo is very similar to paella, especially if you make it with short-grain rice. These rice dishes use most of the same ingredients, except that paella includes a variety of meats and a liberal amount of wine. You can make paella with pork, chicken, and seafood. One of my favorite versions is paella mixta with chicken, shrimp, and chorizo. 

Arroz con pollo is simpler to make because you just need chicken. The other big difference is that chicken and rice cooks in beer instead of wine. First, you cook the rice with chicken broth and just a little bit of wine. Then, add the beer when most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is almost done. Beer gives this dish a distinctive taste.

arroz con pollo

How To Make Arroz Con Pollo

I like to make this rice dish with dark meat because it’s tastier this way. I’ve made it with chicken breast, and the breast meat tends to be dry. Also, it does not absorb the flavors quite as much. To make this rice very flavorful, you should use chicken and drumsticks with the bone and skin. It gives the dish such a rich taste! 

But I made my version with skinless, boneless chicken thighs because it’s easier to eat. I don’t like having the bones in the way. It’s really up to your chicken preferences. However, if you opt for skinless and boneless chicken, you should use a little more olive oil and definitely use chicken broth. The broth is optional if you’re using bone-in chicken because the bone imparts so much flavor. 

The other ingredients include aromatics such as onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Although traditionally made with chopped green bell peppers and garnished with pimentos (roasted red bell pepper), I make some mods to suit my peeps. My stepdad does not like peppers in his food so I keep the peppers chunky so he can remove them easily. Also, I don’t like green peppers so I usually replace them with red bell peppers. We all have our quirks! 😜

The spices in this dish are smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Another seasoning I like to use in my Cuban chicken and rice is saffron. This is an essential ingredient in paella, but totally optional in arroz con pollo. But I love the spice so much that I usually add it to rice and tomato-based dishes. However, this spice is pricey and sometimes hard to find. So you can opt not to use it.

Some folks marinate the chicken the day before. But I usually don’t because I don’t always plan my meals a day ahead, like today 😯. So I typically rub the spices into the chicken and let it sit while I prep the rest of the items. If you have the time to marinate, you can add the wine, salt, pepper, spices, and garlic the recipe calls for to the chicken and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. But don’t sweat it, it will be good either way.

Once you’ve sauteed all the veggies and added the spices, and tomato sauce, add the rice and sauté for a bit. Then add the white wine and the chicken broth. Cook for about twenty minutes, until the arroz con pollo is almost done, and most of the liquid is absorbed. Then, you’ll add a cup of beer and let it finish cooking. You can add some olives if you like, too. 

Garnish your Cuban chicken and rice with peas, roasted peppers, and parsley and served with a side of fried plantains. I like to use the twice-fried green plantains known as tostones. Fried sweet plantains known as maduros are another popular Cuban side dish. Add a side salad, and you’ve got a Cuban feast going on!

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Arroz Con Pollo

Cuban Chicken And Rice (Arroz Con Pollo) Is A Great One-Dish Meal

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

Cuban chicken and rice (aka arroz con pollo) is flavored with paprika, beer and saffron affiliate link and makes an easy weeknight meal.


Ingredients

Scale

2 cups Valencia rice

3 cups chicken broth

2 pounds chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless, but any way is fine)

1 cup chopped onion

½ red bell pepper (I prefer red but you can also use green bell pepper)

4 garlic cloves

1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon oregano

1 bay leaf

¼ black pepper

Pinch saffron affiliate link threads (optional but highly recommended)

1/4 cup olive oil

½ cup tomato sauce

More salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup white cooking wine

1 cup beer


Instructions

Prep

Trim the chicken pieces to remove the excess fat.  Mix the cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper together and rub on the chicken. Let the chicken sit while you chop the onions and peppers and crush the garlic. Finally, measure out and rinse the rice. 

Cook

Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan or dutch pot and heat on medium-high. Add the chicken pieces and brown on each side. Don’t crowd the pan; cook into two batches if necessary.  This should take about 4-6 minutes.

Remove the chicken, add the onions, garlic, and peppers, and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and saute for another minute. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, and saffron affiliate link threads. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. At this point, you may want to add a little more of the spices or salt to taste. Add the chicken and turn up the heat to bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, lower heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the rice is al dente. Then add a cup of beer, cover, and cook for a few more minutes until the rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. This could take 5-10 minutes. This is not an exact science, so check on it to make sure it does not overcook. 

Garnish with peas and pimentos and serve the fried plantains and a side salad. Then, get a little cake, and you’ve got my birthday meal all set! 


Notes

You can marinate the chicken overnight using the spices, crushed garlic cloves, and wine. In that case, still use the 2 garlic cloves and the 1/4 cup white wine in your preparation. You may also want to add more spices once you add the broth and taste the seasonings. I don’t usually marinate my chicken, but some folks do it this way. 

To be totally honest, this dish tastes even better when you use the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks. But I don’t like picking through the bones, it’s a personally hang-up, so I opt for boneless and skinless. I don’t suggest chicken breast because it tends to be dry and doesn’t absorb as much flavor. However, if you go with the skinless and boneless chicken, make sure to add chicken broth.

To make this dish with long grain rice, cut the broth down to two cups (so it’s a one-to-one ratio). Then cut the beer amount to ½ cup and cook it until the liquid is fully absorbed.

Keywords: Cuban Chicken and Rice, Cuban Arroz Con Pollo, chicken and rice, chicken and rice recipes, cuban yellow rice and chicken, how to make arroz con pollo, cuban arroz con pollo

pumpkin flan

Pumpkin Flan Is Such An Easy Fall Dessert!

Pumpkin flan combines the creamy, lusciousness of caramel flan with the earthy goodness of pumpkin for the perfect fall dessert. This flan is super easy to make and looks very impressive, especially if you add a little caramel decoration to it. I also found some super cute chocolate pumpkins for a little extra drama. 

While our love affair with pumpkins has deepened in recent years, especially with the advent of the pumpkin spice latte, Cubans have been making this pumpkin flan since way before PSL was even a thing. I remember my mom making this flan when I was eight, and I loved it way back then. It’s so creamy and pumpkiny, you’re tastebuds will thank me!

pumpkin flan

Fresh Pumpkin Mash

I tried different combinations of ingredients, and in the end, I settled on Mami’s version, which uses a caramel flan recipe with one and half cups of fresh pumpkin mash. I like this version best because the end result is a Cuban dessert that is luscious, creamy, and beautiful to look at. 

Caramel flan is super easy to make and has just five ingredients that turn out a spectacular Cuban dessert with a decadent caramel sauce. The ingredients include sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and eggs. This pumpkin flan also has caramel sauce AND a great pumpkin flavor. 

Although fresh pumpkin adds a bit of work to the process, I liked it better than using canned pumpkin because it gives the flan a silky, light flavor and beautifully creamy color.

If you want to save a little time, you can use the canned pumpkin. Your flan will have a deeper color and a more robust pumpkin pie flavor, especially if you add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mix. But I gotta tell you I didn’t like this as much. The flan came out too dark and too much like pumpkin pie. I wanted it to taste more like flan. 

pumpkin flan
Pumpkin Flan With Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin Flan Is Not Like Pumpkin Pie

I feel like I have to say this right off the bat because I struggled with this issue. To be honest, I hadn’t had pumpkin flan in years. I’d never made it myself, and Mami (aka Beantrain) hadn’t made it in quite a while, although I’d been pestering her for one.

