Cuban tradition: Christmas dinner

The end of the year arrives and, with it, the moment to plan new challenges, begin preparations to gather the whole family, to take a trip … But, above all, if something typifies these festivities, they are the dishes and drinks that have not been lacking in the table of the Cubans, and have become a cultural tradition rooted for the inhabitants of the country.

We are all familiar with the roasted suckling pig, congri or arroz moro, yucca with mojo, tostones, vegetable salad and homemade desserts, accompanied by a beer or some wine.

And when the year is coming to an end, things are not going to change.

So, the main course in these celebrations is the roast pork, around which the other foods revolve.

What makes this dinner so special, then?

Besides de meaning of the Christmas celebration,  what makes this meal extra delicious is the preparation.

As tradition commands, the roasting technique varies according to the region of the country.

For example in the province of Pinar del Rio, it is very popular when the pork is grilled and covered with banana leaves.

In Havana City, the most common way of roasting is baked. Roast casserole is used throughout the country.

What is practically common in almost all regions are the condiments with which the pork is marinated, the mojo criollo and the sprinkling it as it is cooked.

Another of the most characteristic dishes of the Cuban  New Year dinner is undoubtedly the yucca with mojo, which consists of the soft yucca with a mojo criollo on top and in many occasions it is added pork rinds.

New Year’s Eve dinner is also accompanied by green plantains, which are cut into slices and fried in two stages, first browned on both sides and then fried again but this time crushed.

This dish has African origin and is called in different ways, depending on the region of the country, in the West it is more common to call it “bananas with punches” or “tostones”, although in Pinar del Río it is more frequent to call it “ambiguas”; in Oriente and Centro they are called “chattano bananas” or “patacón pisa’o”.

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