Ajiaco Moderno

Modern Meat and Vegetable Stew

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6 to 8

    generously

Appears in

There are almost as many variations on ajiaco as there are Cuban cooks. The traditional base of this hearty soup or stew is root vegetables, cooked with whatever meat is available. This version includes pork and chicken, the two meats that are most available in modern Cuba. Serve the ajiaco with warm, crusty Pan Cubano (Cuban Bread).

Ingredients

For the Broth

  • ½ pound dry-cured smoked Spanish chorizo, or ½ pound fresh Mexican-style chorizo
  • 1 pound pork loin or shoulder
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups Caldo de Res (Beef Broth)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves

For the Sofrito

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 rounded tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes in rich juice or puree

For the Stew

  • 1 cup each of ñame (African yam), yellow malanga (yellow taro root), boniato (white sweet potato), and yuca
  • 1 green plantain
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup calabaza or butternut squash
  • 3 to 4 ears fresh sweet corn
  • 1 ripe plantain
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • Salsa Picante de Don Justo (Don Justo’s Hot Sauce) to taste (optional)

Method

Make the broth: With a sharp knife, cut the chorizo into 1-inch lengths. Cut the pork into 1 ½-inch pieces. Remove and discard the skin and excess fat from the chicken thighs. In a large sauté pan or deep skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and set aside. Brown the pork and then the chicken in the chorizo drippings for 8 to 10 minutes total. Place the chorizo, beef, and chicken in a large Dutch oven and add the beef and chicken broths, 4 cups water, and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sofrito: In the skillet, over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, and tomatoes and continue to simmer gently for 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the sofrito to the meats and broth and simmer for 15 minutes.

Make the stew: Peel and cube the ñame, malanga, boniato, and yuca, placing them in a bowl of cold water as you work so they don’t discolor. Peel the green plantain and cut it into ½-inch-thick slices; toss the green plantain with the lime juice.

Drain the root vegetables and add them to the stew. Reserving the lime juice, drain the green plantain and add it to the stew. Return the stew to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Peel and cube the calabaza, add and simmer for 15 minutes. Cut the corn into 2-inch lengths, add and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Cut the ripe plantain into 1-inch lengths. Toss it with the reserved lime juice and cook it separately in a saucepan of boiling water until tender when pierced with a knife. Peel the ripe plantain pieces and add them to the stew. Season with salt and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Sprinkle in the cilantro and spoon the stew into soup bowls. Serve with Salsa Picante de Don Justo.