So, the pumpkin dessert my tastebuds were familiar with was pumpkin pie, which has a deep, rich, and spicy pumpkin flavor. I expected that flavor with a little extra lusciousness thrown in, but it was not like that. Flan has a more delicate taste and color.

pumpkin flan
Pumpkin Flan Made With Fresh Pumpkin

At first, I wanted my flan to have a more robust pumpkin flavor laced with pumpkin spice. But I changed my mind after trying different variations. I found out that the closer I moved to the pumpkin pie flavor, the less it looked and tasted like flan. The color was much darker and the texture was not as smooth and creamy. So, I’m gonna let flan be flan and not put it through an identity crisis.

fresh pumpkin mash

How To Make Pumpkin Flan

Flan is baked in a water bath known as the Bain Marie method. You place the flan in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with water. You can also make the flan in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot using a special flan mold. You still have to add the water, but it’s a bit quicker and easier than baking. However, I couldn’t do this with the pumpkin flan. 

The reason for this is that the pumpkin adds more volume to the recipe, so the mix is too much for the flan mold (the molds have to be small enough to fit inside the pressure cooker). I tried anyway. I filled the mold to the top, put on the lid, and set it in the pressure cooker. The flan didn’t have enough room to cook and spilled out and became a watery mess. However Mami’s flan mold is a little bigger the oven.

This way, you can use any mold you like. You can use the flan mold, a cake pan, a pie plate or ramekins. I did not make mine in ramekins, but if you go this route, you’ll likely need 12 ramekins. Also, keep in mind that different mold sizes could impact the cooking time. 

pumpkin flan

Caramel Decorations

This pumpkin flan has a delicious caramel sauce that’s just cooked sugar. As you heat up the sugar, it forms a thick syrup that quickly hardens. This caramel sauce is used to coat the flan mold before you add the flan mix. As the flan bakes, some of the caramel dissolves and becomes a fantastic caramel sauce. This is what makes flan so amazing!

I use about a cup of sugar for the pumpkin flan. But you can use a little extra sugar and create some decorative swirls with the hardening caramel that you can use as decoration. I even made a little basket to hold my chocolate pumpkins!

Looking to make a different pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving? Give this pumpkin flan a try! Also, when you’re not in the pumpkin mode (is that even possible?) try my caramel flan, it’s the #1 Cuban dessert 🥰🍮

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pumpkin flan

Pumpkin Flan Is Such An Easy Fall Dessert!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 120 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Pumpkin flan combines the creamy, lusciousness of caramel flan with fresh pumpkin for the perfect fall dessert!


Ingredients

Scale

1 pound fresh pumpkin to make 1 1/2 cups pumpkin mash ** See note

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)

1 can evaporated milk (12 ounces)

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar


Instructions

Make the Pumpkin Mash:

If you’re using fresh pumpkin, peel and cut the pumpkin into one-inch chunks. The pumpkin skin is hard to peel, but it’s easier to peel if you cut the pumpkin into strips first. Boil until fork tender and mash, about 15 minutes.

CARAMEL

Make the caramel: While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare the caramel. 

  • Place 1 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan on medium high heat. Cook until sugar melts and has a deep amber color. You can swirl the pan to help the sugar dissolve, but don’t stir it. This should take about 12-14 minutes. 
  • Pour the caramel into the flan mold and swirl the mold a bit to get it up the sides a little. You need to work fast because the caramel hardens quickly, BUT be very careful not to spill the caramel or to touch the pie plate or cake pan where the caramel will be because it will burn you. I cannot stress this enough. USE MITTENS, THE CARAMEL IS VERY HOT AND CAN BURN YOU.

caramel

  • If you want to make some caramel decorations, you can heat up 1 1/2 cups of sugar and reserve some of the caramel to make decorations. In that case, pour about 2/3 of caramel in the flan mold. Then use a  metal spoon to spoon out some of the caramel into a parchment to create different shapes. You can also pour it over an inverted, greased bowl to create a basket like the one I made. The shapes don’t have to be perfect, they will look great either way!
  • You can use different molds for the flan. I used a small, round flan mold. But you can use a pie plate, a regular cake pan or ramekins affiliate link. The size of the mold will impact the baking time. 
  • Make sure to use a metal spoon for the caramel because the caramel is so hot it will melt a plastic spoon (caramel is serious business!).

Preheat: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

Mix: Pour 1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin, the cans of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk into a blender. Add the five eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Blend on low for about 30 seconds. 

Strain: 

  • You need to strain the mix to make sure no eggshell or solids end up in your flan. The easier way to do this is to hold a strainer over the flan container and pour the mix over the strainer.

Bain-marie:  

  • Your flan container will cook in a water bath. Place your flan container (ramekins, pie plate or cake pan) in a large roasting pan with deep sides and fill the roasting pan with enough water to go halfway up the side of the container. 
  • For the ramekins, bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. You want the edges to be set and the middle to jiggle just a bit. The top should be a pale gold.
  • For the pie plate or cake pan, cook for about 1 hour or until the edges are set and the middle jiggles just a bit. 
  • The flan mold I used cooked for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, so you need to check it as it cooks. 

Chill: Remove the flan from the water bath and let it come to room temperature. Then chill it in the refrigerator overnight. To serve, run a paring knife around the edge to loosen and then invert in a cake plate. 


Notes

You really need about 13 ounces of pumpkin but the skin adds a bit of weight so you need to buy about a pound of pumpkin.

If you don’t want to make the fresh pumpkin mash, you can use canned pumpkin. Keep in mind that canned pumpkins will make the flan darker in color and the taste will be a bit more like pumpkin pie. 

The pan and the flan mold affiliate link will end up with hard caramel stuck to it. To clean it, just soak the pan and the sugar will dissolve. Then it’s a breeze to clean.

Keywords: pumpkin flan, cuban pumpkin flan, easy pumpkin flan recipe, pumpkin flan recipe, fall desserts, great pumpkin dessert, pumpkin dessert ideas

pumpkin rice

Delicious Pumpkin Rice Recipe Is Great Comfort Food

Have you ever tried pumpkin rice? It’s so good and very much a Cuban thing. Cubans love to cook with pumpkins. We add them to our beans and soups. We turn them into pumpkin fritters and make pumpkin flan and custards with them. We’ve always been big into pumpkins and not just for fall. 

And, of course, we add them to rice because Cubans can turn just about anything into a rice dish! It’s great comfort food 😍🍲

pumpkin rice

Pumpkin Rice Recipe Ingredients

The base of this pumpkin rice dish (arroz con calabaza) is a basic Cuban yellow rice recipe. For Cubans, yellow rice is a canvas you can use for any combination of ingredients you have on hand. So it’s actually a great way to clean out your fridge! But for this recipe, the star ingredient is pumpkin. I also included Spanish chorizo, ham, and salt pork (tocino) with the pumpkins. But you can use less meat and more veggies if you like because this yellow rice is pretty fast and loose!

