A cook dinner's life: Contemporary from Cuba

We’re lastly into snow season in Fort McMurray, and everybody’s ideas are drifting to holidays and holidays in sunnier climates — I do know mine are! I used to be fortunate sufficient to have spent a while residing in Havana, Cuba. Not the standard resort journey most expertise, however residing with locals in a suburb simply exterior the guts of downtown Havana.

My Cuban expertise is a part of the explanation I’m a cook dinner at this time. I spent my days wandering by native markets, chatting with retailers and tasting issues I had by no means seen earlier than. My nights had been spent in a kitchen studying methods to flip easy substances into an incredible feast, not just for myself, however it appeared like half the house block surrounding us as effectively. It brings a smile to my face each time I take into consideration these nights.

My life has grow to be extra hectic since and it looks like the chaos by no means ends, however when it comes proper all the way down to it, I really like what I do and the chaos is a part of the love. Day-after-day I get to see the outcomes of our staff’s onerous work.

One among my favorite dishes on these nights in Havana was Picadillo — an odd mix of floor meat, olives, raisins and tomatoes. A gaggle of substances that simply didn’t appear proper in my head, but as soon as it stewed away for a bit on the gasoline range the smells would have my mouth watering.

That is a simple, fast meal that everybody on the dinner desk goes to like. Cuban consolation meals at its finest.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 giant white onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 lb floor beef
  • 1 lb floor pork (or Chorizo sausage)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ½ cup sliced olives (3 tbsp brine out of jar)
  • ½ cup diced pimento
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 8-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp contemporary black pepper
  • salt to style


Over a medium hearth, warmth a big pot. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Toss round until translucent. About 4 minutes.

Add the bottom pork and beef then cook dinner till browned. Drain off the fats cautious to not lose any of the contents whereas doing so.

Throw it again on the fireplace then add the sherry. Stir for about one other minute till the meat has absorbed the flavours. Then add the diced tomato, tomato paste, pimentos, olives (with brine), raisins, oregano, cumin and cayenne. Simmer over a low hearth for about 10 minutes, giving it a toss each couple of minutes. Style then season with the salt and pepper.

I served mine with conventional rice and beans and a contemporary Ensalada Tipica (Cuban Salad with Lemon French dressing). I purchased some flat bread and threw on a wedge of lemon so as to add a zipper to the rice. It makes an amazing stuffing for tacos for the children. I wished some fried plantains as veggies, however the shops had been out. So the Bowie’s had a Cubana feast in entrance of the burning log channel on the tv earlier than I went out to shovel. Christina jogged my memory but once more that she has by no means been to Cuba. Perhaps that can be our subsequent escape.

Get pleasure from!