First Course


Pork with navy beans (judías con cerdo)

Cooking instructions: 

Soak the navy beans for 2 hours; change the water and boil until tender; drain and keep the water they were cooked in.

In a pot, place alternate layers of navy beans and bacon.

Combine the rest of the ingredients with a cup of the water the beans were cooked in. Keep boiling.

Pour it all over the navy beans, the bacon and the onion and add more water until the pot fills. Cover and cook in the oven at 250ºF for approx. 7 or 8 hours.

Add more water if too dry. For the last hour, take the cover off the pot to let the surface brown.

Stuffed potatoes (papas rellenas)

Cooking instructions: 

Make a potato puree and season only with salt to taste.
Shape into small balls stuffed with canned meat, ham, seafood, cheese or fish.

Coat the balls in beaten egg and ground crackers or breadcrumbs. Fry just before serving.

Bigger ones are made in the same way.

Vaca Frita

Cooking instructions: 

Pound and shred the meat to taste after it is tender.

Season it with crushed garlic, Seville orange or lemon juice and salt.

Minutes before serving, fry in sizzling hot oil.

Casserole Tamale (tamal en cazuela)

Cooking instructions: 

Cube the meat and season it with garlic and lemon. Stir fry the meat and depending on the amount of fat shed, add enough oil to make a sauce with the onion, the pepper, the tomato and the dry wine. Blend the ground corn with the water. Strain it and add it to the meat in the sauce. Cook for about an hour stirring occasionally to prevent from sticking. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken broth (caldo de pollo)

Cooking instructions: 

Cut the meat in slices two to three inches thick. Combine all the ingredients into a pot. Let them soak for half an hour. Put the pot over the fire and bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about two hours. The pot must be kept covered. Strain the broth.

Pork rice (Arroz con carne de puerco)

Cooking instructions: 

Cube the meat into 5 or 6 cm. bits and marinate it in the crushed garlic cloves, the salt, the Seville orange or lemon juice, the oregano, the cumin and the pepper.

Keep it in the marinade for about 2 hours in the refrigerator; then cook it along with all the marinade ingredients and when it dries, add a couple of spoonfuls water to let the meat shed some fat (it must shed almost 3 tablespoons of fat, but if it doesn't, add oil or lard to reach that amount) and use it for the sauce adding the onion, the green pepper and the seedless chopped tomatoes.

Cook for about 5 minutes, add the rest of the water and let it boil for approx. 15 additional minutes or until the meat is just a little tender.

Add the saffron or annatto diluted in some water, the rice (after washing it if necessary) and cook covered over medium heat for 30 minutes in a traditional pot or 10 minutes in a pressure cooker.

Codfish rice (Arroz con bacalao)

Cooking instructions: 

Soak the codfish for a couple of hours in water enough to cover it.

Shred into large pieces and saute in hot oil.

Grind the onion, the pepper, the parsley and the peeled garlic. Toss in the codfish and add the tomato sauce (if you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them well and take out the seeds); add the wine and let it boil for 2 or 3 minutes.

Then add the 2 cups of water used to soak the codfish; when it comes to a boil, stir the rice in (washed if necessary).

Keep it cover over medium heat until the grain opens and the rice begins to look dry, lower the heat and simmer, always covered, for 5 or 10 minutes.

Squid rice (Arroz con calamares)

Cooking instructions: 

Sauté the onion, the garlic and the parsley in hot oil.

Add the squids, the water or stock, the wine, the salt and the ground pepper. When it comes to a boil, add the rice (washed if necessary).

Cook covered over medium heat, until the grains are soft and the rice looks dry.

Lower the heat and simmer until the time of serving.

If you prefer lighter colored rice, add to the sauce 1 small can of sweet red peppers, ground them and add the liquid from the pepper can to the rice to replace some of the stock. The stock used in this recipe must be from lean white fish, not an oily one.

If you are using fresh squids, prepare them just like squids in ink.

After adding the tomato sauce, the salt and the spices, add the ink with 2 cups of water. When the broth comes to a boil, stir in 1 ½ cup of rice and cook over medium heat for about ½ an hour or until the rice is soft.

Breaded beef cutlet or Escalope (Bistec empanizado)

Cooking instructions: 

Slice the meat into 6 steaks, pound them and make small cuts along the edge to avoid shrinking at the time of frying.

Marinate with the crushed garlic, the salt, the pepper, the onion and the Seville orange (or any other acid listed above), cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

Before cooking, roll the steaks in egg and breadcrumbs or ground crackers until coated; fry in hot oil until golden brown.

Clam rice (Arroz con Almejas)

Cooking instructions: 

Rinse the clams in hot water. Then, rinse them several times, under strong running water if possible, to wash all the sand out.

Heat the oil and saute the finely chopped onion, the crushed garlic, the pepper and the parsley.

Add the tomato sauce, the salt and the clams (don't stir excessively to avoid breaking the shells). It is better to shake the pot instead.

Add the stock and the wine. Bring to a boil and then stir in the rice and the spices lightly browned and crushed.

Let it boil, covered, over high heat until the rice grains begin to open, then lower the heat and allow it to simmer until the rice is tender.