La Guarida is one of Havana’s most glamorous and romantic paladares. It gained international fame as the setting of the award-winning Cuban film Fresas y chocolate (Strawberries and Chocolate). Owners Enrique Nuñez and Odesis Baullosa work with Chef Manuel Antonio Sió Ibañez to turn out well-executed and original examples of New Cuban cooking with international flair. One of my favorite dishes from their menu is spinach crêpes filled with chicken in a nicely seasoned cream sauce, gathered like a purse and tied with a blanched scallion green. The crêpe purses are served in a pool of wild mushroom sauce and garnished with a sprinkling of piquant minced beets.
It’s a spectacular presentation, but a bit hard to pull off if you are alone and cooking for several people. With that in mind, I’ve included a suggestion for another, more manageable presentation that tastes just as good. It may seem as though this is a dish that requires lots of preparation, but all of the components may be made in advance.
Make the chicken filling: Cut the chicken into ½-inch cubes. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté until lightly browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the rum and carefully light it with a long kitchen match. Shake the pan gently back and forth, spooning the rum and pan juices over the chicken. When the flame subsides, add the butter, flour, herbs de Provence, and salt. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the cream, broth, sherry, nutmeg, and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Keep warm, or if making in advance, cover and refrigerate.
Make the mushroom sauce: Place the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour in
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt
Make the beet garnish: In a small bowl, combine the beets, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
© 2006 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.