Sunday, December 16, 2012

Arroz ala Cubana

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
One of the few things I loved eating as a college student was this Cuban-inspired dish. The flavors have been adapted and Filipinized but the fact that it is easy to make and quite tasty makes it a favorite of hungry young students like I was once a very long time ago. It might seem very basic considering that it is traditionally served with steamed white rice together with fried eggs and Saba bananas (or plantains) but that is part of its appeal. Put together, the flavors just makes sense. You might mistake it for a breakfast meal but it actually makes a wonderful meal any time of the day. When you are hungry and on a budget, this is definitely the meal for you. 

Arroz ala Cubana

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 dried bay leaves
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp ground annatto seeds (or smoked paprika)
5 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp chopped parsley

3-4 Saba or 2 large ripe plantains

1. In a small pan, heat 3 tbsp oil over low heat and add the annatto seeds. 
    Heat until the oil turns orange red. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Add 
    the garlic and onions and season with salt and pepper and saute until 
    softened. Add the bay leaves and cook until aromatic.

3. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned. 
    Add the annatto oil and mix well. 

4. Add the potatoes and carrots and the beef broth. Bring to a boil and cover 
    until the vegetables are tender but firm. Lower the heat to medium.

5. Add the tomato paste and raisins and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add 
    the peas and cook until bright green. Check for flavor and adjust 
    accordingly. Garnish with the copped parsley.

6. Serve the dish with steamed rice and fried bananas and eggs.  

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