Taste of Cuba – Main dish

19 Nov

Following through with Cuban comfort food, I will share how to make an essential meal that I grew up with. It is not as intimidating as it sounds and in fact is so easy to throw together. It consists of grilled chicken breast, white rice and black beans, and maduros.

Pechuga de pollo a la plancha

This is a flattened, grilled chicken breast. The key ingredients in Cuban cuisine are onions, garlic, and lime and that’s all this chicken needs. Flatten out the breast and cook with a little lime juice and garlic. The onions are sautéed and caramelized and served smothered over the chicken.

Arroz con frijoles negros

Our white rice has a specific taste and is sticky, but not as sticky as Asian rice. I make my rice in a rice cooker, but you can use a pot if you don’t have one. I add a little salt, butter and a couple bay leaves to the cooking process to achieve the taste.

I keep things simple by just using canned black beans. There is a certain flavor we are aiming for here as well. I add a halved green bell pepper to the pot along with garlic, salt, and a little dry cooking white wine. I use a Sauvignon Blanc. At this point all you do is warm the beans through on a low heat for a while to soak up those favors.

Maduros

Plantains are a staple in Cuban food. We make chips, soups, and sides galore with them. A typical side made with plantains is maduros. These are caramelized plantains. They are sweet and savory. Now, I don’t know why, but these are tricky to make up here. You essentially fry them in oil, again canola or vegetable. I have found up here for some reason cutting the chunks smaller than normal proves the best results. You want a very ripe plantain. By that I mean black. Cut the chunks diagonally about an inch. If you slice them too small you will end up making crunchy chips, like mariquitas, or chewey chips, like tostones. (In that case add salt and enjoy!) Now, you will want to fry the plantains until they are a nice caramelized golden brown. Be careful not to burn these.

Here is a wonderful little video on cooking maduros.

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One Response to “Taste of Cuba – Main dish”

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  1. Smothered Chicken | familyrecipebooks - November 20, 2012

    […] Taste of Cuba – Main dish (lccclifeoncampus.wordpress.com) […]

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