Friday, March 12, 2010

Fritas Cubanas and the story of the Humdinger

I had Cuban relatives that ended up straight out of Havana in Highpoint, NC. It was the early 1960's and the population in the surrounding areas was sparse. My uncle had bought himself a car, and with his wife and two daughters decided to explore their surroundings on a Sunday morning. Unaware that all commerce was closed on Sundays, out into the woods they went without packing a picnic. After a few hours of trying to decipher maps, they found themselves totally lost, hungry, and disappointed at finding "closed" signs at every venue they visited. With starvation eminent, they saw a road sign that read Home of the Humdinger! Open two miles ahead. "Hamburgers!" — my English illiterate family exclaimed. Their mouth watered in anticipation of the meal they were about to consume. They arrived at the diner and sat down. A young woman came to take their order. My uncle in his broken English proudly exclaimed "Four humdingers please." Soon the young woman appeared with four huge bowls of overflowing ice cream sundaes. Their chagrin was unparalleled as they slurrped the last bit of their melting slop. This story leads me to the Cuban Hamburger … Fritas Cubanas.

Tonight I'm making this variation of the hamburger for 8, To make less cut the measurments in half.

You will need:
2 lb ground beef
4 Spanish chorizo sausage, ground up
(If you can find them—good for you, but up here, they've never heard of it. When you ask for it they present you with Mexican chorizo. They are not the same. Spanish chorizo gets its distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers (pimentón/paprika). Mexican chorizo usually has the consistency of ground beef, though drier, due to a higher chile and spice content.) 
I'm using 1 lb Italian sausage, so there!
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 medium onion grated
2 cloves fresh mashed garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp. sweet Spanish paprika
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Hamburger buns

Mix all ingredients and form into patties. Cook on the grill or in a frying pan. Top with shoestring potatoes and serve on a traditional American hamburger bun.

Normally Fritas Cubanas are topped with shoe string potatoes, but if you prefer, you can grate them as you would do with hash browns.

4 large potatoes, chopped or finely grated, fried crispy.



  1. Pris wants you to do something with malanga. I wonder if we can order some frozen online.

  2. malanga con aceite, sal y ajo! que rico!

  3. so can you get it frozen? Im in oklahoma after being raised in Jersey1!! I miss it so much with mojito!!!

  4. I'm in central Illinois and I have not seen malanga here. Don't know if it can be ordered online. I know you could possibly find it frozen in major cities with a large hispanic population.