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Cuban Menu for Christmas Eve or Nochebuena

Updated on December 22, 2014
Havana skyline.
Havana skyline. | Source

Remembering Cuba

Reading CNN online recently, I ran across a timely article by Ms. Katia Hetter, a writer and producer for CNN Digital. She tells us about her grandparents leaving Cuba after the takeover of Fidel Castro in 1959 and how she visits her Cuban relatives in Miami whenever she can.

One day, Ms. Hetter hopes to purchase an airplane ticket for Cuba and see for herself the place of her ancestral origins. As it is in Miami, she absorbs what she can until she can travel the additional 100 miles.

A Short Distance Between Miami and Havana

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A markerMiami, Florida -
Miami, FL, USA
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Population: Metro Area is home to over 5.56 million in 2013.

B markerHavana Cuba -
Havana, Cuba
get directions

Population - Over 2.1 million in 2012.

The US has had an embargo against Cuba for about all of my life, so I have never visited there. I have seen a video of Jack Paar interviewing Fidel Castro back in time somewhere after the 1959 revolution, but I never saw the clip of Ed Sullivan interviewing the Cuban leader, until I found it on YouTube (see below).

Fidel Castro Interview on Ed Sullivan 1959

Cuban Experiences

What I know of Cuba comes from films, the works of Ernest Hemingway, and my trips to Canada, where Cuban cigars and other products from that island nation are freely available for purchase.

One other avenue of experience comes from a good Cuban restaurant not far from my city, a place friends of mine like to go. I have been there a few times myself and always enjoy the food and the atmosphere.

Ms. Hetter writes that in Miami, she enjoys Cuban coffee and at her cousin's house there, she has enjoyed the Nochebuena menu consisting of roast pork, flan, platanos maduros, yucca, and a salad. Since I did not know what all these things are, I asked around until I learned that information. I hope you enjoy the recipes.

Mountain landscape of Cuba.
Mountain landscape of Cuba. | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours 30 min
Yields: 12 - 15 Servings
Café Bustelo Coffee Espresso, 10 Ounce Bricks (Pack of 4)
Café Bustelo Coffee Espresso, 10 Ounce Bricks (Pack of 4)

Here is a Cuban style coffee that I purchases frequently. It is marked as espresso, but I use it in my drip coffee maker with no problem. It has a rich, full flavor and can be combined with pan juices of beef or pork for a delicious gravy.


Cuban Roast Pork (Lechon Asado)

Serves many.


  • 1 Whole Suckling Pig about 12 pounds or 1 Bone-In unprocessed whole Ham (ask your butcher or meat department). Or, use a 6- or 8-pound Pork Shoulder Roast.

Ingredients to use with a 6-pound roast.

  • 3 Heads of Garlic
  • 3 tsp. Coarse Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1.5 Cups of Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1 Cup fine-chopped White Onion
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Cilanto
  • 1.5 Cups Olive Oil

Please rate this Recipe

5 stars from 1 rating of Cuban Pork Roast


You can marinade this meat overnight, but you do need to do so.

  • Using a small, sharp knife, cut many small cuts into the meat so that the marinade will soak down into the pig or roast. Place the meat into a deep dish or oven pan.
  • In a heavy ceramic bowl, mash peeled garlic cloves with salt and pepper. Mash and mix well.
  • Add juices, oregano, cumin, cilantro, and onion, and mix well.
  • In a pot over medium-high heat on the stove, heat the olive oil until barely begins to steam.
  • Carefully pour the heated oil into the heavy bowl and mix, a little at a time.
  • Carefully pour the marinade over the roast, cover, and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours, up to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Make sure the fattest side of the roast is facing upward and spoon marinade up and over all of that side. Place the pan into the oven and baste every 20 minutes. Use a foil cover if the meat browns too quickly.
  • Cook until the internal meat temperature by a meat thermometer reds 195 degrees F.
  • Remove roast from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before pulling pork for a meal or sandwiches.

Classic Cars are Dominant in Cuba

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Classic Cars

The Art of the Automobile: The 100 Greatest Cars
The Art of the Automobile: The 100 Greatest Cars

The classic Detroit cars of 1955 through 1958 are found around Cuba in an estimated 60,000 vehicles. They may have diesel engines and handcrafted hubcaps, but they last for generations.


Heavy Trucks are Used as "Camel Buses"

Sweet Plantains: Platanos Maduros

  • Select as many plantains as your guests will eat and peel them. Discard the peels. Slice the plantains about 1/4" thick or a little thicker.
  • Heat a light vegetable oil in a frying pan and pan fry the slices until golden brown. Drain and serve.
  • Some cooks dust the fried slices with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Yucca, or Cassava

Peel two pounds of cassava, then slice it lengthwise into six pieces. Cover in a pan of water and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender - about 15 minutes. Drain and arrange on a serving plate.

Sauce: On the stove top, heat together 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 cloves minced garlic; 1/2 medium white onion, diced; 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Heat 5 minutes; pour sauce over the yucca for a side dish.

Cuban Flan Recipe

Flanera Flan Maker 1.4 quart Stainless Steel Recipes Included
Flanera Flan Maker 1.4 quart Stainless Steel Recipes Included

This is a fun flan making kit that makes the dish easy to prepare.


Mexican or Cuban Flan

This flan is an egg custard topped with soft caramel.
This flan is an egg custard topped with soft caramel. | Source

© 2014 Patty Inglish


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks - I really like this story! I'll be glad to read your articles and see what you do with them in the future!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Patty, I love the way you started. The story, though not your own, became yours. Love to use this approach in my future articles.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Thanks for sharing this recipe which I am saving. Great hub.


    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Patty. I only know Cuba as deoicted in the movies it seemed like it was a luxury get-away-island prior to Castro's rise to leadership. This certainly is a timely bit of information.

      Happy New Years to you and yours.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      And now we may be able to visit Cuba!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thanks for sharing such interesting recipes. I really enjoyed your photos and information about Cuba, too.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting.