DINNER

Cuban Style Tasajo Made With Dry Cured Beef Is So Good!

Tasajo is made from jerked beef that’s stewed in a tomato-based sauce with lots of peppers and onions. I love this dish! Every time I have a bite of Mami’s tasajo, it brings me back to the Formica dining table in our old duplex in Westchester, one of the most Latin neighborhoods in Miami (outside of Little Havana and Hialeah, of course). What I love about this dish is the saltiness and the texture.

How to best describe tasajo? It’s the salty cousin to Cuban ropa vieja. While using the same ingredients and preparation as ropa vieja, the texture and taste are transformed by the salting and drying process.

dry cured beef

What is Tasajo Cubano?

Tasajo is beef that is salted, macerated, cured, and set to dry. It does not require refrigeration and it’s a throwback to time when most homes did not have a way to refrigerate foods. Horse meat was traditionally used in Cuban tasajo, but the tasajo you find in the US is made with beef, and that’s the one I grew up eating.

You may be able to find tasajo in the meat section of your local supermarket, but not always. You’ll have much better luck finding it in Latin supermarkets, sold in vacuumed sealed packages. But if you can’t find it locally, you should be able to purchase it online. (I have not purchased from this company before and this is not an affiliate link.)

tasajo

Start this recipe the day before

Not gonna lie, this dish takes a while, but it’s worth it! First, you need to remove it from its packaging and soak overnight to remove some of the salt. The tasajo meat is covered in an orange layer of fat. The orange color is due to the beta carotene.

You can remove this layer of fat and soak it, but I don’t usually bother removing it (call me lazy… but Mami does it the same way). For those of you who are more industrious, you can remove the orange layer by scraping it off and washing with warm water. Divide the meat into 2-3 pieces, cutting against the grain.

Cooking and prepping

The next day, drain the tasajo and place in a pot with fresh water. Turn up the heat until the water begins to boil. Lower and simmer for 20 minutes or so. The orange layer will melt away. ­Drain and repeat the process, boiling for another 20 minutes. Drain once more and let it cool. If you’re in a hurry, you place it in the refrigerator to cool.

Once cooled, shred the meat with your fingers and remove any fatty pieces you find. Taste for saltiness and rinse over warm water if it’s too salty for your taste. From this point on, the process is very similar to making ropa vieja.

Cut half an onion, and a red bell pepper into slices and crush two garlic cloves. Set a sauté pan over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions and peppers until translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Then, add the tomato sauce, cooking wine, cumin, oregano and pepper. Add the shredded beef and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve. Que rico!

tasajo

What To Serve with Cuban Tasajo

Serve this dish with congri rice and boniato, a Cuban sweet potato. The dry, cured beef is rather salty so the mild flavor of the rice and beans and the sweetness of the boniato truly balances the dish… and I would argue it’s a must. 

You can make congri rice with black beans or red beans. For this blog post, I paired this dish with the red bean congri, but it’s just as tasty with the black bean congri. Actually, the black bean version, also known as Moros y Cristianos, is the more popular rice dish.

boniato

Boniato is a Cuban potato that is white and slightly sweet. If you can’t find it, substitute with sweet potato. You can cut into chunks or rounds and boil it, roast it, fry it or stew it along with the meat. If you decide to stew it, you’ll need to add a little more sauce to the dish, so double the tomato sauce and cooking wine. Also add a bit of water if you notice the sauce is drying up.

bean train food for thought

As I was working on this recipe, I thought about the importance of balance. The salty tasajo really needs the counterpoint of the sweet boniato to really shine.

We all need a little balance in life, like ying and yang, sweet and salty, fire and ice.

Community helps us find this balance. Friends, family and significant others require us to make changes, to compromise, to let go of some things to accommodate others. We may not always like how messy this can be, but just like with cooking, a messy kitchen can lead to a spectacular feast.

So the next time you’re wishing someone would see things your way, do things your way or let you have your way,  just think of how delicious it could be to embrace a different perspective, a new approach, a road less familiar to you.

Savor every moment, every bite, every fork in the road.

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tasajo

Cuban Style Tasajo Made With Dry Cured Beef Is So Good!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: Soak overnight, 15 minutes of prep
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

Tasajo is dry cured beef that’s stewed in tomato sauce with onions, red bell peppers and savory spices. It’s the salty cousin to Cuban ropa vieja. 


Ingredients

Scale

1 lb tasajo (dry, cured beef) See note

½ a small onion (1/2 cup), chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Half a red bell pepper, cut into strips

½ cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons cooking wine

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Instructions

Tasajo Prep:

Start the day before. Remove the tasajo from its vacuum sealed package and cut into 2-3 pieces, across the grain. Set in a bowl and cover with water and let it soak overnight. You can leave it out or refrigerate, whatever you prefer.

The tasajo is covered with an orange fat layer. You can rinse this off or leave it on, either way it’s OK.

The next day, drain the water. Add the tasajo to a pot filled with water. Boil for 20 minutes. The orange layer will melt away.

Change water and bring to a boil and boil for another 20 minutes.

Remove the beef from the water and let it cool. Shred the beef with your fingers and remove any fatty tissue.

Chop the onion, cut the red bell pepper into slices, crush the garlic.

Take 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté onions and peppers until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beef, tomato sauce and cooking wine. Cook for about 15-20  minutes (if it’s a bit dry, add a ¼ cup of water).

Serve with congri and fried boniato. See note.


Notes

Tasajo is sold in vacuum sealed packages, and it’s covered with a bright orange layer of waxy fat. Don’t be put off by this, this layer helps preserve the meat and it melts away when you boil it. You should be able to find this specialty beef at most Latin supermarkets.

Boniato is a Cuban sweet potato that’s traditionally served with the tasajo. The sweetness of the potato helps balance the saltiness of the beef. If you can’t find boniato, substitute with sweet potato. Cut the potato into chunks or quarter inch think rounds, then roast or fry. You can also boil the potato (I never boil, though. It’s so much tastier when it’s fried or roasted.

Keywords: tasajo, cuban tasajo, tasajo cubano, cured dry beef

chicken soup

This Cuban Chicken Soup Makes You Feel Loved!

Comforting Cuban chicken soup is on every abuela’s arsenal! This is the cure if anyone has a cold or is just a bit under the weather! Chicken noodle soup seems so basic I almost didn’t add this recipe to the blog, but it’s my favorite soup and it just takes me back to my childhood and feeling loved on when I had a cold. Lots of love goes into making this Cuban chicken soup and even if it doesn’t cure the common cold, it cures the common cold blues.

While it’s packed with love, this homemade Cuban chicken noodle soup is super simple to make. The first time I made it on my own, I got it all wrong because I added too many seasonings, and the broth was not clear and golden like Mami’s. It didn’t taste anything like her Cuban chicken soup.

chicken soup

Cuban Chicken Soup Like Mami Makes

I called Mami to see where I had gone wrong. Here’s what she told me:

  • Use dark meat with the bones to make the soup. This is what gives the broth such a great flavor. 
  • Add onions, garlic, green peppers, tomato, carrots, celery, culantro and and bay leaves to the chicken and simmer for an hour. Culantro is a long leaf often used in Cuban cooking. You can find it with the other herbs. But if you can’t find it, don’t sweat it. I don’t always add it.
  • Strain the soup and press all the vegetables through a sieve to get all the flavor out of it. Mami likes to use a pestle to squeeze every bit of flavor out of the veggies and into the soup.  
  • Then add potatoes, fresh carrots, corn cobettes, and noodles. Add salt to taste. Chop the chicken and add it back into the soup. 

