Yes, we’re singing Babalu along with Ricky, tonight!

I decided something different was in order tonight.  Something vaguely Cuban.  I had sampled a pre-made Pork Masitas and thought I could come up with something that would probably not be really authentic – but would probably taste okay.  The two flavors I knew I needed were citrus and garlic.  Cumin was another logical choice and after doing a quick Google-search to see if I was on the right path, I added Mexican oregano, as well.

The seasonings were done.   I needed citrus.  I decided to go for it and used oranges, lemons, limes.  Can’t have too much citrus, right?  And Cuba and Bacardi go hand-in-hand, so I added a bit of Bacardi rum.  And then, because I like spice, I added a bit of Matouk’s Calypso Sauce.  I know, I know… Calypso Sauce is from Trinidad and Tobago.  That’s why I said “vaguely Cuban.”

I started off with about a pound and a half of cubed pork from the end of a loin.  It was fairly fatty.  I marinated it over night in the following:


  • Juice of:
    • 2 oranges
    • 2 limes
    • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp Bacardi Rum
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp Matouk’s Calypso Sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

I  removed it from the marinade and heated some olive oil in a heavy skillet with a lid.

The pork went in and I covered it, turned the heat way down, and let it braise for about an hour.  It created almost a cup of liquid that I (eventually) pulled out and used to cook the rice and beans.

When the pork was tender, I drained it and put it back into he skillet with some olive oil.  I then browned the meat while making the rice.

The rice was 1 can of black beans, drained, 1 cup of white rice, and 2 cups of liquid – the liquid from the pork and the remainder tap water. And a pinch of cumin, oregano, and salt.  Cooked for 20 minutes.

Plantains would have been more authentic, but I didn’t have plantains, so I used a couple of slightly-green starchy bananas.  I fried them in the same pan as the pork.  Real plantains would have been better.  These worked.

The flavors all worked well together.  It was just off-beat enough.  Not exactly an authentic family dish, but close enough that I have Babalu echoing in my head.

And speaking of Babalu…  I had to look it up.  Who knew that it was a tribute to a god?!?  ” Millions of Americanos tuned into I Love Lucy, and most of them probably didn’t realize that Ricky Ricardo’s signature song was a tribute to an Afro-Cuban god.  “Babalu,” written by Cuban composer Margarita Lecuona, is about Babalu-Aye, one of the seven main gods of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria. It was first recorded by Cuban vocalist Miguelito Valdes in 1941.”

I love it!