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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fricase de salpicon cubano -- Cuban Meatballs in Creole Sauce

I love good Cuban food.  When I lived in Miami, I tried lots of different dishes and tried to re-create them at home.  One of my favorite take-out dishes was chicken fricassee (fricase de pollo cubano).  Fricase de pollo was chicken braised in a delicious creole sauce, a tomato-based sauce with tomato sauce, green peppers, onions, and plenty of garlic!  This yummy dish included a variety of veggies like cubed potatoes, carrots, green olives, capers, and raisins fort the perfect touch of sweetness.  After trying so many different dishes and learning to cook them myself, I even used some of those delicious Cuban flavors--the tomato, the cumin, the pork, the capers, the oregano, and lots and lots of garlic-- to create my own flair.  This dish is a new spin on the traditional Cuban fricase creole sauce combined with my take on Cuban meatloaf, salpicon, but turned into meatballs.  I give you fricase de salpicón!  You'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't love this one.  It's an easy, home-run-of-a-dish!  Enjoy!

Fricase de salpicon cubano

1 onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves garlic - sauce
1/4c raisins
1/8 cup green olives
1 TB capers (optional)
tomato sauce - ~ -1-1/2 cups
3 cubitos maggi
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp paprika
1 or 2 bay leaves, depending on size
~1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp adobo
2 TB naranja agria or bitter orange* (or mix orange and lime juice)
salt to taste
pepper generously
 frozen peas

*found on international aisle of supermarket or in Latin market.  I recommend Badia or Goya brand.


1.5 lbs ground turkey
1/2c oatmeal (processed a bit in spice grinder until it resembles bread crumbs)
1 egg
6 slices crisp bacon, crumbled (reserve bacon fat)
3 TB tomato sauce
1 heaping tsp dried onion (or do the work and chop 1/4 onion)
3 cloves garlic
Goya adobo to taste (the blue capped bottle)
1/2 tsp bijol
1/2 tsp paprika
salt (about 1 TB)
generous amount of pepper


1. Form flat meatballs or mini meat loaves using the salpicon ingredients.  Be sure not to overwork the meat mixture, or you'll get touch mini meat loaves.

2. In bacon fat over medium heat, brown meat on all sides until almost cooked

3. Remove from pan and set aside

4. Sautee onions and peppers bacon fat until translucent

5. Add in garlic until fragrant

6. Cook sauce over medium heat until thickened, 10 mins or so.

7. Add in meat and frozen peas cook until meat is done and peas are thawed.  Do not overcook peas.  They should still be firm and vibrant in color.

8. Serve with white rice and, if you fancy, twice-fried green plantains or fried ripe plantains.

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