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Cuban Menu for Christmas Eve or Nochebuena
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
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
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.
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)
- 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
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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 CubaClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
Try the Salad at this Link
- Have Yourself a Mexicali Christmas! - The Legend of the Poinsettia
Poinsettia, the Star that bloomed in Love. Read about the story of the flower and try two authentic recipes.
Cuban Flan Recipe
This is a fun flan making kit that makes the dish easy to prepare.
Mexican or Cuban Flan
© 2014 Patty Inglish