Cuban Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve and traditionally the meal begins at midnight. Roast pork is always in the forefront. I've included a typical Cuban meal.
Hope your holidays are filled with love, laughter, good health, and peace.
Chef Douglas Rodriguez
Garlic Plantain Chips:
Lime, Garlic, and Oregano Mojo:
Gloria's Black Bean Soup:
Crab Empanadas with Pickled Garlic-Caper Remoulade:
Roasted Pork Marinade:
1. Place the sugarcane juice, rum, and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and stir. (If using sugar, shake vigorously until the sugar dissolves.)
2. Fill the tall rocks glass with crushed ice and pour the cocktail over the ice. Add the 7-Up and stir gently. Garnish with the sugarcane stick and stir.
Garlic Plantain Chips
Yield: 4 Servings
1. Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Immediately add the plantain chips one at a time, but do not overload the pan or the oil will not stay enough. (Cook in batches if necessary.) Deep-fry until golden, 3 or 4 minutes.
2. Remove the chips with wire-mesh strainer and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder and let cool.
Lime, Garlic, and Oregano Mojo
Yield: Approximately 2 1/2 cups
1. With a wire whisk, blend the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt in a mixing bowl. Keep refrigerated for up 2 days.
Yield: 4 Servings
1. Cut the avocado into bite size chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the scallions, bell pepper, onions, cilantro, cucumber, tomato, and lime juice, and toss gently.
2. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gently stir and serve.
Gloria's Black Bean Soup
Yield: 8 - 10 Servings
1. Place the beans in a nonreactive pan. Cover with three quarts water, add the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring frequently and adding more water if neccessary to keep them covered.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet. Saute the the bell peppers, shallots, and onions over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, cumin, dried and fresh oregano and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
4. When the beans are almost tender, add the pureed mixture, sugar, and salt to the beans and cook until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, garnish with the red onion and sour cream, and serve
Crab Empanadas with Pickled Garlic-Caper Remoulade
Yield: 20 Empanadas
1. Place all of the roumoulade ingredients in a blender and food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. To prepare the crab filling, heat the olive oil in a saute pan or skillet and saute the garlic and onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.
3. Transfer the onion and garlic to a large mixing bowl. Add the crabmeat, tomatoes, Parmesan, and scallions, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.
4. To prepare the dough, place 2 cups of the flour in a mixing bowl. Add the vegetable oil and water slowly, mixing on a low speed with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the remaining cup of flour and the salt, and mix until thoroughly incorporated and the dough is elastic.
5. Turn out the dough to a well-floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch. Using a 3-inch round pastry cutter, cut out 15 to 20 circles.
6. Place about 1 tablespoon of the crab filling in the center of each dough round, fold over to form a half-moon or turnover, and seal the edges with a fork.
7. In a large cast-iron pan, heat 1 inch of the oil to 300 degrees. Fry the empanadas until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with remoulade on the side.
Yield: Approximately 1 quart
1. In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve.
2. Place the garlic cloves in a glass storage jar and add the thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, and mustard seeds. Pour the vinegar into the jar and let cool. Cover and store until needed.
Roasted Pork Marinade
Yield: 8 TO 10 Servings
1. Place all the marinade ingredients except the water in a food processor or blender. With the motor running, add the water gradually to form a purée.
2. Place the pork in a large oven proof dish or nonreactive pan and pour the marinade over the pork. Cover, and marinade in the refrigerator for 12 hours, or overnight. Turn the pork occasionally.
3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
4. Place the pork and marinade in the oven and bake until the pork is very tender and almost falling apart, about 3 hours. Remove the pork and let cool slightly. Using 2 forks, shred the pork.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.