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Hispanic Outlook

Fall Memories From A Cuban Kitchen


Let’s take a trip back in time to revive,and why not try these Cuban potagesthisseason. Split pea, lentil and garbanzo are our three favoritesto warm us up. Follow the recipe directions and voilà!

The nip in the air that comes with fall in upstate NY sparks a shift in my inner foodie, and I start to crave the warm and hardy dish called “potaje.” If you look up the translation, you’ll likely find the word “soup,”  which hardly seems appropriate for the substantial, all-in-one meals I learned from my mom.  She was a college professor who worked full time to support her family, and did not have the luxury of hours in the kitchen. The pressure cooker was a constant companion.

 

If I’m honest, the pressure cookers of old were kind of scary - even though I used them for years, I was intimidated every time by that steaming, spouting, can blow at any time contraption on my stovetop.  Enter the InstaPot! If you don’t have one yet, and you’re a busy professional who values healthful eating but has no time to spare, meet your new best friend.

 

I digress.  Back to the warm and hardy potaje - I have three favorites to share with you. The instructions assume an InstaPot but you can use a regular pressure cooker or none at all, just note the cooking times will be much longer.

 

SPLIT PEA

1 lb. split peas,

soaked overnight in water

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1c celery, chopped

1c carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T salt

6c vegetable broth

1 ham steak with bone, chopped (optional)

Olive oil

 

LENTIL

1 lb. lentils, rinsed

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1c celery, chopped

1c carrot, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T salt

1 bay leaf

6c vegetable broth

1 ham steak with bone, chopped (optional)

Olive oil

 

GARBANZO

1 lb. garbanzo beans and 1 T salt,

soaked overnight in water

1 large bell pepper, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 medium potatoes, cut up

1/2 cabbage, sliced

6c vegetable broth

1 ham steak with bone, chopped (optional)

Olive oil

 

Directions:

If you’re using ham steak, remove (but save!) the bone and chop the rest.

 

When making garbanzos, pressure cook alone with vegetable broth (and ham bone) on high for 20 min;  quick-release steam;  sauté vegetables (minus cabbage) and add to garbanzos and broth; stir in chopped ham.  Lay cabbage slices on top.  Cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes (no pressure) until potatoes and cabbage are soft.

 

For split pea or lentils, use the sauté setting to sauté the vegetables and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add remaining ingredients (including ham bone) and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.  Let pressure release naturally.

 

Buen Provecho!

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