Cuban Country-Style Stew
ByPrep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
The traditional favorite of Cuban farm people in the countryside, ajiaco is a complex stew of multiple ingredients – a real tour de force.
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices smoked bacon
6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
3/4 pound pork loin , cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 pound skirt or flank steak, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups beef stock
3 cups ham stock
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cup malanga, cubed
1 cup boniato, cubed
1 cup yuca, cubed
1 cup calabaza, cubed
2 ears fresh sweet corn, husked
1 green plantain
1 semi-ripe plantain (starting to get black)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cream
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the bacon until most of the oil is released; remove bacon from pan.
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken, pork, and beef. Dredge in flour; brown the meat (chicken first) in the hot, bacon-flavored oil. Remove the browned meats from the oil.
Put all the meats (including the bacon) in a large, heavy 8-quart stockpot; add the beef and ham stocks and red wine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, and tomatoes, and cook for about 5 minutes. At about the 45-minute point in the cooking, add this sautéed vegetable mixture and the bay leaf to the cooking meat and the broth in the stockpot. Let simmer for 15 minutes while you peel and cut the vegetables.
Peel the malanga, boniato, yuca, and calabaza; cut into cubes and add to the broth. Cut the corn and plantains into 2-inch chunks. Add the corn and green plantains to the simmering stew.
After about 20 minutes, add the semi-ripe plantains and the lime juice; continue cooking for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. The plantain and root vegetables need to be tender!
Thicken the stew slightly by whisking in the cornstarch mixed with water.
Just before serving, stir in the cream.
Serve hot in large bowls with Pan Cubano–Cuban Bread.