Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about one of the three hottest dishes in Hispanic cuisine, you can prepare this Valentine’s Day whether or not you are looking for a Latin lover.
Cuban cuisine has been influenced by many cultures, particularly, Spanish and African. The heart and soul of many Cuban dishes is sofrito; a mixture of green pepper, garlic, oregano and ground pepper sautéed in olive oil. The ingredients of this sauce add flavoring to many Cuban recipes but also supply health benefits. For instance, moderate use of garlic and olive oil is associated with a healthy heart and green peppers are a good source of vitamins B and C.
Healthier versions of Cuban recipes for this Valentine’s Day
Arroz Moro (brown rice with Cuban black beans)
1 can of black beans 1 large green pepper, chopped
2 cups of already cooked brown rice 1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste 3 garlic cloves, mashed
3 bay leaves 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of low sodium broth
Sauté the chopped onions, green bell peppers, and garlic until onions are translucent for about 3-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and oregano to this sofrito and mix for about 5 minutes. Next, add beans and mix well. Add tomatoes and broth and mix for 5 more minutes. Add 2 cups of already cooked brown rice and mix well. Cook until all is absorbed; it may take 10-15 minutes.
Fricase de Pollo (Chicken Fricassee)
1 chicken, cut into small pieces 1 tsp capers
6 garlic cloves, mashed ½ cup raisins
1 half onion, minced 4 spoonful of olive oil
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped 1 cup stuffed olives
½ cup sour orange juice 1 bell pepper sliced
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Marinade chicken pieces in mashed garlic, sour orange juice, onion and bell pepper for about an hour. In a large pot simmer the garlic and onions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add tomato, simmer for 5-10 minutes, then add capers, raisins and olives, also add the chicken and stir until all chicken pieces blend with the sauce. At this time add a cup of water and stir. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cook at low fire for about 30 minutes. Serve with Arroz con moro or brown rice.
I hope you enjoy these easy to make recipes! And for those of you who are looking for a Latin lover, I am sorry I cannot give you any love tips, being a Latino dietitian only qualifies me to encourage you to try one of our many ethnic cuisines. By the way, you can have some mojito cocktail with this meal. Just remember to drink in moderation.