Cuban cuisine is a blend of Spanish, African, and other Caribbean cuisines. Some Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor. This results in a blend of the several different cultural influences. A small but noteworthy Chinese influence can also be accounted for, mainly in the Havana area. There is also some Italian influence. During colonial times, Cuba was an important port for trade, and many Spaniards who lived there brought their culinary traditions with them. (Excerpt taken from Wikipedia as I love knowing about different cultures of food).
This recipe is a slightly adapted version from an old African friend I worked with back in 2004, she would often bring in a huge casserole dish full of this amazing meal along with rice and beans and plantain chips, it was so nice that it became a regular dish she would bring in for us all, the best part was mopping up the sauce from the dish with homemade bread that either myself or another work colleague would bring in, there was literally no trace of this amazing dish to be seen by the time we had finished.
We use smoked garlic in this dish, this can be found in most supermarkets now especially Morrisons and Tesco, if you can not find fresh then Lazy Food does it pre chopped in a jar which you can find with the herbs and spices again in most supermarkets. It does make a difference in flavour even if only subtle.
Some recommended items from our kitchen for this dish…
- Double sided dry and liquid measuring spoons for times when you need to measure both liquid and dry ingredients.
- A decent set of knives for chopping, with a knife sharpener which is always handy.
- Garlic crusher, we have had this one for a good while, easy to clean and can crush multiple cloves at once saving time.
- Non stick saucepans.
- Casserole dishes.
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- 800g diced stewing steak, fat removed
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 2 smoked garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 2 bell peppers, deseeded and sliced
- 2 sticks of celery, diced
- 1 tin tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 white wine stock pot
- 2 beef oxo cubes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- In a pan gently fry the steak until sealed and lightly browned and add to the casserole dish.
- In the pan you just used for the steak add the stock pot and oxo cubes with 250ml boiling water to deglaze the pan and use a whisk to combine so there is no lumps left.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the casserole dish and pour over the gravy, season with salt and pepper and give a quick stir.
- Cover with a lid or tin foil and place in the oven for 2 to 2½ hours.
- Remove the bay leave and cinnamon stick and serve with boiled rice and vegetables of your choice.
Roasting a butternut squash and then stuffing with the cuban beef is a tasty alternative to serve this aromatic dish.