Many traditional Cuban dishes require a few hours of cooking. But after a weekend out of town, I needed a quick dish to start off my Cuban month of cooking tonight. I found this black beans and rice dish from tasteofcuba.com. The recipe starts with canned black beans, and adds chorizo (sausage) and mango – making a tasty and tropical main dish out of what is typically a nondescript side dish. I also added a bit of cilantro for garnish.
As a vegetable side dish, I also made chayote salad. Chayote is popular vegetable in tropical climates, in the squash family. It can be found in most large grocery stores in the produce section. In Guatemala, it is called guisquil and we ate it pretty regularly in my semester abroad, though I don’t remember cooking with it before tonight. The vegetable (technically a fruit) can be eaten raw or cooked, but in this salad it is cooked and tossed with a simple seasoned oil, then served over lettuce. Chayote tastes very much like squash, but don’t be fooled by its rather bland appearance and taste – it is high in both folic acid and Vitamin C!
Quarter the chayote squash and core, like a pear (leaving skin on). Boil for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Chop into rough pieces. Mix mustard, salt, pepper and oil together into a dressing and toss with chayote. Let stand in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Just before serving, toss with vinegar. Serve over lettuce.