Nitza Villapol was a chef, cookbook writer, television host, and teacher—one of Cuba’s best-known cooks, and an ambassador of the food culture. Villapol has often been called the Cuban Julia Child. This recipe by features chicken and tasajo—salt-dried beef. It’s an intimidating list of ingredients, but requires only the most basic cooking skills.


½ lb tasajo
½ chicken
1 lb beef skirt
2 lbs ground pork

2 ears corn
1 lb of malanga
2 green bananas
1 lb yuca
1 lb sweet potato
2 ripe bananas
2 lemons

2 tablespoons of oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large pepper
1 cup tomato puree
2 Tbs. salt
7 ½ quarts of water

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If you include the dried meat in the recipe, use ½ pound. Cut it into 3 or 4 pieces and put them to soak the night before.

In a large pot, put in the soaked beef jerky, chicken, and water. Simmer until it begins to soften. Add the beef and pork. Simmer for about an hour.

While the meats cook, make the sauce and peel the root vegetables in the order listed in the recipe above. Add the sofrito and root vegetables, adding lemon juice every time you add bananas. Cover and let simmer about an hour. To thicken the broth, include 2 or 3 crushed root vegetables, such as potato or sweet potato.