Ajiaco Criollo (Cuban Creole Stew)
Makes 8-10 servings
Cuban & African Ingredients:
This dish is usually made with a pepper called ‘aji-aji’ where it gets its name. The meats are varied, too, according to meat eaters, poultry & fish eaters, or vegetarians. The stew is mostly diverse root vegetables and a union of fresh meats cut up in small pieces. My variation of this stew is to use either lamb stew or skinless chicken breasts and thighs.
2 pounds lamb stew or 4 cut up chicken breasts and thighs, use free range chicken.
3 ½ quarts water, add chicken broth or vegetable broth to the water
1 bay leaf
1 medium size green bell pepper finely chopped
1 medium sized malanga yellow, resembles that of the white potato and it is used similar, peel and quarter
1 medium- size yucca, peeled and cut into 2-inch rounds
1 large green plantain, peeled and cut into 2–inch rounds
1 large white sweet potato (boniato), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks (do not substitute sweet potato or yam).
1 tropical yam (Name), peeled and quartered (do not use American sweet potato or yam).
1 large very ripe plantain peeled and cut into 6 rounds.
1 cup peeled and seeded 2-inch chunks calabaza or butternut or Hubbard squash
2 large ears of corn husked and cut into 2–inch rounds.
In a large stockpot over medium to high heat, add the poultry or meat and water/broth, bay leaf, and bell pepper, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, 45 minutes, skim off any oil or scum.
Over low heat, add 1 jar 16oz Tonita’s Cuban Sauce Hot or Mild, to the pot, I prefer Hot in this stew, stir, and add the vegetables in 5 minute intervals in the order listed. Simmer, covered, another 45 minutes, then add the corn, and cook 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve hot.