I made this stew in order that my dinner of fried cheese pastries have a glancing acquaintance with the principles of good nutrition. This recipe is also from Puerto Rican Dishes (Waverly Press, 1956) and include ingredients found in many of the recipes in the book, especially the base of ham, onion, tomato and pepper (there is a soffrito recipe earlier in the book which uses these things and two kinds of pork). In fact, although some of the recipes in this book may be similar, they help give the reader an idea of popular flavours combinations, much like an Italian cookbook will repeatedly demonstrate the love of basil, garlic and parmesan.
This went well with the pastelillos and the mix of vegetables in the dish is great. Unfortunately, because I think at least half an onion and a clove of garlic per portion is normal for vegetarian dishes, I found this slightly bland – much improved by a day in the fridge, large pinch of chilli flakes and some cooked garlic. It definitely needs the pork, but some chopped black olives would be a satisfactory substitute in terms of an additional layer of flavour. Serving this with a spicier dish (perhaps some marinated, grilled meat) would achive the same result.
Charded by Elly