I love the mix of the salty cured meats and the Cuban spices with the slightly sweet taste of the pumpkin. It’s a fantastic one-dish meal! Not all pumpkin rice dishes use chorizo or ham, but I love it this way. I also added some saffron threads, which is not usual, but it gives tomato-based dishes such a great flavor boost. 

A really important note here: A critical step in this dish is adding the pumpkin towards the end of the cooking time so it doesn’t fall apart in the rice. I like to have a lot of chunky pumpkin pieces in my rice!

pumpkin rice

Cuban Yellow Rice Dishes Are So Versatile!

Rice or arroz is ubiquitous in Cuban cooking. Almost every dish is served with rice… either white, yellow, or a mix of rice and beans called congri. Of course, we’ve got a lot of ways to make yellow rice too! But all versions include onions, bell pepper, garlic, and Cuban spices such as cumin, oregano, and paprika. Some folks like to use the seasoning packets and Bijol (yellow food coloring), but I don’t use a lot of packaged stuff. I just use paprika for color. 

The basic recipe uses a sofrito (sauteed onions, bell peppers, and garlic), tomato sauce, cumin, oregano, paprika, and then you can add other ingredients from there. If you’re adding meats, you should brown it first and set it aside to make the sofrito and add the other ingredients. We also sauté the rice for a minute or so before we add the liquid and the veggies. While you can use water, it’s best if you use broth. You can use chicken, vegetable, seafood broth, depending on what type of rice you’re making. 

pumpkin rice

More Cuban Yellow Rice Dishes

Start with your basic sofrito, tomato sauce, spices, rice and broth and vary the add-ins. Soon I’ll be adding some of these recipes to the blog. If you’re really interested in one of these recipes, let me know and I’ll make it even sooner!

Arroz Con Calabaza – pumpkin rice can also include a variety of cured meats such as ham, chorizo, and salt pork. (Done!😉)

Arroz Con Pollo – yellow rice with chicken. You can use regular long grain rice or Valencia rice which is more like a risotto. 

Arroz Con Salsicha – yellow rice with Vienna sausages… I know it does not sound that appealing, but it’s comfort food if you were raised eating it. In fact, my foodie son still loves this dish (don’t tell him I said that, though!).

Arroz Con Vegetales – yellow rice with vegetables. This dish is usually made with frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, and green beans). You can add some ham or pork with the veggies too. If you’re using pork, make sure to brown it first.

Paella – these yellow rice dishes are from Spain and can be made with a combination of seafood, meats or both. All kinds of ways. I’ve got a paella mixta recipe made with shrimp, chicken, and chorizo that’s so delicious and easy to make. (Done! 😉)

Arroz Con Maiz – yellow rice with corn, my kids used to love this one!

Arroz Con Camaroncitos Secos – yellow rice with dry, salted baby shrimp. This ingredient is found in Chinese markets, but Cubans use it too. 

I hope you enjoy making this pumpkin rice dish that’s perfect for fall or anytime, really! Let me know how you like it. 

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pumpkin rice

Delicious Pumpkin Rice Recipe Is Great Comfort Food

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

Pumpkin rice made with fresh pumpkin, chorizo, ham and salt pork. It’s a perfect one-dish filled meal with great Cuban flavors!


Ingredients

Scale

2 cups long white grain rice

3 cups chicken broth (see note)

1 cup uncooked pumpkin cut into 1-inch cubes (see note)

5 ounces ham

2 ounces salt pork (tocino)

2 Spanish chorizo links

4 ounces tomato sauce

½ cup yellow onion

½ cup red bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon paprika

Pinch saffron affiliate link threads (optional)

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

Prep

  • Rinse the rice to remove some of the starch.
  • Chop the onions and peppers and crush the garlic. Measure out the spices so you can just add them to the sauté at the right time. You don’t have to do this, but I find it makes the process easier.
  • Cut the salt pork into half-inch pieces. Cut the ham into one-inch cubes. Slice the chorizo links into half-inch rounds.
  • Peel and cut the pumpkin into one-inch cubes.

Cook

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Saute the salt pork for about 3 minutes until it begins to brown. Add the ham and cook for another two minutes. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and cook for three minutes. Add the chorizo and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the rinsed rice and sauté for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and the broth and adjust salt if needed. Then bring to a boil and cover. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes and then add the pumpkin just as the water is mostly absorbed. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork-tender.

Notes

Sometimes the rice may take a bit more water and cooking time, depending on the rice you use. In that case, just add a bit of water and let it cook for a little longer. I usually add a quarter cup of water at a time and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl

Keywords: pumpkin rice, yellow rice, pumpkin rice recipe, yellow rice recipe, cuban rice dishes, cuban yellow rice

pork sliders

Pan Con Lechon Is One Of The Best Leftover Pork Roast Recipes

Pan con lechon is the BEST way to use leftover Cuban roast pork. But pan con lechon does not play second fiddle to Cuban roast pork. It’s a popular Cuban dish in its own right, and you’ll find it on the menu in all Cuban restaurants. You’ll often see it served at Cuban parties, too. I love to make pork sliders with my leftover pork. Also, I have a thing about tapas and mini sandwiches. 🥪😍

Cuban Roast Pork

Cuban Roast Pork With Mojo 

The star of pan con lechon is Cuban roast pork. Bone-in pork shoulder is marinated with mojo overnight and then slowly roasted for hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, and the skin is crispy and worth fighting over (let’s get some crackling!!). This dish is also known as lechon asado, and it’s served with congri and yuca

You always make enough roast pork for leftovers. This is a cardinal rule. You can even skip the rice and yuca and go straight to making pan con lechon. That’s a popular dish for parties. 

pan con lechon

Pan Con Lechon Time!

Cuban roast pork is usually served for Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) or other celebrations. So, the day after, no one wants to spend quality time in their kitchen, unless it’s for eating. That’s why Pan con lechon is perfect, because it’s quick and easy to make with the leftovers. It’s so, so good! It’s the best leftover pork roast recipe you’ll ever make. Seriously. I know Cubans exaggerate it, but not this time, I promise.

You can make this with any leftover roast pork, it doesn’t have to be Cuban, although I’m partial. What makes this dish taste so good is that the leftover pork is chopped and seared in the skillet and then finished with extra mojo sauce and sautéed onions. Mojo is a marinade and finishing sauce made with sour oranges and lots of garlic. If you can’t find sour oranges, you can use half lime and half orange juice to make it. 

Lechon asado

Another thing I love about this dish is that it doesn’t require a recipe, you can throw the stuff together, and the amount of mojo and onions you used is to taste. But don’t worry… I got a recipe for ya, to make it easy. 😉

The pan in pan con lechon is Cuban bread. If you can’t find it, you can use sub rolls.  Or, you can serve it on slider buns as I did for this post. Chances are you’re still in party mode anyway. 💃🕺

The best part is everyone gathering in the kitchen to hang out, making jokes, and teasing each other. Cubans love to tease each other!

pan con lechon with yuca fries

Yuca Fries 

How can pan con lechon be even better? Pair it with a side of yuca fries made with leftover yuca with mojo. This Cuban combo is classic! If you’ve never had fried yuca, think of them as a crunchier and creamier version of regular fries. Yuca is a dense and starchy root vegetable that’s boiled and served with mojo and onions, usually with roast pork. The leftover yuca is then cut into planks, fried, and served with pan con lechon on Day 2.

