My tastes are highly influenced by the Cuban heritage of Tampa Bay. If you are ever in the Tampa area, I would like to recommend a couple of my favorite restaurants that are must-trys. Then, I will share one of my favorite Cuban recipes to make at home…Black Beans With Chicken And Yellow Rice.
The first is La Teresita located at 3246 Columbus Drive in the heart of Tampa. This place is the real deal; right down to the smartly-dressed, Cuban waiters who would love nothing better than for you to order in Spanish. It is also very reasonably priced. Their Puerco Asado (roast pork) is especially good.
In addition to traditional Cuban entrees, Tampa Bay folk are extremely proud of the Cuban sandwich, which is served on a delectable form of bread that can not even be purchased north of Tampa. Cuban bread is typically baked in yard-long loaves that are surprisingly pliable. It is not abnormal for the bag boy to fold up your bread to stuff into a bag at the grocery store. Now, if it’s a Cuban sandwich you want, there is one place that is the undisputed king of the Cuban sandwich: Brocato’s. This place has been serving up sandwiches since 1948. While they have probably expanded a number of times since opening, expect a crowded room of slightly confused customers to await you. Somehow, you always get your order, but the place is an experience in itself. However, the lines of locals who flow through this shop to pick up daily lunch orders attests to the popularity of this Tampa institution.
Yes, we love all forms of Cuban food. But, what if you don’t have access to a Cuban restaurant in your neighborhood? Here is one of our favorite Cuban-inspired family meals. Typically, chicken and yellow rice is not served with a side of salsa, but we think that homemade salsa really takes this recipe over the top.
Black Beans With Chicken And Yellow Rice
4 garlic cloves
1 package Vigo Yellow Rice (or use 2 cups white rice with one teaspoon of Bijol seasoning)
1 can black beans
1/2 c. water
1/4 red bell pepper (finely diced)
1/4 t. cumin
1/2 t. oregano
1 t. salt
Boil the chicken breasts, add water to just cover the meat, salt, pepper and 3 garlic cloves. When the meat is tender, remove it from the broth and allow it to cool. Preserve the broth.
Add black beans and the remaining ingredients (except for rice) to a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil for 3 minutes and then reduce to a simmer.
Shred the chicken breasts. Discard the skin and any bones or cartilage.
Bring remaining broth to a boil. Add an additional cup of water if the level is too low. Add the yellow rice and shredded chicken to the boiling broth. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Periodically, fluff the rice with a fork without stirring. Cook until the rice is done. (If the rice seems too watery, remove the lid and allow it to cook uncovered until the excess liquid evaporates. Do not leave unattended at this point.)
This recipe is excellent served with Zesty Homemade Salsa – https://www.thefabjourney.com/zesty-homemade-easy-salsa-recipe/