Habichuelas Colorados con Calabaza Guisado / Red Kidney Beans with Calabaza Squash


HHabichuelas con Calabaza

Habichuelas Colorados con Calabaza Guisado is a  popular Puerto Rican side dish made with red kidney beans and a Caribbean squash called Calabaza. It is a hard skinned squash with orange flesh similar to Acorn or Butternut squash, either of which may be substituted in this recipe. The Calabaza squash, which is easily found in Latin markets, adds a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to the beans. Serve over cooked white rice to create a perfect a side dish for grilled, roasted or fried meats. 

Ingredients:

1/2 pound chunk of Calabaza

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped Cubanelle pepper (Italian frying pepper)

3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 – 16 ounce cans red kidney beans (or if you have more time on your hands than I do, feel free to soak some dried beans)

1 – 8 ounce can  tomato sauce

Method:

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Peel, remove seeds and dice the Calabaza into 3/4 inch pieces.

HHabichuelas con Calabaza

 

Place the diced Calabaza into a sauce pan with enough water to cover the cubes add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain the Calabaza reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

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Place onions, green peppers, garlic and olive oil into a small food processor and pulse a few times until a coarse puree is achieved.

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Place puree into a large thick bottomed saucepan and sauté for 5 minutes over low heat.

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Add remaining ingredients plus the cooked Calabaza  and the reserved 1/2 cup of cooking liquid to the sauce pan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

HHabichuelas con Calabaza

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Traditional Puerto Rican “Pernil Horneado” – Roast Pork


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Pernil, Puerto Rican Style roast pork is a typically served for the Holidays, with “Tostones” (fried green bananas) and “Arroz con Gandules” (rice and pigeon peas) on the side. The whole trick to a perfect roast is low and slow cooking. Also do not cover the roast while cooking or the skin will not get crispy. Buen provecho.(enjoy)

 

1 – 8 to 10 pound picnic pork shoulder – (bone in)

3 tbsp. salt or 1 tsp. / pound

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried cilantro

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. ground cumin

6 cloves garlic peeled

1 large green pepper (coarsely chopped)

1 medium yellow onion (coarsely chopped)

1 lemon or lime (juiced)

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

 

Wash pork shoulder under cold running water. Dry with paper towels and place on cutting board skin side up. Using a sharp knife cut through the skin to create a diamond pattern. Place remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree. (This marinade is called Mojo and is also used on steaks, chicken and fish) Place pork into a large Zip-lock plastic bag and pour the marinade from the blender into the bag and seal. The pork shoulder should then be marinated in the refrigerator for 2 days for maximum flavor.  Turn over the bag occasionally to move the marinade around.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Remove pork from bag and shake off excess marinade and discard. Place the pork shoulder on a rack with the skin side up in a deep sided roasting pan. Wipe marinade off the skin using a paper towel (this keeps the marinade from burning while roasting the pork). Add 1 inch of water to roasting pan to keep pan juices from burning.

Prenil

Pernil

Place the uncovered roast in oven and cook for 5 hours (30 minutes/pound) or if using a probe thermometer until roast reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. To test the pork for doneness I use a fork to pull away a piece of meat, it should shred easily. Now check skin for desired crispness. If skin is still too soft you can get crisper skin by raising temperature up to 400 degrees but watch it closely because it will  burn quickly if not watched. When desired crispness is achieved remove roast from oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Sofrito – Puerto Rican Green Gold


sofrito-tray_thumb.jpgSofrito is a mixture of peppers, onions, garlic and herbs that is used as a flavoring in many Puerto Rican rice, bean and meat dishes. I always keep a supply in my freezer. Sofrito recipes are like finger prints no two recipes are the same, this is how my family makes it.

Sofrito Recipe:

2 large green or red pepper – stemmed, seeded and chopped

24 Aji Dulce peppers stemmed, seeded and chopped or 2 Cubanelle peppers stemmed, seeded and chopped*

2 medium onions (large diced)

6 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

4 leaves culantro (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil

 Place all ingredients into a food processor and process for 10 seconds.  Save sofrito by freezing in ice-cube trays or plastic cups then placing them into large zip-lock freezer bag for future use. Sofrito is a great marinade for grilled meats and for seasoning bean dishes. I measure about 1/4 cup in each plastic cup.