Try making the traditional Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) meal of Cuban roast pork, yuca with mojo, and congri. Then enjoy pan con lechon and yuca fries the next day… and the next day, too!

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pan con lechon

Pan Con Lechon Is One Of The Best Leftover Pork Roast Recipes

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 9 slider buns 1x
  • Category: appetizers
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

Pan con lechon is made with leftover pork roast sautéed in a pan with mojo sauce and onions and served on Cuban bread. It’s great as pork sliders for appetizers or pan con lechon sandwiches for lunch. Yum!


Ingredients

Scale

1 lb leftover Cuban Roast Pork, roughly chopped or shredded (see note)

1 yellow or white onion, thinly sliced

4 sour oranges (see note)

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 loaf Cuban Bread (see note)

Dash of cumin and oregano (totally optional, but I like it)

Olive Oil


Instructions

Roughly chop the pork leftovers and squeeze the sour oranges to get about a half cup of juice. If you can’t find sour oranges, use 1/4 cup each of fresh squeezed lime juice and orange juice.

Heat a skillet (cast iron is preferred) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and sauté the pork until cooked through and crispy on the ends. The best way to do this is to let the pork cook for a few minutes on one side and then turn the pieces over and let the other side crisp up a bit. The amount of crispy edges is a matter of taste so cook more or less to get the desired texture. Remove from skillet, leaving the drippings. 

Add enough olive oil to coat the skillet and add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the heat and add the sour orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a dash of cumin and oregano, if you like. (Mami doesn’t but she’s not watching!)

Heap the pork on the bread and top with the mojo and onions sauce. 

 


Notes

If you don’t have Cuban roast pork, you can use any leftover roast pork you have on hand.

Sour oranges can be found at Latin markets. But if you can’t find them, substitute with equal parts fresh squeezed lime juice and orange juice. Do not use lemons, though. You want that limey punch! If you do find the sour oranges, I’m having you get a few extras because they don’t always have enough juice (the juice yield can be a bit hit or miss.) If they’re juicy you won’t need to use all four.

Cuban bread can be found at Latin markets. But if you can’t find it, you can substitute sub rolls or slider buns. 

The yield is all going to depend on what type of bread you use. But if you use slider buns, I add just under two ounces of pork to each. So you could make nine slider buns or four pork sandwiches. Of course, you may have more than 1 pound of meat. In that case, make a little more mojo and onions and invite me over!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slider bun

Keywords: Pan con lechon, roast pork sandwich, leftover pork roast recipes, pork sliders, Cuban roast pork, yuca fries

Yuca Fries

Cuban Yuca Two Ways: Yuca With Mojo and Yuca Fries

Yuca with mojo or yuca fries are great side dishes to serve with Cuban roast pork. In fact, yuca is preferred over the usual fried plantains. As much as we love our fried maduros and tostones, yuca and roast pork are a Cuban power couple. The traditional Cuban dish we serve for the holidays consists of Cuban roast pork, yuca con mojo, and congri rice. And, of course, we have to make enough for pork sandwiches and yuca fries the next day!

Yuca With Mojo

What is Yuca

Good question! Yuca is a root vegetable that is denser and starchier than potatoes and is served boiled and smothered with mojo and onions. It has a very mild taste that absorbs all the garlicky goodness of the mojo, and the texture is creamy but firm. It’s quite a surprise when you first eat it! 

Although the texture and taste are good, what makes this dish so praiseworthy is the mojo, which consists of sour oranges, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and sauteed onions. When I say the yuca is smothered, I do mean smothered! In fact, I always serve a side of mojo so you can have extra!

Cuban Yuca

Yuca is a very long vegetable, and it has a thick bark-like skin. So you need to make sure you remove the top layer that’s dark brown and the second layer that’s light pink. In fact, the best way to peel the yuca is to cut a slit lengthwise and then start to peel off the skin, similar to how you would a bark. 

Cuban Yuca

It’s easier to remove the bark if you first cut the yuca into four-inch pieces lengthwise. Once the bark is removed, split each yuca piece in half or thirds. You’ll notice there’s a tough string-like piece in the center. You’ll want to remove that because it’s too tough to eat. The easiest way to remove it is after you boil the yuca. So boil the yuca until tender and remove the thick string-like center.

If you can’t find fresh yuca in the produce section, you may be able to find frozen yuca chunks ready to cook.

Cuban Roast Pork

How To Make Mojo Sauce

This is a versatile sauce that’s also used as a marinade. When you use it as a marinade you omit the onions and add a little cumin and oregano. Mojo is easy to make, and it packs such a nice citrusy punch!

To make the mojo sauce for the yuca, sauté sliced onions and crushed garlic in olive oil until the onions are softened. Then add fresh-squeezed sour orange juice at the end. If you can’t find sour oranges, you can use a combination of equal parts fresh-squeezed lime juice and orange juice. Add some salt and pepper and that’s it! You can play it pretty fast and loose with the ingredients and add as much or as little as you like to get it where you like it. You’ll find you’ll be using this sauce to top meat dishes and veggies all the time!

Yuca Fries

Make Yuca Fries With The Leftovers!

You always want to make a little extra yuca and mojo for the second day because you’ve got to make yuca fries. To make the yuca fries, slice the yuca pieces into planks that look somewhat similar to wedge fries but so much better, IMHO. When you fry the yuca, the outer skin gets super crunchy, and the inside gets creamy. This is the best way to enjoy your leftover yuca! If you want just go for the yuca fries, you’ll still need to boil the yuca and let it cool before you make the yuca fries.

Serve the yuca planks with mojo on top or on the side. Or, my favorite, serve it with a little lime-cilantro aioli. OMG! I want some right now🤤

A local fast food place in Miami called Pollo Tropical serves Yucatan fries (fried yuca), and they are the best. They also cut the yuca into tiny chunks to make the Cuban version of tater tots. So, yes, you can also cut the yuca into 1-inch pieces and make them tater tot style. If you live in Florida, you’re probably familiar with this chain. If not, stop by when you visit the state!

Want to try the yuca with the Cuban roast pork? Here’s the recipe for lechon asado. And, if you want to go for the full Cuban feast, make caramel flan for dessert, too.

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Yuca Fries

Cuban Yuca Two Ways: Yuca With Mojo and Yuca Fries

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: vegetable
  • Method: boil or fry
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

Yuca with mojo sauce is a great side dish for roast pork. This Cuban root vegetable is dense, creamy and is often eaten as yuca fries, too.


Ingredients

Scale

23 big yuca root vegetable (about 2 pounds)

1 sliced yellow onion

56 cloves minced garlic

¼ cup olive oil

Juice from 12 sour oranges, or to taste (see note)

Salt and black pepper to taste


Instructions

Boiled Yuca With Mojo

  • Heat a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. 
  • While the water heats up, slice the onions and mince the garlic.
  • Cut the yuca into 4 inch pieces and then half each piece. 
  • Peel the yuca skin (you need to remove both the dark outer skin and the pink layer underneath… see note).
  • Add the yuca to the boiling water and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the yuca until fork tender (about 20 minutes or so).
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onions and garlic until the onions are softened but not browned.
  • Add the sour orange juice to taste.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour over boiled yuca. 

