Monday, September 28, 2009

A Spanish Feast for 4

In an earlier Tablescape Thursday post, I shared with you my dilemma of serving a large group of people...12 to be exact. One of my dilemmas was what to serve...Well apparently many of you liked the menu and wanted the recipes I used...or ones that I would use to complete the meal. So here it is... A Spanish/Cuban Feast... downsized for 4. I apologize for the lack of precise measurements, but I do not measure when cooking...unless you count the amount in my hand or the amount that I see coming out of the shaker... When cooking for a large group, I like to use a few shortcuts with already prepared canned beans and packaged rice. (This photo is actually Arroz con Pollo, but it looks similar to Pollo en Cacerola - just don't use the red pimientos on top of the chicken.)

Chicken Cacerola (Pollo en Cacerola)
- adapted from The Gasparilla Cookbook and Clarita's Cocina, two of my favorite "Tampa" cookbooks, and from my childhood memories.
serves 4

4 chicken quarters (2 thigh/leg, 2 breast/wing...or whatever combo you like)
4 Tbsp butter
oregano (about a tsp)
salt (lightly sprinkle over chicken...just a little)
granulated garlic (lightly sprinkle over chicken...just a little)
2 Tbsp butter (or Olive Oil)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 medium Spanish onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped smoked ham
3 chicken livers, chopped (I omit)
2 potatoes, cut into balls with a melon ball scoop ( or cut into 1" cubes)
1/4 cup dry white wine (or more, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
Petit Pois (little green peas - 1/2 of the smallest can, just toss on top of the chicken)
Parsley (optional)

Wash the chicken and pat dry. Season with oregano, salt, and granulated garlic. Bake the chicken in 4 Tbsp of butter for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, or until chicken is browned. When chicken is taken from the oven, strain the juices through a mesh strainer and set aside. In a medium saucepan, sweat the onion and minced garlic in 2 Tbsp butter (or Olive Oil), until soft and almost translucent. Add the ham (and chicken livers). Add strained chicken juices. Cook until the onion begins to brown. Remove from stove. Place chicken into a clay casserole (or heavy baking dish). Add sauce, potatoes, 1/4 cup wine. salt and pepper. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Garnish with peas and chopped parsley (if desired).

*You can use boneless chicken for this recipe...or remove bones from the breasts and thighs after the first baking. Keeping some of the skin on the chicken will keep it moist, but remove the fat.
**I do not measure most of my recipes...but I have tried to guess on amounts. Always, if you have a question about amounts, use a lesser amount, then add to taste.

To round out this menu:
Black Beans (Cuban Style) I often "cheat" and use El Ebro brand Black Beans in a can (2-3). They are seasoned "Cuban Style". If you do not have Cuban Food in your markets, you can order from
or you can make them from "scratch":

1 lb. black beans (thoroughly washed and cooked overnight in 1 gallon water)
1 onion, chopped
1-2 green peppers, chopped
1 chopped tomato
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt
1 oz white bacon
1/2 cup vinegar
Fry slightly the onion, green pepper, garlic and tomato in olive oil. Add to the pot of beans (and whatever water is left after soaking). Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT VINEGAR to the pot and let simmer until the beans are soft and tender and the liquid is of thick consistency. Add the vinegar a few minutes before serving the beans.
(This recipe is from Valencia Gardens...and my mom. VG just closed its doors after82 years of serving Tampa Bay.)

Yellow Rice (I use packaged rice from Vigo)
Chopped Onions (to put on top of the beans, if desired)

1905 Salad
(recipe from the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City...the Latin area of Tampa, FL)
Serves 4

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 ripe tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup thin strips of Swiss cheese
1/2 cup thin strips of ham (2 ounces)
1/4 cup pitted green Spanish olives
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons grated pecorino Romano cheese

In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, ham and olives.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, continually beating to form an emulsion. Stir in the vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss well. Add the pecorino, toss and serve.

Crusty bread with butter (Cuban bread is best!)


Flan de Leche is my favorite dessert with this meal. There are many available recipes in cookbooks and online. Flan is easy to prepare in advance. All you have to do is unmold it before serving. You can make this in individual custard cups or in a 9" cake pan...and simply slice to serve.

For a VERY simple dessert - Guava Shells (you can often find them in the ethnic section of your grocery store) and Cream Cheese. Just put 2 guava shells in a sherbet/dessert glass and place a slab of cream cheese on top (about 1/2 inch thick). You can also serve Saltine crackers with this.

To drink...My son (a sommelier - "certified wine guy") suggests Garnacha de Fuego, an inexpensive, yet wonderful "old vine" Spanish wine.



niartist said...

Mmmm, this is just delicious sounding Jane. Thanks for sharing the recipes. We make a dish that is not Cuban, but has some of the same ingredients, (i.e., black beans) and now I'm going to have to order some of those that you use! :) Thanks for stopping by the blog and checking out the new Living Room set up. Seems like a waste of time, seeing as how Christmas will be up in no time - but alas, I couldn't resist! :) Oooo, and yes - dog nails and leather are not a good combo. We have to keep D and Abby (our Boston Terrier and Golden Retriever) out of that room or they go to town. ;)

Our Porch in Hillsborough said...

Jane - Your menu looks delicious - we're going to have the salad tonight! Thanks

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

This all sounds so delicious! My husband would love it!

We've eaten at Columbia Restaurant in St. Aug several times, and once in the one at Celebration.


Bama Belle said...

Oh I am drooling over these! Thank you for sharing, The Prince is much better Thank you!