Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cuban Cuisine: Oxtail Soup- Rabo Encidido

Cuban Oxtail Stew recipe - Receta de Rabo Encendido Cubano

 "Rabo Encendido" (literally means Lit Tail) is more of a stew than a soup, at least the Cuban version, and there are as many versions as there are Cuban Chefs. I made this the other day and it actually tastes better the next day.  You can make it with or without the chocolate powder. It's delicous hearty stew to be eaten on cold days to warm you up.

4 pounds oxtail, cut in chunks

Flour for dredging meat

1/4 cup olive oil

Two onions, chopped

Two green peppers, chopped

4 cloves garlic, mashed with 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon unsweetened chocolate powder (for a slight mole taste)

One can (12 ounce) tomato sauce

One cup red wine

2 1/2 cups beef broth

1 cup dice potatoes

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

Dredge the meat with flour. In a large pan or Dutch oven, brown the meat on both sides in the oil, approximately five to six minutes. Remove meat. Sauté the onions and green pepper in the same pan. When the onions start to get translucent, add the mashed garlic and cook for one additional minute.

Add the tomato sauce, wine, beef broth and all spices. Add the potatoes, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer for two hours or until meat is tender on low heat, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add additional beef broth if needed.

Remove bay leaves, serve. This is delicious by itself or rice as an accompaniment.

Bueno Provecho !

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mayan Hot Chocolate

Mayan Hot Chocolate

In Mexican ancient civilizations, before the Spanish conquistadors imported chocolate to Spain and added sugar, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs drank the bitter cacao

("Ka-Kow") mixing it with wine, and adding spices: vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and chile.  Remember when Juliet Binoche adds chiles to her chocolate in the movie Chocolat ? Well, you don't have to be a movie star or an Aztec Emperor to make your own Mayan Hot Chocolate with this ancient recipe of chile-infused milk, cinnamon, nuts and vanilla. This is an excellent drink when the weather is cold or to treat yourself after a long days work, surely, it will warm you up and soothe your soul.


1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed (with gloves)

5 cups whole or lowfat, or nonfat milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 to 2 cinnamon sticks

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate or 3 tablets Mexican chocolate, cut into 1/4"pieces

2 tablespoons sugar or honey, or to taste

l tablespoon almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine

Whipped cream


In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat water to boiling; add chile pepper. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add chile-infused* water, a little at a time, tasting to make sure the flavor isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk. Serve in small cups and offer ground almonds, hazelnuts and sesame seeds and whipped cream.

Serves 4-6

*Chile can be infused in Milk instead of water

Enjoy !

To Learn More Have a Peak at this Blog on Ancient Civilizations and  History of Chocolate

This article was written by Sabrina Rongstad-Bravo

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Monday, 4 November 2013

Pumpkin Spice Blend- Add Some Spice to Your Life !

Pumpkin Spice Blend is easy to make and it's nice to have a jar on hand during the Fall and holiday season. You can add it to your Pumpkin Flans, Pumpkin Pies, Pumpkin Enchiladas, Pumpkin Pancakes, and Pumpkin Stews. You can also use it to marinate on Meats and even hot chocolate for a nice warm spicey note. It's nice if you can have these spices already on hand. I try to buy them in bulk at the Indian and Persian stores in Los Angeles. Then, I put them in nice jars ( mayonaisse jars or jelly jars) that I have collected and store them for when I need it. I put in my Pumpkin Flan which I will be writing about soon and in my Hot Chocolate.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe:
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ginger
2 Teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Clove

Multiply the amount of Spices depending how much quantity you would like, put in a nice jar and store it in a cool place. Use your imagination, enjoy on cakes, toasts, meat, for a Latin Twist just add a bit of Chile Pepper, Cayenne or Jalapenos.

More in Sabrina's Latin Kitchen, coming soon The History of Spices series.