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*Aji Dulce Peppers are small peppers that resemble a Scotch Bonnet pepper but they are a sweet not hot. Cubanelle peppers are also known as Italian frying peppers.

PUERTO RICAN STYLE ARROZ CON POLLO (CHICKEN AND RICE)


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If you asked 10 Puerto Ricans “What do you ask your Mother to cook when you go to visit her?” I’ll bet 9 of 10 will say Arroz con Pollo!”  As I cooked this recipe and the aromas filled my kitchen, memories of my mother filled my head. I could see her in the kitchen browning off pieces of chicken while I was trying to steal a few of her olives and she would chase me away with her wooden spoon saying “You are not to big to get a beating.” Then we would both start to laugh. Good memories are what my “Heirloom recipes” are all about.

Arroz con Pollo Recipe:

6 chicken wings

6 chicken thighs

salt and pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. sofrito (see recipe below)

6 cups chicken broth

1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce

16 pimento stuffed olives

3 tbsp. capers (rinsed)

4 cups long grain white rice

Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F

Season the chicken parts liberally with salt and pepper.

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Heat oil in a thick bottomed Dutch oven or caldero over medium heat. Brown chicken a few pieces at a time for about 5 minutes a side.(Chef’s note: don’t fuss with the chicken while it is browning, when the chicken is ready to be turned over it will be easy to turn over and will not stick to the bottom of the pan) When chicken is browned remove from pot and set aside.

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Drain pot of rendered chicken fat leaving 1 tbsp. of fat behind in the pot. Leave the browned bits in the bottom of the pot because they will add flavor. Add sofrito to the pot and cook for three minutes.

Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, olives, capers, rice and reserved chicken to the pot and bring liquid to a boil in an uncovered pot over medium heat.

Once boiling reduce heat to low and stir pot only once. If you stir rice too much it becomes sticky!

After about 5 to 10 minutes the rice will absorb most of the liquid in the pot. When the liquid  is just below the top of the rice, cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and place the pot into pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove pot from oven and allow rice to rest for 5 minutes  before removing lid. To serve fluff rice with a fork.

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Sofrito Recipe:

sofrito1

1 large green or red pepper (large dice)

12 Aji Dulce peppers seeded and chopped or 2 Cubanelle peppers seeded and chopped*

2 medium onions (large dice)

6 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 cup cilantro leaves

2 leaves culantro (optional)

1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil

 Place all ingredients into a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Reserve 4 tbsp. of mixture for above recipe. Save remaining sofrito by freezing in ice-cube trays then placing cubes into large zip-lock freezer bag for future use. Sofrito is a great marinade for grilled meats and for seasoning bean dishes.

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*Aji Dulce Peppers are small peppers that resemble a Scotch Bonnet pepper but they are a sweet not hot. Cubanelle peppers are also known as Italian frying peppers.

Budin – Puerto Rican Bread Pudding


Budin

I had a request for a recipe from an old friend of mine (Belinda Alfonso Sandstrom). Back in about 1991 we took a trip to visit her grand father and we brought him a some of my mom’s bread pudding. He took one bite and said it reminded him of the bread pudding he had as a child in Puerto Rico. This is one of my families “Heirloom Recipes”. Try this recipe and it will become a favorite for your family.

3 loaves of “3 day old” French or Italian bread / cut into small cubes
2 cans of Carnation Evaporated milk plus 2 cans of water
1 quart of milk (regular milk, not fat-free)
2 tbsp. Vanilla
3 cups Sugar
1 Tbs.Cinnamon
1/2 cup Raisins
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick) – diced into small pieces
extra cinnamon for dusting

Directions:
There should be enough bread cubes to make a mound in a 10″ x 15″ baking pan.

Pour the 2 cans of Evaporated Milk over bread, refill each can with water and add to bread. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins, sugar and 3/4 of the diced butter.

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Mix all together real good, making sure the sugar is well dissolved into the bread mixture.

Let stand for 15 minutes to allow bread to soften and soak up most of the milk. The texture should be a slightly wet mush. Use the remaining butter to dot the top of the entire mixture.

