Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yuca de Reinaldo (Cuban-style Yuca)

You've met Reinaldo before, he taught us how to make his famous Frijoles Negros de Reinaldo (Black Beans). Well, during that same cooking session back in 2009, he also taught us how to make Yuca! That recipe somehow got lost in the shuffle, but lo and behold, it reappeared just before Christmas FIVE years later! (Yes five years! Don't judge me!)

So let's not dwell on that little wrinkle in time and move on with the yuca making. Yuca has a reputation for being difficult to make because it can go very wrong very quickly, but this recipe is fool-proof. First because Reinaldo is a phenomenal cook, but also because he uses frozen yuca. Yes frozen! For root vegetables especially, buying them frozen guarantees you'll get a perfect product since you don't run the risk of getting a "bad" vegetable - only the flawless ones are frozen, and they are frozen at their peak.

I eat this yuca every couple of years and I can tell you hands down, it's amazing.


4 cups of Water
32 ounces Frozen Yuca
1 medium Sour Orange - juiced
1 medium Yellow Onion - sliced
5 Garlic cloves - minced
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt as needed


This recipe makes approximately 6 servings.
  1. Add a pinch of salt and one tablespoon of olive oil to water and set to boil.
  2. Add a minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of sour orange juice and a pinch of salt in mortar. Mash the garlic mixture until it becomes a paste. Set aside.
  1. Rinse the yuca and add to the pot of boiling water ensuring the yuca is completely submerged.
  2. Add the remaining sour orange juice.
  3. Set to high and return to rolling boil.
  1. After a rolling boil of about 15 minutes "scare" the yuca by adding one cup of ice to break the boil.
  1. Cover and continue boiling on high for about ten minutes or until the yuca is fork tender.
  1. Remove and drain the yuca. Set aside.
  1. Pour remaining olive oil into a skillet and set on high until it reaches the smoke point.
  2. Add the sliced onions to the garlic mixture and pour the boiling oil over the  garlic and onions.
  1. Pour the oil mixture over the yuca.

The beautiful finished product

Yuca, along with black beans and white rice, is an integral side dish to the traditional Noche Buena roast pork dinner. It also serves as a fabulous and healthy side dish to any meat, pork or chicken dish.

¡Buen provecho!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Guiso de Maíz de Miriam (Cuban Corn Stew)

Once again Miriam welcomed us into her home to share more of her delicious recipes. This time it was a hearty Cuban favorite, Guiso de Maíz - a stew combining corn, calabaza, potatoes and yumminess! We spent a lovely afternoon, evoking memories, sharing plans and munching on cheese and crackers while sipping a delicious Rosé as the guiso cooked. It was, as often happens at these gatherings, a multi-generational group of women sharing, thereby making the food that much more delicious.


3 tbs Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion - chopped
1 Medium Green Pepper - chopped
3 Garlic Cloves - chopped
½ lb Ham - chopped
2 Spanish-style Chorizos - chopped
1 8 oz Can of Tomato Sauce
¼ cup Vino Seco or White Cooking Wine
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube - dissolved in water
2 15.25 oz Cans of Corn - reserve liquid
4½ cups of Water
4 Corn Cobs - chunked into 1 inch thick pieces (Frozen mini cobs work as well, either whole or halved)
1 Medium Potato - chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1 Medium Calabaza (Cuban Squash) or Butternut Squash - Peeled and Chunked
Pinch of Annatto
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

The Process 

This recipe makes approximately eight servings.
  1. Soak the calabaza in water.
  2. Coat the pan with olive oil and set temperature to Medium - Low.
  3. Add green pepper, onion, garlic and salt and saute until vegetables are soft.
  4. Add ham and chorizo.
  1. Add tomato sauce, cooking wine, bouillon, black pepper.
  1. Add canned corn with its liquid, three cups of water, annatto, corn cobs, potato and the bay leaf. 
  1. Cover and cook at medium low for 5 minutes, then check for salt and add salt to taste. Cover and continue cooking  for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Once the potato is done, add calabaza and 1.5 cups of water into the mix. 
  1. Cover and continue cooking at Medium - Low until calabaza is soft, about 15 minutes. 
  2. Turn off and leave covered until serving.

The Finished Product

Miriam served the guiso over brown rice and with mariquitas (plantain chips), but it is can be accompanied by sweet fried plantains, fried green plantains (tostones), or a green salad. It's all good!

As always, we had a wonderful meal and a fabulous time. This is a great dish when you have company.

¡Buen provecho!