Yuca Fries

  • Cut the leftover boiled yuca pieces into wedges. (It’s best to cut while it’s cold.)
  • Heat 1-2 cups of vegetable oil in saucepan.
  • Fry the yuca wedges.
  • Remove from the heat and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve with leftover mojo sauce (or make some more, if you ate all if to the day before!). You can also serve the yuca with lime cilantro aioli. 

Notes

You should be able to find sour oranges in Latin markets. But if it’s not available, use a mixture that’s equal parts lime juice and orange juice. You’ll want roughly ¼ cup of juice.

If you can’t find the yuca in the produce section, you’ll probably find it in the freezer section.

The best way to peel the yuca is to cut the long yuca into 4 inch pieces. Then cut a slit into the thick bark-like skin. Peel back the bark as you would on a tree. This way, you’ll remove both the outer skin that’s dark brown as well as the inner layer that’s light pink. The pink layer is hard and is not appetizing. 

This recipe makes enough for about 6 servings of yuca and leftovers for about 3-4 servings the next day. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 10

Keywords: yuca, yuca fries, yuca with mojo, boiled yuca, yuca con mojo, yuca frita, yuca recipes, cuban yuca, fried yuca

Cuban Roast Pork

Cuban Roast Pork Is The Go-To Cuban Feast

Cuban roast pork is as Cuban as it gets, folks. This traditional Cuban dish is known as lechon asado in Spanish, and it’s the go-to feast for every special occasion. It’s served for Christmas and, in many Cuban homes, for Thanksgiving, too! The pork is marinated overnight or even longer and then cooked until it falls off the bone and the skin is super crispy.

This dish is such a main event that I couldn’t call myself a Cuban blogger and not have a recipe for Cuban roast pork on my blog. In fact, I didn’t consider myself a full adult until I made my first lechon asado by myself. 

Cuban Roast Pork

Pork Shoulder or Whole Pig?

Depending on the size of your party, you might make a bone-in pork shoulder or a whole pig. We’re a small family, so I’ve only made the pork shoulder. But it’s not unusual for Cubans to make a whole pig. In that case, they usually use a special BBQ roaster called a Caja China (Chinese Box). This cooks the lechon asado in record time with a super crispy skin. (Between you and me, I much prefer the pork roast, the whole pig is a little intimidating!) Don’t tell mom ?

You might wonder why the roaster is called a Chinese Box. No one knows for sure, but I’ve heard two main theories. The one that makes the most sense is that it’s called a Chinese Box because we like to label anything clever or complicated as originating from China. It may not be very PC nowadays, but it is what it is ?

What Makes Lechon Asado So Dang Good!

I’m not a huge pork fan, but this is my favorite way to eat pork! What makes this dish so good? First, it’s the tangy marinade which we’ll talk more about in a minute. And then it’s the crispy bits of meat that are fall of the bone tender and packed with hours and hours of mojo flavor.

But what gets me every time is the crackling. Roast pork with crackling is my guilty pleasure. The crispy, tasty skin that’s cooked until it crackles. This is hard to understand if you’re not Cuban. But Southerners will understand. 

At Mami’s house, cooking the pork is a group effort and a spectator sport. Everyone ends up checking the pork roast to see how it’s doing. But I am not fooled. What they’re really doing is scoping out the crackling so they can get first dibs. I see you, little brother ?

Lechon asado

The Roast Pork Marinade

The secret to the tastiest pork is to infuse the pork roast with tons of mojo marinade. Mojo is an all-purpose Cuban marinade made with sour oranges, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. 

The marinade is inserted into the meat using a turkey baster, and the larger garlic pieces are usually inserted under the skin using a knife. I use the baster a bit, but mostly I end up cutting slits into the roast and filling them with garlicky mojo. You need to let the roast pork sit in the marinade at least overnight, but longer is better. 

How To Cook A Roast Pork

The pork sits in the marinade overnight (I can’t emphasize this enough). Then it’s cooked in the oven at 325 degrees for about 4-5 hours, depending on the size of the pork roast. A good rule of thumb is to cook it for about 30 minutes per half a pound. 

You need to watch the roast to ensure the skin doesn’t burn and that your less scrupulous family members have not tried to nab a little burnt piece while your back is turned. I usually loosely cover the roast with a tent foil once the skin is crispy to avoid overcooking it. 

Cuban Roast Pork

What To Eat With Lechon Asado

The traditional Cuban side dish to eat with lechon asado is congri rice made with black beans, although some folks prefer Cuban black beans with white rice. 

Another must-have side dish for this meal is boiled yuca smothered in onions and mojo sauce. Yuca is a dense and starchy root vegetable also known as cassava. It’s served with lots and lots of onions drenched in mojo sauce. 

Of course, you finish this epic meal with the traditional caramel flan. It’s the most popular Cuban dessert, and it’s always served with lechon asado

pan con lechon

What To Do With The Leftover Pork

The best part of this meal is the leftovers! In fact, you always want to make sure to have leftovers to make pan con lechon with yuca fries. The leftover pork bits are pan-fried with a little mojo, topped with sauteed onions, and served on Cuban bread. And the leftover yuca is cut into thin planks and fried. The result is crunchier, heartier “fries.”

I think I actually like the leftovers even more… except that there’s never any leftover crackling ?

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lechon asado

Cuban Roast Pork Is The Go-To Cuban Feast

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Traditional Cuban roast pork is marinated overnight or even longer and then cooked until it falls off the bone and the skin is super crispy.


Ingredients

Scale

Bone-in Pork Shoulder, 10 pounds

4 ounces sour orange juice (see note)

3 tablespoons crushed garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground oregano


Instructions

Prep

Juice the sour oranges and mix the garlic, spices and salt and pepper. 

Open slits throughout the pork roast and insert the marinade into the roast using a turkey baster affiliate link. Concentrate the slits on the bottom side of the roast that doesn’t have skin, so you don’t mess up the skin too much. 

Place the pork skinless side down in a pan, cover with foil and place the refrigerator for 8-10 hours or overnight.

Bake

Heat the oven to 325 degrees and roast the pork, skin side up in the oven for 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer, it should register 140 degrees at the thickest part. 

You may need to cover the skin with a tent foil, if the skin starts to burn. 



Notes

Sour oranges are available in Latin markets, but if you can’t find you can substitute half lime juice and half orange.  You probably need 3-5 oranges. 

The suggested yield is a guesstimate. Honestly, I’ve never fed 15, but I always have leftovers for the next day, unless we pig out ?

