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CUBAN BEEF STEW – A Time-Traveling Guest Post by Professor Ione D.


Our steampunk heroine, Professor Ione D, embarks upon an airship tour of Cuba and America in the early 1900’s. On the way she discovers many wonderful recipes which she is eager to share with us. The following is the first post on her journey.


¡Buenos días mis amigos y amigas! As I begin my 11-day cuisine tour, I am truly in awe of the colors, smells, and beauty of Cuba. No wonder Christopher Columbus thought he had found the Garden of Eden. A truly culturally and racially integrated society, its cuisine draws upon the island’s abundant crops and resources. It is a cuisine reflective of the Cubans themselves: simple and straightforward yet vibrant and diverse with the flavors of life.

My recipe for you today is the favorite meal of the young genius inventor Fidelio Espinoza. (From Vaughn Treude’s exciting novel, Fidelio’s Automata.)

Fidelio’s Cuban Beef Stew


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin tips, cubed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry

  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives

  • 1/4 cup raisins

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring frequently, until transparent. Stir in cubed meat, and cook until browned. Stir in red bell pepper, bay leaf, cumin, and oregano; cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in sherry, tomato sauce, vinegar, olives, raisins, and capers. Pour in just enough water to cover meat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer until fork tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add more water if the stew becomes too thick.
  3. Stir potatoes into stew. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, covered, until potatoes are almost tender. Uncover, and cook until done.

Serve with ice-cold mojitos, home-made bread and cinnamon raisin pastries.

The hat you see is a lovely gift hand-painted for me by Senior Chavez Dias, the grandfather of my Cuban sponsor, Amador and his gracious wife Allita. It was Allita who gave me the above recipe and her spacious kitchen in which to learn. ¡Muchas gracias!


1 Comment

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  1. Very yummy and easy to make. Although I’m very fond of mojitos, you can’t really miss those up.

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