I made a few of my own edits to her Cuban chicken soup. I use red bell pepper instead of green pepper, and I add some saffron threads at the end. It gives the soup great flavor and a nice, golden color. Mami uses Bijol, a red food coloring used in many Cuban dishes. But I don’t like using the coloring, so I usually use paprika and/or saffron for flavor and golden color. Saffron is used in Spanish cooking, especially in making paella. But I love the flavor so much, I add it to many dishes, including chicken soup.

chicken soup

The Best Noodles for Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup

Cubans use fideos to make this chicken soup. These noodles are as thin as angel hair and are shaped into little bundles. You can make it with angel hair pasta, but I really love using these! Maybe it’s because I grew up eating them, or maybe it’s because they look like little birds’ nests. I like my soup with three little bundles, which I break up just before adding. If you can’t find these in the grocery store, you can also make it with angel hair pasta. If you use angel hair, break up the noodles before adding them to the soup.

This Cuban chicken soup really hits the spot when you’re sick! But really, it hits the spot all the time, especially with a thick slice of buttered Cuban bread.

So, I made my Cuban chicken noodle soup today. When my daughter walked into the kitchen and smelled it, she wanted to know who was sick. Yea, I pretty much make this soup when someone is sick. But, I should make it more often because it’s delicious!

Bean Train Food For Thought

Food associations are so strong! I have such vivid memories of having a comforting bowl of my mom’s delicious Cuban chicken soup when I was sick. It made me feel loved and cared for. So, I do the same thing for my kids. But I really shouldn’t wait until they’re sick to love on them with this soup.

Sometimes we save certain things for special occasions, but every day can be remarkable. Life is too short to limit the good stuff for just sometimes. So this Cuban chicken soup, hugs and kisses, and quality time are for every day because every day is special. ❤️

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chicken soup

Comforting Cuban Chicken Soup Is Just What The Doctor Ordered!

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: soups
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: cuban

Description

This Cuban Chicken Soup is comforting and satisfying! It’s perfect for a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather. 


Ingredients

Scale

For the stock:

1.5 lbs skinned chicken thighs  

1/2 medium onion, cut in half  

2 celery stalks, cut in half with the leaves  

3 garlic cloves, peeled  

2 culantro leaves (see note)

1 tomato, cut in half  

1 carrot

1/4 bell pepper (green or red is fine)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

For the soup:

1 small potato, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces  

2 carrots, sliced into quarter-inch rounds

4 corn cobettes  

2 to 3 bundles of fideos (see note)

One pinch Saffron affiliate link threads or a teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges for serving


Instructions

Make the Stock:

  • Fill a stockpot with water about 3/4 full (approx 12 cups). Add the chicken, onion, celery stalks, garlic, tomato, carrot, bell pepper, culantro and and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, and lower the heat and simmer for an hour. 
  • Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock. Mash the vegetables through the strainer with the back of a spoon or a pestel. Scrape the bottom of the strainer, too. This will help capture every bit of flavor. 

Make the soup:

  • Peel and cut the potatoes into one-inch pieces. Peel and slice the carrots into quarter-inch rounds. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces. 
  • Add the broth back to the pot and then throw in the potatoes, carrots, corn, and a pinch saffron threads or a teaspoon of paprika. Bring to a boil, add the noodles and cook until the noodles are softened. Taste and add salt as needed necessary. 
  • Now about the corn. I usually take these out and cut the corn kernels and add them back to the soup. Or you can leave the cobettes in. I like using corn cobettes instead of frozen corn because the husk gives the soup extra flavor.
  • Serve with Cuban bread, of course! 

Notes

You can use Latin-style fideos or angel hair. The amount of noodles will vary based on how you like your soup. I use 3 little bundles of fideos because we like it with a lot of noodles. You can substitute about 2-3 ounces of angel hair pasta. 

Culantro is an herb used in Cuban cooking. It has long leaves and can usually be found with the other herbs. But if you can’t find, don’t sweat it. 