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 15

Keywords: Lechon asado, Cuban roast pork, Roast pork sandwich, Pan con lechon, Lechon, Roast pork marinade, Roast pork with crackling, Leftover pork roast recipes, How to cook a roast pork

chicken croquettes

Chicken Croquettes Are A Super Popular Cuban Appetizer

Chicken croquettes are the bomb! (Or, as my kids would say… FIRE!) If I could only eat one Cuban appetizer for the rest of my life, I think I would have to go with chicken croquettes! Crunchy on the outside with a creamy chicken filling made with bechamel sauce, these hearty little darlings travel well, can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, or by the tray full at parties. Cubans wouldn’t know how to throw a party without these! 

chicken croquettes

Croquettes are an all-star Cuban appetizer. You’ll find them at every Cuban birthday party, baby shower, happy hour, or holiday gathering. And they come in so many flavors, including chicken, ham, fish, meat, or cheese. Today, we’re going to zero in on chicken croquettes because I had leftover chicken, and this chicken croquette recipe is the best way to use up the chicken. That’s the other thing about croquettes. They are a great way to use leftovers!

chicken croquettes

What Are Chicken Croquettes

Croquettes are made with minced, seasoned meat that’s incorporated into a bechamel sauce and then breaded and fried to make delectable tapas food. They are great by themselves, with saltine crackers or in a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. 

Known as croquetas in Spanish, these tasty appetizers are originally from French but became a tapas favorite in Spain. From there, they made their way to Cuba and the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Chicken and Ham croquettes are very popular for parties because just about everyone likes these flavors. But you can find them in all kinds of flavors at Cuban bakeries and restaurants, including codfish and chorizo flavors. Or a combination of flavors like ham and Manchego cheese. 

chicken croquettes recipe

How to Make Croquetas de Pollo

The key component to making croquettes is the bechamel sauce. Once you’ve got that down, the rest is relatively easy. You need just a few basic ingredients:

  • Finely chopped or minced chicken
  • Finely diced onion
  • Butter
  • Crushed garlic
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking wine
  • Parsley (optional)
  • Breadcrumbs and eggs for the coating
  • Frying Oil 

I usually make these croquettes with leftover rotisserie chicken, but you can use any chicken leftovers. If you don’t have leftovers, you can poach two chicken breasts until cooked through and let cool. If you’re using the leftover rotisserie, save the drippings to add the sauce, they are great for seasoning your chicken croquettes. Pulse the chicken meat in a food processor until finely minced, then set aside.

Heat the butter in the skillet and cook the onion and garlic until softened but not browned. Blend the milk, flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook until the sauce thickens. You should be able to run a spoon across the bottom of the pan and leave a path. Add the chicken, pan juices, and cooking wine and mix to combine. My mom likes to use Move the mix to a bowl and bring it to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight. You must give the mixture a chance to rest and chill. If the mix is not thoroughly chilled, the croquettes will burst open when you fry them. That’s no bueno.

The next step is the coating. Beat two eggs in a bowl and add 2 cups of cracker meal to another bowl. Take about 2 tablespoons of the chicken croquette mix and shape into a ball, then slightly flatten into an oval. Do this with all the mixture. Once you have the croquettes shaped, dip them in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and repeat the process. 

chicken croquettes

Once they are all coated, you can store the chicken croquettes until you’re ready to eat them, or you can fry them right away. I like to chill them for about an hour before I drop them in the frying oil. This way, there’s less of a chance of them bursting as you cook them. The bursting happens because the interior of the chicken croquette is already cooked. As the outside gets heated and cooked, the internal temperature rises. If it’s not cold enough, the inside can overheat and burst. Fry them in hot oil until they are golden on each side.

Croquettes are best when you eat them while they are still hot because the outside coating is crunchy. But they keep very well and can be eaten at room temperature or even heated up later. That’s what makes these tasty little Cuban appetizers such a crowd pleaser!

chicken croquettes

Want more Cuban appetizer recipes? Check out my Cuban Tapas Party recipes!

The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook

Looking for a Good Cuban Cookbook?

I love the The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook affiliate link! The recipes are very authentic and traditional, similar to what I grew up eating. They have several croquette recipes including ham and codfish croquettes, plus other popular Cuban recipes.

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chicken croquettes recipe

Chicken Croquettes Are A Super Popular Cuban Appetizer

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1518 1x
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: frying
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

Chicken croquettes are crunchy on the outside with a creamy chicken filling made with bechamel sauce. They make a great snack or appetizer.


Ingredients

Scale

2 Cups Finely chopped or minced cooked rotisserie chicken (reserve pan drippings)

1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

3/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

Dash nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cooking wine

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley (optional)

Coating
2 eggs

2 cups cracker meal

2 cups vegetable oil


Instructions

Prep

Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic. Mince the parsley, if you’re using.

Pulse the chicken.

Blend the milk, flour and spices in the blender. 

Cook

Heat the butter in the skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until softened but not browned.

Add the milk mixture and cook until the sauce thickens. You should be able to run a spoon across the bottom of the pan and leave a path.

Add the chicken, pan juices, and cooking wine and mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasons as desired. I sometimes add a little salt or pepper, depending on the seasoning used in the rotisserie chicken.

Chill

Move the mix to a bowl and bring it to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight. 

Coat

Beat two eggs in a bowl and add 2 cups of cracker meal to another bowl. Take about 2 tablespoons of the chicken croquette mix and shape into a ball, then slightly flatten into an oval. Do this with all the mixture. Once you have the croquettes shaped, dip them in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and repeat the process. Chill the croquettes for an hour before frying. 

Fry

Heat the oil over medium heat and test with a bread crumb before dropping in the croquettes. Make sure to fully coat the croquettes with the oil and fry until golden on each side. Gently turn them to keep them from bursting. Fry them in small batches so you don’t crowd them. It takes about 6 minutes too fry each batch. Drain on paper towels to cool a bit and then devour!


Notes

You must give the mixture a chance to rest and chill. If the mix is not thoroughly chilled, the croquettes will burst open when you fry them. 

You can also freeze at this point. They freeze well and can be kept in a ziplock bag or container for up to 6 months. You can fry them frozen, too. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 croquettes

Keywords: Chicken Croquettes, Chicken Croquettes Recipe, How to Make Chicken Croquettes, Cuban Appetizers, Cuban Appetizers, What are chicken Croquettes, croquettes, croquetas, croquetas de pollo

double crust chicken pot pie

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie Cuban Style Is The Best

This double crust chicken pot pie is like no other you’ve tasted! Instead of a cream-based filling, it has a tomato base with raisins and olives. This is a Cuban version of chicken pot pie called pastelón de pollo. You can usually find pastelón de pollo at Cuban bakeries and some Cuban restaurants. In fact, this Cuban recipe is from the famous Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho in Little Havana. 

Why is the Versailles Restaurant so famous? Because it’s where every politician courting the Cuban vote goes to have their photo op! It’s also where Cubans gather whenever anything happens. Of course, it’s not the only place, but certainly one of the most popular restaurants for Cubans to hang out.

The restaurant is a Cuban landmark, established in 1971 in Little Havana and still thriving today. I love to go there whenever I’m in the neighborhood. The Cuban food is delicious and feels so much like home. ?

I recently gifted myself a copy of The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook, and this chicken pot pie is one of the Cuban recipes that really caught my eye. While I love pastelón de pollo, it’s not something I had ever made at home. So, of course, I had to give this recipe a try!

What Makes This Chicken Pot Pie So Good

This pie is packed with chicken, and it’s very savory! American-style chicken pot pie is like a chunky, creamy soup in a pastry. This double-crust chicken pot pie is not soupy at all. It’s more of a meat pie. It tastes a lot like chicken fricassee, which is a fantastic Cuban chicken stew. And just like the stew, it’s so delicious the second day!

