As a person new to Miami, I am also pretty new to Cuban food. I’d never had it and I’d definitely never made any of it before I came here. Two popular things that I really like are Cuban sandwiches and Arroz Con Pollo.
Arroz Con Pollo is just as it is translated- Chicken with rice. Marinate a whole, cleaned chicken that you’ve cut into eight pieces in a rub of 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin, , 1/2 tsp ground white pepper, and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar. In a casserole dish, brown the chicken all at once in two tablespoons olive oil for two minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside and drain all but two tablespoons of fat. Add one small chopped onion, one diced red bell pepper, three minced cloves of garlic, and heat it all until soft. Then add a diced tomato into this mixture. Return the chicken to this and cook for two more minutes.
Add three cups of water, a cup of beer, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 tsp of annatto oil, and bring it all to a boil. Simmer it for thirty minutes. While the chicken is cooking, place 1/2 tsp of annatto seeds in small saucepan with 1/4 cup of the chicken cooking liquid. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain mixture back into the chicken.
Wash one pound of Valencia rice, and add it to the chicken mixture once you bring it to a boil. Add rice and reduce the heat and simmer for 20- 25 minutes. Right before you serve it, mix in some sliced red pimentos and a can of green peas.
See, you can make Cuban food for your family too!
-Whitney J. Manson