Hispanic Kitchen

Spice It Up!

Ajiaco Cubano

Recipe courtesy of Pascual Perez and chef Sonia Martinez, a member of Hispanic Kitchen

Servings: 20 - see note

Note: This dish is very hearty, so it should be eaten with nothing else except bread and a light fruit dessert.
This recipe will feed 20, but you can cut in half and it can be frozen in batches.

10 quarts water
1 lb beef jerky (tasajo)
2 lbs flank steak, cubed
2 lbs pork, cubed
2 lbs pork spare ribs, separated (optional)
1 3-lb. hen, cut up
4 ears corn, cut in fourths
2 lbs malanga (a yellow taro) peeled, cut in chunks
4 green plantains (soaked in lime juice) peeled, cut in chunks
2 lbs yuca (frozen or fresh) peeled, cut in chunks
2 lbs Cuban boniato (sweet potato, not yam) peeled, cut in chunks
2 lbs pumpkin, peeled, cut in chunks
1 lb ñame (a white taro) peeled, cut in chunks
1 lb guagui (also known as malanga) peeled, cut in chunks
4 ripe plantains, peeled, cut in chunks
4 limes for soaking green plantains
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sofrito (see recipe below)

The day before:
Cut the beef jerky in large pieces and soak in water to cover. Soak overnight. Next day, drain and place in a very large and deep stockpot. Add the 10 quarts of water and the cut up hen. Boil for one hour. Add the flank steak and pork pieces. Add the spare ribs. Boil for one more hours. Remove fat and froth that will rise to top.

While meats are cooking, make the "sofrito," peel and cut the "viandas" (vegetables). When meats are tender, add the viandas, except ripe plantains and pumpkin. Cook about one more hour.

Add the sofrito and cook another 20-30 minutes. Add the ripe plantains and pumpkin and cook 30 more minutes or until pumpkin and plantains are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

If broth is too thin, thicken by mashing some of the viandas in a little broth and adding it back to the pot. Serve in a large soup tureen and give each guest a large, flat-rimmed soup bowl.

You can place lime slices in little dishes along the table. The ajiaco tastes really good with freshly squeezed lime juice, but let each guest decide if they would like to add their own.


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