Keywords: Cuban Chicken Soup, Cuban Chicken Soup Recipe, Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup, chicken noodle soup, homemade chicken soup

noche buena menu

Cuban Noche Buena Food To Make This Year

Enjoy a traditional Cuban feast with these Noche Buena recipes made from scratch. Noche Buena in Spanish means “Good Night.” And it is a good night surrounded by friends, family and fantastic Cuban food!

I’ve put together a Noche Buena menu for you with traditional Cuban dishes, desserts and more. I hope you enjoy making these for Christmas!

Our traditional Cuban Christmas Eve Dinner includes:

Lechon Asado

Roast Pork

Congri

Black Beans & Rice

Yuca with Mojo

Starchy Yuca Vegetable with Garlicky Citrus Sauce

Caramel Flan

Here are all the Cuban food recipes you need to make the best Noche Buena feast this Christmas!

¡Buen Provecho!

Cuban Roast Pork “Lechon Asado”

Cuban Roast Pork

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, especially Noche Buena. 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.

The Best Cuban Congrí Rice (Black Beans And Rice) 

Congri Rice

Congri is my favorite Cuban side dish to make for Noche Buena. This is Mami’s best beans and rice recipe and the one that her kids and grandkids want to learn and pass down. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, my brother calls from North Carolina asking how to make it. It’s the best! But some folks prefer to have their black beans and rice cooked separately. If you’re one of those, I’ve got a black bean recipe for you as well.

Yuca With Mojo Is A Must For Noche Buena

yuca with mojo

Yuca with mojo is the traditional cuban side dish 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. And, of course, you have to make enough for yuca fries the next day! 

Caramel Flan Is The Best Cuban Dessert For Noche Buena

caramel

Caramel flan is, hands-down, the most popular Cuban dessert, and for a good reason. It’s a luscious, creamy, special-occasion-worthy dessert that is super easy to make. This is the dessert that’s on every Cuban table for Noche Buena

Noche Buena Menu

Other Traditional Cuban Dishes To Make For Christmas, Even Before Noche Buena

We also love to make goodies like Cuban shortbread, coconut balls, guava bars and Cuban eggnog with sweeteneded condensed milk and rum. I invite you to try some of these Cuban holiday favorites! But you don’t have to wait until Christmas Eve to enjoy these. Make them a few days early and start your Noche Buena festivities early🎄🎅

Torticas De Moron (Cuban Shortbread) Is Melt-In-Your-Mouth Delicious

torticas de moron

Torticas de Moron are a wonderful Cuban shortbread cookie that’s simple to make and so delicious! The shortening makes this cookie perfectly crumbly and once you bite into it just melts in your mouth. And it’s made even more irresistible with a dollop of guava paste! It’s a great addition to your Noche Buena menu, along with the Cuban flan, of course!

Coconut Balls Are Quick, Easy And So Adorable!

Coconut Balls

These coconut balls are such a Cuban treat. First of all, we LOVE coconut, so of course, we would make these. And if your an Almond Joy or Mounds fan, you’ll love these dipped in chocolate and topped with coconuts or almonds. They make great holiday gifts, too.

Boozy, Sweet Crema De Vie (Cuban Eggnog) Is So Good!

crema de vie

Cubans have their own version of eggnog known as crema de vie, and if you have a sweet tooth, you’ve got to try it! The Spanish translation for Crema de Vie is cream of life, and I can see why it’s called that. It tastes a lot like spiked flan because it has very similar ingredients. I like to have a little eggnog as I’m cooking up my Noche Buena feast, so I make this a few days early. You also need to let it sit for a day, so definitely make it early!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration surrounding by family, friends and Christmas joy. ¡Feliz Navidad!

