Grow Your Own #2: Cuban Feast

After being inspired by the fantastic meal I had last week at the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, we proceeded to take recipes from here and there and ended up with one of the best-tasting home-cooked meals we’ve ever made! Just like having a restaurant in your own house, but with a lot less hassle. 😉


While Adobo Pork is more of a Pinoy dish than a Cuban one, it paired wonderfully with the yellow rice, black beans, and maduros. This combo of flavors is going in the “repeats” file.

And I’m also submitting this as part of the Grow Your Own #2 foodie event, hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes. Both the peppers (I used fajita bell, which are just a slightly hotter variation of sweet bell) and the tomatoes (Better Boys and Romas) were grown on my back deck.

Without further ado, here’s the recipes:

Traditional Adobo (Pork in Vinegar and Soy Sauce)
courtesy Recipezaar

1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 c. vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bay leaf
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. water
2 tbsp. cooking oil

Combine all ingredients except cooking oil in a pot and let stand for 30 minutes. Simmer covered for 1 hour or until meat is tender (It took mine almost twice that amount of time to get it really tender). Drain and reserve the sauce. Heat cooking oil in a skillet. Brown meat on all sides. Transfer to serving dish. Pour off all remaining oil from skillet. Add reserved sauce and cook for a minute or two scraping all browned bits sticking to pan. Pour sauce over meat and serve.

Arroz Amarillo (Spanish Yellow Rice)
from The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
1 medium-size green pepper, cut in strips
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tomatoes, seeded, peeled, and chopped
2 c. long-grain rice, uncooked (I used medium-grain instead)
1/2 tsp. saffron or yellow food coloring
2 tsp. salt
4 c. chicken broth
Green peas (cooked), pimento or roasted red pepper strips, and parsley for garnish (didn’t use these)

In casserole or ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil. Saute onion, green pepper, garlic, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Add rice, saffron, salt, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook for 18 minutes, either on top of stove (medium-low) or in oven (400 degrees). Garnish with peas, pimentos and parsley. This is a very good side dish for fish, chicken or meat. Serves 2 as main dish.

Frijoles Negros (Cuban Black Beans)
courtesy Recipezaar

2 (10 oz) cans black beans, drained (with liquid set aside)
1 medium onion
1 green peper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Fry the onion and pepper in a little oil. Add the garlic and saute a little. Introduce a little of the bean liquid until all previous ingredients are soft. Add the beans with the remaining liquid. Add spices and simmer about 30 minutes (mine were done after 20). Add the vinegar just before serving.


Maduros (ripe plantains) are simple to make. Go to your local Mexican grocery (some mainstream supermarkets will carry them too) and look for plantains that are black or almost black. This means they are ripe. Figure 1 whole plantain for each person. Peel, and then cut on the bias about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick. Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in frying pan until hot, and then fry plantains in batches, careful not to crowd the pan. Look for the edges to brown, and flip them over until done. When they are finished, they will be dark brown and caramelized (you can tell this because you will smell a sweet smell instead of a starchy smell when they are caramelized). Take them out and put them onto a plate with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Salt them while they are hot, and enjoy.

4 thoughts on “Grow Your Own #2: Cuban Feast

  1. Andrea

    Wow, this looks great! I love adobo, and you are right, it would pair very nicely with the Cuban beans and rice. Thanks for a great entry for Grow Your Own!

  2. Katiez

    I love it all – and can make it all…except the plantains… I;ve never had them and I don’t think that will change living where I do 😉
    Great photo – drooling on keyboard

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