Cuban Creole Stew


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.

Creole Okra – Jambalaya with Rice

This tasty Creole dish is my favorite and my Mother’s specialty it has many variations depending on the cook. My mother and Auntie Loretta did not use fish (pescado,) but I do. I like red snapper it gives it a delicious flavor.

½ pound fresh okra, washed, trimmed, and cut into ½ inch slices or you may use frozen cut okra
10 oz of frozen or fresh corn husked
4 quartered red vine tomatoes, you may use a specialty canned chopped tomato
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pound large prawns, shelled and deveined
1 pound small cooked shrimp
4-5 medium-sized fish fillets, snapper, halibut, or perch
1 package of turkey sausage sliced in rounds, some may use pork, but I don’t.
Chunks of cut skinless chicken any part is delicious if you desire
1 bay leaf
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped

If using fresh okra, soak about 30 minutes in cold water with the lemon juice to remove any gumminess or stir fry in 3 -4 tablespoons of olive oil and drain.
In a large saucepan, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant, then co
ok, stirring the sausage, chicken, and bell pepper over low heat until the chicken is brown and pepper tender.

Remove the chicken and sausage; add the drained okra, stirring well. After about 5-8 minutes, add the corn, stirring continuously. Pour in 1 jar of 16oz Tonita’s Cuban Sauce (Hot or Mild), I prefer Hot. Add tomatoes, sausage, chicken and on low heat let simmer for 10 minutes. Now you can start adding the seafood, fish, prawns, and shrimp, all in 3 minute intervals stirring in between. Let simmer again on medium-low heat about 10 minutes. If you need to add some liquid put ½ cup of water or broth. Cook yellow or white rice and serve Okra dish on top of rice.