Noche Buena Menu
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 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

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

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

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

Skirt Steak Churrasco

Grilled Skirt Steak Chimichurri Makes A Great BBQ

Hands down, grilled skirt steak churrasco with Chimichurri is a crowd-pleasing BBQ combo! Skirt steak is an excellent cut of beef to grill. It cooks quickly and packs a great taste, especially if you use chimichurri to marinate the steak. Unlike other steaks, skirt steak really absorbs the marinade because it’s thin enough to penetrate, and the meat has a lot of ridges for the marinade to cling to.

Skirt Steak Churrasco

What is Churrasco Steak

Churrasco is the Spanish and Portuguese name for grilled meat, and it’s a common dish of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.  I had my first churrasco steak at a local steakhouse in Miami that served it with a side of chimichurri sauce, a very popular Argentine sauce served with grilled meats and sausages. It was love at first bite for me!

The cuts of meat commonly used for churrasco are outside skirt steak and flank steak. Inside skirt steak can be used too, but it’s a bit tougher. I use inside skirt sometimes because it’s cheaper and it’s still a good cut. I actually used inside skirt for my grilled skirt steak churrasco recipe and it was delicious! Cook’s Illustrated has a great explanation for why skirt steak should be grilled. 

I used one and a half pounds of skirt steak for this recipe for four hungry people (we should have had some leftovers, but we didn’t). For entertaining, my rule of thumb is a half pound per person.

best chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri Sauce Is The Best Marinade 

This sauce is super easy to make and so versatile and tasty you’ll be putting it on more than just skirt steak chimichurri! I used it to marinade and also added a bit more on top (my son thought it was overkill but he doesn’t understand my chimichurri love). 

Chimichurri sauce is made with finely chopped parsley, olive oil, garlic and vinegar. You can have some flavor variations. My version also has cilantro along with the parsley and uses lemon instead of vinegar. I also had to add a little cumin and smoked paprika because I love that flavor combo too. Here’s a link to my Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce. You can use it as a marinade and a table sauce. Make an extra batch and serve it with plantain chips as the meat is grilling.

Skirt Steak Churrasco

Grill and Party On

Grilled Skirt Steak Churrasco and chimichurri makes for a great BBQ party for summer (or year-round in Miami!). The steaks grill in minutes, so you can spend more time with your guests than your grill. Add some grilled veggies and some good crusty bread to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a party. 

I usually make a pot of Congri Rice to go with this because I’m Cuban, and that’s what we do, and it’s so delicious too! You can make the congri rice in advance and just reheat it when the meat is ready for no-fuss entertaining.

Since we’re just starting the summer, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try out this recipe. I hope you enjoy it to the very last bite!!

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Skirt Steak Churrasco

Grilled Skirt Steak Churrasco With Chimichurri

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 4:15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Argentine

Description

Churrasco steak with chimichurri sauce is a popular Argentine barbecue that’s quick and easy to make. It’s the tastiest steak you’ll ever eat. Try it for your next BBQ!


Ingredients

Scale

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak (see note)

1/2 recipe of Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce

Salt and Pepper for seasoning


Instructions

Trim the skirt steak to remove excess fat. 

Salt and pepper the steak and place in a plastic bag with half a recipe of the chimichurri sauce.

Marinate the steak for 4 hours or overnight. 

Heat the grill and while it’s heating, remove the steak from the marinade and dry with paper towels. This will make sure the steak sears instead of steams when added to the grill. 

Grill the steaks for about 5-6 minutes per side depending on thickness and desired doneness. 5 minutes per side should yield medium rare for thick parts (see photo) and medium for thinner parts. Skirt steak is not evenly thick, so it would be helpful to cut the steak into two strips based on thickness and remove the thin strip first. 

Let it rest for 5 minutes, cut and serve with the remaining chimichurri sauce on the side. 


Notes

Outside skirt steak is preferable, as it’s more tender. However, inside skirt steak is more economical and will also taste great.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4

Keywords: Churrasco steak, Skirt Steak Churrasco, Churrasco Grilled Steak, Churrasco steak, Argentinian chimichurri steak, Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, Chimichurri steak marinade, Best steak for chimichurri

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