Ingredients For This Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie

The ingredients for this Cuban chicken pot pie are very simple. You need:

  • Chicken Breast
  • Onions, Peppers, Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Raisins and Olives
  • Cooking Wine 
  • Oregano, Bay Leaf, and Cumin
  • Refrigerated Pie Crust

Except for the pie crust, these are the usual ingredients you find in most Cuban dishes. While this double-crust chicken pot pie recipe calls for chicken breast, I would prefer it with a mix of chicken thighs and breasts. I find chicken breast to be a bit dry. But I have to say the final dish, made with the chicken breast, was very moist and flavorful. The reason for this is that you cook the chicken in the delicious sauce for forty-five minutes before you bake it in the oven. 

This chicken pot pie would be a good potluck dish to make for your next get together. It can served as an appetizer or a main dish. It’s good at room temperature too. I sometimes even eat it cold, but that’s just me. My kids think I’m weird that way.?

A Word About The Crust In this Chicken Pot Pie

My one beef about this recipe is that it calls for refrigerated pie crust. But traditional pastelón de pollo uses a different type of dough. Unfortunately, the Versailles Restaurant Cookbook did not provide their dough recipe. They explained that the process was too labor-intensive for a home kitchen. So, while it was good with the refrigerated crust, it would have been even better with the traditional crust. Perhaps The Versailles Restaurant didn’t want to part with their secret recipe? I’ll forgive them for that since the recipe they did provide was so tasty!

The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook

What are some other recipes to try from this cookbook?

I love the The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook! The recipes are very authentic and traditional, similar to what I grew up eating. Their ropa vieja, picadillo, and chicken fricassee were just like my mom used to make. 

The cookbook had a comprehensive mix of appetizers, soups, main dishes, and desserts and covers most Cuban menu items. If you’re looking for an all-around good Cuban cookbook, I highly recommend this one! Some popular Cuban recipes to try include croquettes, which come in ham, chicken, and codfish varieties. And you’ve got to try the desserts! They, of course, have all the traditional Cuban desserts like flan, arroz con leche and bread pudding. But another one that’s worth the effort is the tres leches. Yup, you can expect a few more Versailles recipes soon, including the tres leches!

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cuban chicken pot pie

Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie Cuban Style Is The Best

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

This double crust chicken pot pie is like no other you’ve tasted! Instead of a cream-based filling, it has a tomato base with raisins and olives. This is a Cuban version of chicken pot pie called pastelón de pollo.


Ingredients

Scale

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup chopped yellow onion

4 garlic cloves finely minced

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 1 ½2 pounds), coarsely chopped

¾ cups tomato puree

¼ cup cooking wine

¼ cup golden raisins

¼ cup chopped green olives

2 refrigerated pie crust

1 beaten egg with 2 teaspoons sugar (sugar is optional, but it adds a bit of sweetness to the crust)


Instructions

Prep

Chop the chicken breast and set aside.

Chop the onion and pepper and mince or crush the garlic cloves. 

Cook:

Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion, garlic and pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and half the salt and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the wine, tomato puree, raisins, and olives. Add the remaining salt, if needed. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 1 ½ hours.

While the chicken is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a pie pan and place one of the pie dough discs in the pan and gently mold. The recipe calls for trimming the pie crust to fit the pie pan, but I found that some of the dough shrinks a bit, so I did not trim. With the tines of a fork, poke a few holes on the bottom and sides of the pie dough. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Once the chicken mixture is done, let it come to room temperature. Mash any large bits of chicken with the back of a spoon to make sure all the pieces are very small. 

You can also make the chicken mix the day before. If you decide to make the chicken the day before, don’t precook the bottom dough until you’re ready to bake the chicken pot pie. 

Bake:

Preheat the oven to 350. Place the cooled chicken mixture in the pie plate and cover with the second pie dough. The recipe calls for folding the edges down and over the bottom dough, but you can crimp the edges the way you would a regular pie, if that’s easier. 

The recipe calls for baking for about 20 – 25 minutes, but I ended needing to cook the dough for about Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes to get the crust golden. And I use a gas oven.

Once you take it out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. May be served hot or at room temperature. 

 

 

 



Notes

This recipe makes 6-8 lunch or dinner portions or 16 appetizer portions. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice

Keywords: chicken pot pie, double-crust chicken pot pie, chicken pot pie with pie crust, chicken pot pie recipe, chicken pie, dairy free chicken pot pie, best chicken pot pie, pastelon de pollo

Malanga Fritters

Malanga Fritters (Frituras de Malanga) Have Such A Great CRUNCH!

What I love the most about malanga fritters is the CRUNCH! Frituras de malanga, as they are called in Spanish, are a super crunchy Cuban appetizer that’s quick and easy to make. My daughter and I love them, especially with a drizzle of Sriracha mayo or lime cilantro sauce. It’s a super Cuban recipe but not as popular as maduros or plantain chips. Well, I’m glad I can give these malanga fritters a little hype today, because they do deserve it!

Malanga

What Is Malanga?

Here I am waxing poetic about malanga fritters, and you’re probably wondering what the heck is a malanga?! Malanga is a root vegetable that’s very common in Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s creamier than a potato and more nutrient-dense. And the skin is hairy… I know, that sounds weird! It’s also skinnier than a potato.

Malanga is a great source of fiber and very easy on the stomach. In fact, when Cubans have any stomach issues, the home remedy is a nice bowl of mashed malanga (puree de malanga). Read this article to learn more about the health benefits of malanga. 

Malanga is also used in soups instead of potatoes. We make a delicious cream of malanga soup that’s actually very popular and featured on most Cuban restaurant menus. 

If you can’t find malanga for this recipe, you can try using taro. While not the same, the two are pretty similar and sometimes sold interchangeably.

Frituras de Malanga

Ingredients for Malanga Fritters

The ingredients list is super short and simple for this one:

  • Malanga
  • Minced Onions
  • Minced Parsley
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • White Pepper
  • Vinegar

The onions and the parsley should be finely minced. You’ll notice in my recipe photos there are some bigger pieces of parsley… that’s just mami (aka Bean Train) doing her own thing while my back was turned ? I think it’s better when everything is finely minced, but mami likes chunky stuff. You decide which version you like best (but try mine first!)

Malanga Fritters

How to Make Frituras de Malanga

These fritters have very few ingredients, so it’s an easy Cuban recipe to make. The most difficult thing is grating the malanga because it can get a bit slippery. Not slimy, just slippery so it makes grating a bit of a challenge. Weird, right? I use a paper towel to hold the malanga in place as I’m grating it. You can process it in the food processor, but the texture is better if you grate it. 

Once you’ve heated the oil in a frying pan, drop the malanga mix by tablespoons into the hot oil. What type of spoon you use to drop the dough into the batter will determine the shape. My mom always used a heaping spoonful and they come out an irregular oval, like you see in some of the photos. I like to use a mini ice cream scooper to give them a more rounded look. Also, you can make the malanga fritters a bit bigger, but I like how crunchy they are when they’re small. I serve them with a lime-cilantro sauce or Sriracha mayo. It just kicks it up a notch?

