I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cuban Inspired Beef Stew

I have been on a Cuban food tear lately. This is not ordinary beef stew. I based it on a recipe from Hemingway's boat captain Gregorio Fuentes. Hemingway was a real man's man and did all sorts of outdoors stuff. He camped, fished and hunted all the time. He also enjoyed good food, and wrote about food often. He had his characters eating all sorts of things. There is a book called The Hemingway Cookbook.
Someone actually went through all of Hemingway's books and went to the original restaraunts if possible to get recipes. Just without the Hemingway interest, this book is an excellent cookbook. Towards the end of his life Hemingway had a boat called Pilar. Remember the old woman from For Whom the Bell Tolls? At any rate his captain also cooked quite a bit and was an excellent chef. One of his best recipes is this beef stew. I adapted the recipe just a little to make it work in the dutch oven. I make it when I go camping.

My recipe makes enough for 4 hungry men and cooks well in a 12 inch dutch oven. You can also make it in a covered caserole dish in the oven. One alteration is the use of bacon grease and bacon. I also added a chipotle pepper.

Gregorio Fuentes Beef Stew

4 strips bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
2 cans pimentos with juice
1 cup sherry or other wine you have on hand
1 Chipotle pepper
1 T crushed dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 pound stew meat
2 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

Get some coals going and heat a dutch oven from the bottom. Fry the 4 strips of bacon, leaving the grease behind. Let the bacon cool and then crumble. Saute the onions and garlic in the bacon grease. Next add the pimentos and wine and cook until it reduces a bit, stirring occasionally. Next add the beef, spices, tomato sauce and tomatoes. The beef goes in raw. Add the crumbled up bacon as well. Cover the dutch oven and load down the top with coals. Let it cook for about 1 1/2 hours until the meat is soft. Taste the sauce and add a little salt if needed. Finally add the potato chunks. Cover again and cook an additional 1/2 hour or until the potatoes are soft. Serve over rice.

If you are making this in the oven, just preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then add the potatoes and bake 1/2 hour more.

Real Mexican Red Rice

1 cup short grain or medium grain rice
2 cups water
1 1/2 t onion powder
1 1/2 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1/8 to 1/4 cup tomato sauce, just enough to turn the water pinkish red

Put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and heat it up. Add the rice and cook it for a little while to 'parboil' it. Some of the kernels will puff up like popcorn.
Dump everything together into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes or until rice is soft. Remove from heat and let sit 5 to 10 minutes.