Salvadorian-Style Red Bean & Short Rib Stew with Salsa Cruda

This is an adapted version of the Salvadorian classic, made with ingredients more readily available to American cooks. The stew is rich and saucy, and the salsa cruda (“raw sauce”) is fresh and a perfect flavor compliment.

In the original version, several hard-to-find vegetables are called for, as well as much less meat. I also add onion and garlic when cooking the chicken. Chayote is a fruit that tastes like a cross between a papaya, avocado, and squash; it’s available in my grocery store, but if you can’t find it, leave it out or substitute yellow crookneck squash.

I like to serve this stew over white rice, with one short rib per person. Give everyone a small bowl of salsa cruda for topping, and you’re all set. ¡Muy delicioso!

Red Bean Stew Closeup

Salvadorian-Style

  • 2 pounds short ribs
  • 3 cans undrained red beans
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 6 whole peeled garlic cloves
  •  3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 light or dark green chayote (1 pound), pitted, peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice (peel skin with a vegetable peeler, taking off just the top layer of skin)
  • 1/2 medium green cabbage, cut into 1-inch strips
  • salt to taste

for the salsa cruda:

  • 1 pound plum (Roma) tomatoes (4-6 count), seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large cooking pot; simmer 1 hour covered.

When ribs are tender, remove them along with the garlic cloves. In a fry pan, heat oil over medium heat and brown garlic and ribs on all sides (keep pot of beans simmering while you do this).

While the ribs brown, add parsley, cilantro, plantains, chayote, and salt (if needed) to beans; stir. Add ribs and garlic back to pot. Simmer 20 more minutes or until vegetables are getting tender, then add cabbage and cook another 10-15 minutes until all vegetables are done.

Make the salsa while the pot finishes cooking: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Honey Soy Glazed Skillet Chicken

Mmmm…honey glazed, soy-marinated chicken.

Sweet, savory, tender chicken pieces result from this 2-step cooking method…by starting on the stove, you cut way back on oven time. Which means you cut back on drying out time, something chicken loves to do in the oven.

A honey glaze that thickens and browns in the oven finishes off the deliciousness. Even my mom was impressed (Awesome.).

Marinate up to 4 hours, but try not to do it less than 2. The chicken will really absorb these flavors. San-J’s gluten free tamari sauce is amazing (they make soy sauce too). Tamari or soy sauce will work; tamari is richer and a little thicker, great for this dish.

I used a 12-inch pan and the chicken barely fit. You might need to sear it off in batches, and transfer to a baking dish (stick it in the oven to heat it up first!). No problem – that will work just fine. Or of course you could just make a half batch.

Make sure you spoon the cooking liquid over the chicken regularly – we want that surface to caramelize!

A meat thermometer in one of the big pieces will ensure everything’s cooked through (the smaller pieces will be fall-off-the-bone tender).

If it had been up to me, I’d have used all dark meat, but sometimes you have to please the masses.

Chicken aside – you’ll be spooning the resulting sauce over everything else on your plate too.

Honey Soy Skillet Chicken 2

Honey Soy Glazed Skillet Chicken

  • 5 pounds mixed bone-in chicken pieces
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or canola oil)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • fresh ground pepper

for the marinade:

  • 1 bottle (10 ounces) gluten free tamari sauce or soy sauce
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine. In a shallow pan large enough to hold the chicken (9×13″), pour marinade over chicken; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-4 hours, turning chicken once. When marinating time is done, remove chicken and scrape off most of the garlic and cilantro.

Preheat your oven to 375°F

Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add butter, and slowly add the chicken, largest pieces first. Add some freshly ground pepper. As the chicken cooks, the pieces will shrink some, allowing you to add more pieces. Once all the chicken is in the pan, cook 15 minutes, turning chicken once. Use a meat thermometer to ensure largest piece is at least 80°F; when temperature is reached, pour honey over the chicken and place in oven.

Spoon liquid over chicken every 10 minutes. Cook about 30 minutes, or until chicken registers 165°F in thickest part. If desired, strain off fat and serve cooking liquid with chicken. Enjoy!


Cuban-Style Enchiladas

I have this amazing cookbook called Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America.

Contained in its nearly 900 pages is the life’s work of chef and restaurateur Maricel Presilla, the result of a 30 years long trip that took her to the kitchens of families all over Latin America. I have learned so much from these recipes, and occasionally make one my own. The book got the James Beard Award, for heaven’s sake.

This recipe is my take on a Cuban enchilado recipe in Gran Cocina Latina originally meant for seafood. Certainly this would be great with shrimp or fish – I used chicken in this example. The sauce is very much like making a Spanish sofrito but I use a few shortcuts and omit or add some ingredients. The seafood and sauce is eaten over rice but I thought it would make great enchiladas!

It is mildly spicy, very garlicky and deliciously savory. This sauce over steamed mussels would be absolutely divine.

But today, let’s make enchiladas!

By the way, you could certainly take the extra step of pureeing the sauce with a stick blender until smooth so it looks more like enchilada sauce.

Cuban Style Enchiladas (sauce pureed)

 

Cuban-Style Enchiladas

Adapted from “Cuban-Style Shrimp in Enchilado Sauce”, Gran Cocina Latina cookbook

  • 1 pound chicken, cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/4 lime

 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes and chiles, mild or original
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch

 

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded colby or Mexican 4-cheese blend
  • fresh cilantro and sour cream, for garnish
  • 8-10 corn tortillas

In a zip-top bag, combine the chicken, 4 chopped garlic cloves, salt, and lime. Seal, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (I allowed 2 hours).

When the chicken is ready, take it out and clean it so no garlic is left. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until soft.

Add the rest of ingredients except cornstarch and add a little salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Measure cornstarch out one teaspoon at a time, adding slowly and whisking to combine.

Put chicken in the sauce mixture, and spoon more over the tops to cover. Cover pan and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning once.

Preheat your broiler on high.

Remove chicken to a plate and shred with 2 forks (if it doesn’t shred easily, it isn’t ready). Add a few tablespoons of the sauce to the shredded chicken and toss. Set aside.

Heat the stack of tortillas wrapped in a damp paper towel in the microwave until warm, 15-30 seconds.

One at a time, put about 1/4 cup chicken down the center of the tortilla; roll up and place seam-side down in a shallow baking dish. Repeat until all the filling is gone, pushing enchiladas snug up against each other as you go.

(Puree the sauce now, if desired.)

Now pour the pan’s contents over the enchiladas; top with shredded cheese.

Broil 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with fresh cilantro, sour cream, and maybe some Cholula hot sauce! Enjoy!

Cuban Style Enchiladas