As with most fritters, frituras de malanga are best eaten hot. They tend to get soggy if you let them sit too long. So, I suggest you make as many fritters are you think your crew will eat and save the remaining dough in the fridge to make another day. The dough keeps in the refrigerator for a few days. This recipe should make about 24 fritters.

If you can find malanga, I hope you give these a try. This is a delicious Cuban appetizer to serve at your next tapas party… with a glass of sangria, of course. ¡Buen provecho!

Frituras de Malanga

Want more recipes for Cuban appetizers? Check out my Cuban Tapas Party recipes!

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Frituras de Malanga

Malanga Fritters (Frituras de Malanga) Have Such A Great CRUNCH!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: fritters
  • Method: frying
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

These malanga fritters (aka frituras de malanga) are a super crunchy cuban appetizer perfect for tapas. If you’re not familiar with malanga, it’s a root vegetable that’s creamier and more nutrient-dense than potatoes. 


Ingredients

Scale

2 cups grated malanga (about 3 malangas)

½ cup finely diced onion

1 teaspoon grated garlic

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 beaten egg

2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)


Instructions

Peel and grate the malanga using a box grater affiliate link (or use a food processor). While you can use a food processor, the texture is much better if you grate it. The last little bits are hard to grate, so you may want to use the food processor for those bits or discard them. 

Finely dice the onions and the parsley. (My mom tends to leave the parsley a bit bigger, but I prefer it finely diced!)

Malanga Fritter Dough

Add the rest of the ingredients to the grated malanga. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

Malanga Fritters

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, then drop the malanga mixture by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry for about 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Add a little salt and serve. 

Makes 24 fritters. 



Notes

Grating the malanga is a bit of challenge because malanga is slippery. I use a paper towel to get a firmer grip on the malanga. You need to use the side of the grater with the smallest holes. 

Fry only the ones you intend to eat right away, as fritters get soggy if you let them sit too long. Then, you can refrigerate the uncooked dough for another day. The dough keeps for a few days in the fridge. 

Serve with sriracha mayo or lime cilantro sauce. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 fritters

Keywords: malanga, malanga fritters, frituras de malanga, cuban appetizers

Cuban Meatloaf

Pulpeta (aka Cuban Meatloaf) Is The Best Comfort Food!

My brother loves Mami’s Pulpeta and asked me to post the recipe ASAP so he can make it. So even though it’s the middle of summer right now, I’m posting this ultimate comfort food recipe. Pulpeta is the Cuban version of meatloaf made with lots of love and Cuban sazón.

I love both the American-style meatloaf and pulpeta because this dish is comfort food in any language! Even as I’m writing this, I want to head to the fridge and heat up a slice (or eat it cold). I’d share it with you, little brother, but I just can’t FedEx it to ya!😉

cuban meatloaf

What Makes Pulpeta Different From Meatloaf

While both pulpeta and meatloaf are made with ground beef shaped into a loaf, there are a few differences that make this my favorite version. So let’s break them down.

The Meatloaf Base

Pulpeta is made with a mixture of ground beef, pork, and ham. You can mix with equal parts of each or add a little more beef than ham and pork. Either way, it will be tasty. The meat is seasoned with onions, peppers, garlic, Cuban spices, and little cooking wine. 

Then you add about a half cup of cracker meal and an egg to bind. Shape into a loaf and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours. 

Also, most Cuban recipes include boiled eggs in the middle. My mom usually skips the eggs, so my version is not super traditional. But that’s OK. I’m not usually super traditional, either.

pulpeta

The Pulpeta Sauce

Pulpeta is saucy, just like most Cubans! This Cuban Meatloaf cooks in a tomato-based sauce with Spanish olives, capers, Cuban spices (oregano, paprika, cumin, bay leaves), cooking wine, and aromatics (onions, garlic, and peppers). You slow cook the meat in the sauce for about 45 minutes, so every bite is bathed in this savory sauce. So, so good! (I know you’re drooling, Henry.)

The Cooking Method

Pulpeta is dusted with a bit of cracker meal and then browned in the pot, so the outside gets a slightly crunchy coat that seals in the juices. I’ll admit that the American-style version is a little easier because you just press the ground meat mixture into a loaf pan and bake in the oven. But browning the meatloaf and cooking it on the stovetop makes the meatloaf super tasty and saucy.

What Do You Serve With Pulpeta

Usually, Cuban meatloaf is served with rice and fried plantains. But you can also eat it with mashed potatoes. The savory sauce is the gravy for the mashed potatoes. That’s how I like mine… with saucy mashed potatoes and green beans or carrots, instead of maduros. So, there you go, little brother, now you can make Cuban meatloaf all the way in North Carolina. Say hi to the wife and kids for me❤️

I take Cuban recipe requests… have a Cuban recipe you’d like me to add to the blog? Let me know!

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Cuban meatloaf

Pulpeta (aka Cuban Meatloaf) Is The Best Comfort Food!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

Pulpeta is the ultimate comfort food! This delicious Cuban meatloaf is made with three kinds of ground meat and a savory tomato sauce. Yummy!


Ingredients

Scale

For the meatloaf

10 ounces ground beef

10 ounces ground pork

5 ounces ground ham

½ medium onion

¼ green pepper (I prefer red pepper, but Mami uses a green pepper)

3 crushed garlic cloves

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon cumin

1 ½ tablespoon cooking wine

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cracker meal

1 beaten egg

¼ cup olive oil

For the sauce

½ medium onion

¼ green pepper (I prefer red pepper, but Mami uses a green pepper)

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

½ cup cooking wine

8 ounces tomato sauce (one can)

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olives

1 teaspoon capers


Instructions

For the meatloaf

Mix the ground beef, pork, and ham together. You can grind a six-ounce portion of ham steak in the food processor to make the ground ham. Add the spices, onions, peppers, and garlic and mix well. Next, add the beaten egg and bind together. Finally, add a ½ cup of cracker meal and mix well to bind. If the meat is not binding enough, add 2 more tablespoons and mix well. Shape into a log and let it rest in the fridge for two to four hours. 

After two to four hours, coat the meatloaf in cracker meal. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the meatloaf on all sides for about eight minutes. Turn the meatloaf very gently using two spatulas, so the meatloaf does not break apart. I like using a fish spatula or a wide spatula for this. 

Once the meat is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set it aside. 

For the sauce

While the meat is resting, chop the onions and peppers and crush the garlic. 

In the same heated saucepan where you just browned the meat, add the onions, peppers, garlic, and brown for 3-5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the tomato sauce, cooking wine, bay leaf, olives, and capers. Add half a cup of water and bring to simmer. Add the meatloaf and lower the heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes. Gingerly turn the meatloaf in the sauce a few times.Once the sauce has thickened, and the meatloaf is cooked through, turn of the heat. Transfer the meat to plate, let it rest 5-10 minutes, slice the meat, add the sauce, and serve. 


Notes

Serve with white rice and maduros, or mashed potatoes and veggies.

The meat mixture doesn’t have to be precise, you can adjust the ratios to suit your taste buds or what you have on hand. 

This recipe makes 4-6 servings, depending on your portion sizes. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1-2 slices

Keywords: pulpeta, cuban pulpeta, cuban meatloaf, meatloaf, comfort food

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