Latino Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Cuban ‘Calabaza con Mojo’

Here is a recipe from Ana Sofía Pelaez's gorgeous book, "The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History," one of the recipes we're featuring this week to get your ready for Thanksgiving, Latino style.

This “Calabaza con Mojo” came from a chef working at one of the better-known restaurants in the Vedado section of Havana, and serves 8-10.



  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds calabaza (also known as West Indian Pumpkin) kabocha, or hubbard, seeded and sectioned into wedges 1 inch thick
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed sour orange juice or equal parts lime and orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced into rounds


  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Place the “calabaza” on a steamer rack set inside a saucepan and steam over simmering water until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the “calabaza” to a large serving dish.

In the meantime, prepare the “mojo”. Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, salt, and black pepper to form a smooth paste. Whisk in the sour orange juice and oregano until well combined.

Place the onions in a deep 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the “mojo”over the onions and toss to coat.

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the cover of the skillet away from your body and only enough to safely pour inside the hot oil in one motion then immediately cover the skillet. This should be done carefully because the juice will bubble and spurt when it makes contact with the oil. Leave covered until the popping sound subsides and the onions are steamed, 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour the “mojo” and simmered onions over the “calabaza” and serve immediately.

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