Ajiaco is a Cuban stew consisting of different indiginous root vegetables. It is incredibly tasty and nutritious. A native dish that symbolizes who Cubans are as a people and how diverse their ethnic backgrounds came to be formed. According to famed Cuban scholar Fernando Ortiz, the Amerindians gave us the maiz (corn), papa(potato), malanga (arum), boniato(sweet potato), yuca (cassava),and aji(pepper). The Spaniards added calabaza(pumpkin) and nabo (turnip), while the Chinese added spices. The Africans contributed name(yams). He says, that Cubans are " a mestizaje(mixture) of kitchens, a mestisaje of races, a mestisaje of cultures, a dense broth of civilization that bubbles on the stove of the Caribbean." The Cuban ajiaco retains the unique flavors of its diverse ingredients, which enrich one another. Some ingredients may dissolve completely, while others may remain more distinct. Yet all provide flavor to this hearty simmering stew, which by its very nature is always in a state of flux. The cuts of meat all have something in common aside from being "Cuban-style-cut" they are cheaper cuts, as this is the dish of the "common man." I have used many sources to come up with this recipe for you, from books published in 1925 to ones that I found on the internet. Also, used A Taste of Cuba recipe by Sonia Martinez, from El asere.com.,Ms Ramona V. Abella's "The Cuban Food Fairy", and Srta Maria Antonieta Reyes Gavilan y Moenk's "Delicias del la Mesa - Manual de Cocina y Reposteria". All you need with this dish is some good Cuban bread, a French baguette or even Foccaccia and some sliced fresh fruit, if you aren't too stuffed by this point! Cuban food is highly seasoned but never HOT! The ajiaco is/was made every Saturday(Before Castro)and was served as a noon meal which would have a longer lasting effect and in the evening they would have something light. This is very good and appetizing. Hope you will enjoy!