Cuban Cusine, Minnesota Made

A few years ago my daughter, who was about 14 at the time, had to pick a country and make some of the traditional foods of that country for a school project. She decided on Cuba, I think mostly because no one else had thought of it. Since we don’t really know much about Cuba we looked up various websites to find our information and recipes.

We discovered that Cuban cuisine is the result of mixing Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisines, so it’s all very flavorful. Since it’s basically a tropical island, they use a lot of seafood and fruits in their recipes. It seems that pork and beef roasts are reserved for family get togethers and special occasions.

My daughter created the menu and cooked a whole meal, from the appetizer to the dessert. She did all of the work herself, I just stood by for advice. It was a lot of fun and turned out really good.

For an appetizer she made Empanadas with Picadillo Stuffing, minus the raisins. Cuban empanadas are typically filled with seasoned meats (usually ground beef or chicken), folded into dough, and deep-fried. Cubans also sometimes refer to empanadas as empanaditas. They can be made with cheese, guava, or a mixture of both, and are sometimes filled with fruit, such as apples, pears, and pineapples.

The main course was a coffee crusted roast, chicken (for the doubters), crushed potatoes, tangy green beans, and a salad. I can’t find the link for the roast but I will put the recipe for that at the end of this post. The other recipes are linked to their different websites, if you just click on the word you will find it.

Dessert is of course the reason for any meal, and this Mojito Cake was so fluffy and good! It’s become a quick and refreshing summer dessert for our household. We enjoyed a very delicious dinner, learned a little more about Cuba, and she got an A+ for her efforts. Can’t get better than that!

Coffee Crusted Beef Roast

1 Ribeye Beef Roast or a Top Round Roast 4-6 lbs.
1 Cup Cuban or Jamaican coffee beans
1 Tbsp. black pepper corns
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Coarsely ground salt for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and dry the roast. In a food processor, coarsely grind and mix all dry ingredients together. Lightly rub the roast with the olive oil. Roll and very firmly press the rub mixture into the beef roast on a cutting board. Be certain that the roast is evenly coated with the rub mixture.
In the pre-heated oven place the coated roast on a wire oven rack over a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until it is a done as you like your roast.
Place the roast on a carving board. Tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10 – 20 minutes. Resting the meat ensures that the juices stay in the meat. After the time has passed carve the roast into thin slices. Sprinkle with coarse salt as garnish.


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