Then lightly sprinkle the top with more cinnamon. DO NOT MIX. Place pan in oven and bake at 350 degrees, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. or until knife inserted comes out clean. Top will have crispy chunks that you can’t help but to sample! The bread pudding itself will become firm once it cools off.

Hope you enjoy…it’s delicious

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Flan – Puerto Rican Egg Custard Recipe


Finished Flan

This is a family “Heirloom Recipe” that my mother has been making for as long as I can remember. Flan is a Spanish caramel cream custard that is popular in Puerto Rico and many other Latin American countries. This is a simple yet elegant dessert you must try!

 

Special equipment;

Bundt pan

  • Bundt pan
  • Deep roasting pan
  • Round platter slightly larger than the Bundt pan with raised edges

Ingredients;

  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 1 – 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 12 oz. whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • enough hot water to fill roasting pan 2 inches high

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

ingredients

Assemble all of the ingredients.

eggs in blender

Place eggs in the blender and whip for 15 seconds.

milk in blender

Add sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk to the blender. Then use empty can of evaporated milk to measure whole milk. Add the whole milk to the blender and whip for 30 seconds. Set aside.

sugar in the pot

Place sugar in  a dry sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat.

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After 5 minutes sugar will begin to clump up. Break up clumps with a wooden spoon.

caramel

Continue to cook sugar until it liquefies and turns a light caramel color. Don’t go too dark or it will get a burnt flavor.

pouring caramel

Pour caramel into Bundt pan.

spreading caramel

Using a wooden spoon, spread caramel half way upsides of pan including tube.

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Place coated Bundt pan into roasting pan.

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Pour custard mixture into Bundt pan.

pouring water

Place roasting pan with Bundt pan into pre-heated oven. then pour hot water into roasting pan. About 2 inches high. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

un sticking flan

After removing from the oven allow to cool for 15 minutes then using a thin knife separate top edge of flan from the pan.

tilt pan

After flan has cooled tilt pan back and forth until you can see the caramel oozing up the sides of the pan. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or over night.

cover pan with platter

Place the inverted platter on top of the Bundt pan. Now comes the fun part. Holding the platter tight against the Bundt pan flip the pan over being careful not to lose the liquid caramel.

flipped flan

Note: After removing Flan from the pan there will be some hard caramel in the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry you can boil some water and pour it in the Bundt pan and it will melt away.

Puerto Rican Pastelillos de Carne (Empanadas)


 

Pastelillos de Carne are meat filled pastries that are a popular in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. They are also called Empanadas although Pastilillos in Puerto Rico usually have a thinner and crisper  shell than an Empanda. The filling varies depending on the country. This is my mother’s recipe with a few adjustments I have made over the years.

 

Picadillo Filling for Pastilillos:

 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ cup green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

½ cup onion, peeled and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried cilantro

½  teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper  

½  tablespoon cumin

1 pound lean ground beef

16 manzanilla olives, stuffed with pimento, sliced in half

8 ounces tomato sauce

¼ cup raisins

2 packages Goya Discos Grandes (large pastry shells)

 

Recipe:  Heat oil in sauté pan over medium low heat. Add oil, green peppers, onions, garlic, oregano, cilantro, cumin, salt, pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add add olives, tomato sauce and raisins to the pan then cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Place ground beef into a second pan and cook over medium heat and stir occasionally to break up the chunks of beef until meat is slightly browned and all of the pink is gone. Place the meat in a colander to remove excess liquid. After draining add the beef to the onion and pepper mixture and simmer for an additional 20 minutes over low heat. When done put the picadillo mixture on one end of a sheet pan then place pan on kitchen counter. Use a kitchen towel, to elevate one end of the pan. This will allow excess oil to drain from the picadillo. Then refrigerate the mixture to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Place shell on flat surface and wet outer edge with water. Place 2 large tablespoons of filling in center of a disc and fold disc in half over the filling, making sure the edges meet. To get a flaky crust avoid over filling your empanadas.

Then using a fork seal the edges tightly.  Pan fry Pastilillos in 2 inches of oil until golden then drain on paper towels.

Another option is they can be egg washed and baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden.