by Kate Heyhoe
Get into the spirit of Super Bowl XXXIII with a Cuban-style feast. Miami not only hosts the big game, it also hosts a vibrant Cuban population. If you've never had Cuban food, kick back and get ready to treat yourself to a bevy of dishes that will punch your ticket and knock your socks off—Nikes and all.
For Cubanos, pigs are valued for more than just their skin. Festive celebrations always seem to include a tart and tangy roast pork (quite often a whole pig), accompanied by black beans, steamed white rice, and a zesty sauce known as a mojo. Chicken is also popular, and Cubans may serve Arroz con Pollo, chicken baked with rice, any day of the week. Another popular favorite, picadillo, slow cooks beef with the contrasting flavors of green olives, raisins, almonds and tomatoes. But being a form of hash, picadillo can include a wide variety of ingredients, and every Cuban cook seems to have his or her own personal recipe.
The Cuban kitchen includes ingredients and recipes from the many cultures that have influenced its history, combining the fruits and vegetables of the Caribbean (plantains and yuca), saffron and olives from Spain, and stews from Africa. A quintessential Cuban dish, Moros & Cristianos (meaning the Moors and the Christians) was actually adapted from the Spaniards, and mixes together black beans (the Moors) with steamed white rice (the Christians).
In honor of this year's Super Bowl, I've played around to create a Cuban Coin-Toss Casserole, a scrumptious dish of that reflects the various traditional flavors that dominate Cuban cooking. It's easy to make, even on game day, or you can prepare it the day before then bake just before serving.
Another one of my favorite party dishes, Cuban-Style Picadillo, I learned from my mother (who learned it herself in Cuba, back in its heyday), and is best accompanied by the traditional black beans and rice. It's also easy to make, and profits from long, slow baking. It, too, can be made a day ahead then baked in a low oven until ready to serve.Serve either of these dishes with a simple green salad, and for extra tang, whip up a batch of Green Olive Mojo or a 2-Minute Black Bean Dip—easy dishes to punch up the flavors in your Super Bowl "bowl" foods.
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Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created January 1999
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