Munyeta is a dish my grandmother on my father's side used to make when I was a kid. My grandmother was from a rural town in Cuba named Camaguey where this dish was popular. It's more of an obscure dish, since most people I asked about it had no clue what I was talking about. It had been years since i'd had it and all of a sudden I remembered it with nostalgia. Basically, it's a white bean cake that kind of looks like a Spanish tortilla by the time you're done. It's really easy to make- using only 6 ingredients and the flavors work so well together.
1 bag navy beans (if you're really in a rush you can use the canned variety, but it tastes way better using the dry beans)
1 large onion, roughly diced
8 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. smoked Spanish Paprika
1 cup cubed ham and bacon (I used turkey bacon since I follow Kosher laws)
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste (go easy on this because the bacon also adds salt)
First wash the beans well, removing any little pebbles or twigs. Add to a pressure cooker with 6 cups of water and cook until the beans are soft and tender. If you don't have a pressure cooker, soak the beans overnight and then cook them in a regular pot. Once the beans are cooked, put them in a colander to drain the liquid. Next use the back of your knife to smash half of the garlic cloves. Add a little olive oil to your pan and toss the garlic in to infuse the oil. Cook until the garlic is tender and becomes sweet. Remove and set aside. Next dice your onion and add to the pan, sauteing for about 6 minutes. While the onions cook, dice the ham and bacon into small cubes. Transfer to the pan and cook until the bacon and ham become slightly crispy. Next add the beans and the paprika. Begin to mash the beans with a potato masher or the back of a large spoon until you have a coarse paste. Don't worry about getting it perfectly smooth, you'll want a rustic consistency. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and blend everything well. Taste for salt. The trick to this dish is letting it cook until the bottom of the mix gets browned and slightly crunchy. Then use a spatula to mix it up, allowing the new layer to get crunchy before mixing again. Add more olive oil as needed. You'll notice that as you continue to cook the munyeta, it will become really pliable and you'll be able to shape it into a large cake reminiscent of a Spanish tortilla. Transfer to a plate, drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with some fresh chopped parsley.
I know this may sound weird, but I didn't feel like eating this with rice, so I fried up a few eggs- over easy and squeezed some ketchup on the side.
Here are the step-by-step action shots...