This simple, nourishing stew of tripe and vegetables is found in innumerable variations throughout Latin America and around the Caribbean. On the islands of Aruba and Curaçao it is known as sopi mondongo.
Wikipedia-Platillo Moros y Cristianos (or simply moros, moro, congri, or arroz moro) is a famous Cuban dish. It can be considered the Cuban version of rice and beans, a dish found throughout the Caribbean and in Brazil.
Moro y cristianos means “Moors and Christians”. “Moors” refers to the black beans, and “Christians” to the rice. The name of the dish is likely a reference by early Cuban settlers to the Islamic Conquest of Spain (early 8th century) and subsequent Reconquista (15th c.) which both had a profound effect on the Spanish culture and language.
From TasteofCuba.com-If you’re thinking of having a Cuban style Christmas, plan on preparing a great deal of food. Noche Buena is the time that you will want to have a great deal of Cuban cooking to keep everyone satisfied, here we’ll provide you with some details on how to throw a good Cuban Christmas party.
Typical staples of a Cuban Christmas Eve party include the lechon asado (roasted pig), Moros y Cristianos (Black beans and rice), and plenty of Cuban cider to drink. The biggest tradition is to have a pig roast. The day before Christmas Eve, a pig would be selected, slaughtered, cleaned and would begin marinating for the cookout the roast the next day. Roasting your own pig is a big undertaking. Most Cubans living in the U.S. will purchase an 80 pound pig (maybe 100 lbs if you plan on feeding over 70 people with single servings) from their local butcher store. (READ MORE)
The cake is very popular in many parts of Central America and Mexico. The origins of the tres leches are disputed . The Nestlé Company also claims to have helped the tres leches recipe evolve, during World War II. The idea for creating a cake soaked in a liquid is probably of European origin, as similar cakes, such as rum cake from Puerto Rico and tiramisu from Italy, use this method.
A Tres leches cake, or Pastel Tres leches (Spanish, “Three milk cake”), or Pan Tres Leches (Spanish, “Three milk bread”), is a sponge cake—in some recipes, a butter cake—soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. When butter is not used, the tres leches is a very light cake, with many air bubbles. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.-Wikepedia
See Recipe for Tres Leches from Foodpinup.com
courtesy of Cocina Cubana Club (please join) / Pascual Perez and chef Sonia Martinez
The following can be added to white rice or used as filling in the “pastelitos” recipe in the dessert section to make small meat pies. For picadillo you can use ground lean beef or turkey.
- 1 lb ground meat
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Pimiento stuffed olives
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, brown the ground meat, onions and garlic. If meat is not too lean, pour out whatever fat you render. turn heat down to medium low. Add the tomato sauce and wine. While it simmers, chop up the pimiento stuffed olives and add to meat mixture, it is ok to add a little bit of the brine, if you wish. Add the raisins and adjust the seasonings. I like my picadillo almost dry, not too soupy. Serve over fluffy, white rice. If you like it soupier, just add more tomato sauce and/or wine, if you wish. For the pastelitos, let the sauce simmer almost to dry, so you will not have a runny mess on your hands. There is also a Cuban grocery website that sells Cuban-style picadillo in their fish & meat section if you want to try the version with potatoes (different from the meat-only one)
- Puerco asado (Roasted pork)
- Pollo asado o al horno (Roasted chicken or Chicken cooked in the oven)
- Moros de guandules (a combination of rice and ‘peas’ – usually gungo peas)
- Ensalada Rusa (Russian salad – macedoine of potatoes and carrots, with peas and boiled eg bound with mayonnaise)
- Ensalada verde (Fresh green salad)
- Pasteles en Hojas (Tropical root vegetables cooked in banana or plantain leaves)
- Pan Telera (a very long, soft white bread with a crusty top)
- Dulces (Sweets – such as jellies, marshmallows, caramels)
- Galletitas dulces y biscochos (Biscuits and Cakes – like pastries filled with figs, Danish Butter Biscuits and others)
- Pudim Navideno (Some families might have a version of the European Christmas Pudding)
Other Christmas ‘treats’!
Fruits: Manzanas (Apples), uvas (grapes) and peras (pears) which in the Dominican Republic are fruits consumed just at Christmas time, as a kind of ‘delicacy’! We also love to eat frutas secas (nuts) at this time of the year, especially hazelnut (we call them ‘coquitos’ which literally means “small coconuts” :-D), walnuts (nueces), and almonds (almendras)!
Drinks: Typical Dominican Republic Christmas drinks include red wine, anis (‘Anis del Mono’ – ‘Monkey Aniseed’ – is the most popular!) and ponche de huevo (eggnog) and, of course, ‘rhum’ or ‘ron’ (rum). All these drinks have always been the first choices for most Dominican’s.
But of course, we cannot forget our delicious (at least for me!) non-alcoholic drink for Christmas time: ‘jengibre’ (ginger), which is an infusion made of ginger roots which sometimes also includes a delicious fruit we call ‘Jagua’ (this fruit – also called a ‘genipap’ or ‘marmalade box’ – is about the size of an orange, succulent and has a strong flavour similar to ginger, but is much sweeter).