Cuban Black Bean Shakshuka

Cuban inspired version of this one-skillet dish with black beans and sofrito. Shakshuka is a savory Israeli breakfast of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce with peppers and onions seasoned with cumin and paprika. Shakshuka is traditionally served with bread or pita on the side and some fresh parsley sprinkled on top. Cuban black bean shakshuka with goat cheese and cilantro is my take on the traditional dish.

The shakshuka black bean sauce came together easily in the skillet with red and green bell peppers, cumin, ground oregano, and plenty of spicy garlic. The aromas of sofrito are a classic Cuban cooking scent and the holy grail for most of our recipes. The scent quickly filled my small apartment and warmed up the cold winter morning.

I added extra tomato sauce to my black beans and vegetable stock to make them saucier than normal. Once the sauce simmered for 15 minutes I made little nests for the eggs and cracked them into the bubbling black beans before baking in a hot oven for 10 minutes. I topped my Cuban black bean shakshuka with globs of goat cheese and fresh cilantro with warm thick-sliced toast on the side. This black bean shakshuka is a great spin on the classic Mediterranean breakfast and perfect for brunch and entertaining.

Cuban Black Bean Shakshuka

  • 1 can low-sodium black beans
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper julienne
  • 1/2 green bell pepper julienne
  • 1 Spanish onion julienne
  • 3 cloves of garlic julienne
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt (easy on the salt since the Goya packet has sodium) and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
  • 1 packet Sazon Goya Sin Achiote (without Annatto)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4-5 eggs
  • Goat cheese crumbles for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Serve with warm, toasted Cuban bread, lime, and sliced avocado or sliced banana on the side.

Preheat your oven to 400F. Dice or julienne your onions, both bell peppers, and garlic for the sofrito. Add olive oil to a hot cast-iron skillet and sautee until translucent. Add the garlic. Next add the tomato sauce and let simmer and bubble for a few minutes on low to medium heat. Add the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and sazon goya seasoning packet. Stir well and add the can of undrained black beans. Stir and add a half cup of vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water. Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.

Make little indentations in the sauce to crack the eggs into. Once you have cracked the eggs into the black bean sauce bake the Cuban black bean shakshuka in the oven until the eggs are set to your liking, about 7 to 10 minutes. I like my eggs to be on the runny side so I put then in the oven for 8 minutes. Enjoy this black bean shakshuka with warm toasty Cuban bread and sliced avocado or even some banana. This one-skillet dish can be made easily for brunch or with left over black beans. Enjoy!

 

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Meyer lemon ricotta pancakes are fluffy and bright, velvety and custard-like. These light pancakes are much more moist and softer than your typical diner varietal. The ricotta cheese makes these pancakes over-the-top creamy and the Meyer lemon lightens up the rich ricotta.

I worked at a Manhattan restaurant with the most ludicrously delicious lemon ricotta pancakes with Greek yogurt whipped cream and fresh berries. These pancakes were seriously to die for – hands down the best I’ve ever had. I lament I never got the recipe for those delicious pancakes which inspired this attempt at breakfast glory. I didn’t make the Greek yogurt whipped cream because I enjoy these simply with maple syrup, but the tangy yogurt whip really pairs wonderfully with the sweet Meyer lemon ricotta pancakes.

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes 

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp Meyer lemon juice
  • Zest of one Meyer lemon

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. In a separate bowl mix the ricotta and eggs adding one at a time, ghee, Meyer lemon juice, Meyer lemon zest, and milk. Mix in the dry ingredients until smooth. Do not over mix.

Heat a pan over medium high heat with enough melted butter or ghee to coat the hot surface. Flip the pancakes when little bubbles appear a cross the top. Cook to a golden brown. Serve with warm maple syrup, fresh berries, and Greek yogurt whipped cream, if desired. Makes 12-14 three-inch pancakes.

Guava Almond Oat Bars

blue-plate-special

Guava almond oat bars are crunchy, nutty, gooey, and perfectly sweetened with tart guava. Guava is a tropical fruit featured in Cuban cuisine from batidos (shakes), pastelitos, or served simply sliced on Cuban crackers slathered with thick cream cheese. I love eating guava marmalade drizzled over cottage cheese or swirled into plain oatmeal. My abuelos always had Cuban crackers, a bar of guava paste, and Philadelphia cream cheese in the kitchen ready for a sweetly sinful Sunday snack.

guava-bars yummy-piece

I seem to always have an abundance of Quaker Oats in my apartment. I had been religiously eating them for breakfast daily, but I’m over oatmeal for the time being, so I have to find other uses for these wholesome grains. I recently tried a local brand, Mama’s Guava Bars, whose rich, soft guava bars are made with shortbread crusts. These guava bars are seriously delicious, but I wanted something with a crunchier, nuttier, and thicker crust.

arialfreshly-grated-nutmeg

Guava almond oat bars are warmly scented with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg complimented by a tart gooey guava center. These guava almond oat bars are the perfect treat for an afternoon snack paired with a steaming cup of café con leche and a good read.

chopped-guava guava-almond-oat-bar

Guava Almond Oat Bars:

Old-Fashioned Oat Crust:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped almonds (4 ounces)
1 ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg; beaten at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

Guava Filling:
1 jar Conchita Brand Guava Marmelade
2 shells or 1/3 cup diced guava shells

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish and line with parchment paper. Mix around 11 ounces of the guava marmalade with the diced guava shells and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk. Pulse the almonds in a food processor to coarsely chop unless you bought pre-chopped almonds from the grocery store.

mix-ingredientsoats-and-almondspour-in-melted-butter

Stir in the old-fashioned oats and chopped almonds. Stir in the melted butter and add the beaten room temperature egg. Lastly, add in the vanilla and your crust is complete!

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Press a little more than half of the crust into the bottom of the parchment lined baking dish. Now top the bottom layer with the guava marmalade mixture. Sprinkle the remaining crust as evenly as possible on top of the guava almond oat bars and press to form a rough top crust. Bake the guava almond oat bars for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

spread-guava-on-toppop-in-the-ovenupclose-right-side

Allow the guava almond oat bars to cool for at least 1 hour- 2 or more hours is ideal so they set well. You can chill the guava almond oat bars in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.