Recipe: Cuban cigars

February 16, 2009 8:13:51 PM PST
Learn to make a south of the border spring roll-style tapas.

Cuban Cigars
Makes 10-12 cigars
Preheat oven to 375 degrees


1 lb. Prather Ranch ground chuck
1 T. garlic
3 T soybean oil
½ medium red bell peppers, large dice
½ medium yellow bell peppers, large dice
½ medium green bell peppers, large dice
½ each red onion
1 T ground cumin
1 T whole oregano
1 T smoked paprika
1/3 bunch chopped cilantro
1 T finely chopped fresh thyme
2 T finely chopped oregano
3 whole chipotle chilies (canned)
½ cup panko break crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

1 package Menlo wraps
3 eggs beaten

Chipotle Ketchup Dipping Sauce:

2 cups ketchup
½ can or 7 oz. chipotle peppers chopped fine
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 T molasses
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T lemon juice (fresh)
2 T soy sauce

1. Heat the soybean oil in a medium size sauté pan.
2. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and sauté until soft, keeping their color.
3. Add the ground chuck and with a kitchen spoon mix together evenly with the peppers and onions.
4. Lower the heat and add the remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly.
5. Cool before rolling in the Menlo wraps.

Rolling the Cigars:
Carefully pull the Menlo sheets apart from each other and place on a clean surface with a damp towel. Take one and lay it on a clean surface. Place the Prather Ranch ground chuck mixture in the middle of the wrap then with a pastry brush paint the egg mixture on the edges of the Menlo wrap. Fold the corners in and roll like a cigar.

Bake in 375% oven for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Cut each cigar in half and serve with chipotle ketchup dipping sauce.

Chipotle Ketchup Dipping Sauce
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

A chef since the age of seventeen, Bill's eclectic experience includes classical French, "Floribbean," new American, Japanese and the California-Caribbean cuisine that has made his food popular at Cha Cha Cha restaurants in San Francisco (he was Executive Chef for over 10 years), and now at his own restaurant, Whipper Snapper in San Rafael. In the early days of his career, he worked with some of the great chefs of California, Masataka Kobayashi (Masa's) and Joachim Splichel (Patina Restaurant Group); and for some of the top restaurants in San Francisco (St. Tropez, Carmague and Masa's), in Los Angeles (Le Petite Chaya, Tramps of London and Max Au Triangle), and in Orlando (Dux at the Peabody Hotel).

According to Bill, "I'm a down-to-earth person and I'm not confined to my ego. I prepare food with integrity and passion, but mostly from the heart."

Whipper Snapper is a fun, exciting new neighborhood restaurant located on 4th Street in the newly renovated West End Village of San Rafael. We've come to town to brighten up your days with Cal-Caribe "vibrating vittles" that blend Latin flavors with local farm fresh ingredients.

Owner/Chef Bill Higgins is serving delicious tapas and reasonably priced daily specials in a space that will knock your socks off. He's a one-of-a-kind, wild guy that operates without borders (so expect a few surprises).

Award-winning resident artist, Patrick Maloney, has filled the space with his Whipper Snapper-inspired creations made from recycled materials. Two larger-than-life wood sculptures and a mosaic were created in collaboration with local youth. Come experience the hand-wrapped people and imaginative lighting sconces-you have to see it to believe it!

Come relax and meet your neighbors and friends over a glass of homemade Sangria at the bar, or bring a group and share dishes at a large table. Menu choices range from wild fish to plantains to the best-roasted potatoes around. Our friendly, upbeat staff will ensure that you have a good time... and you'll find yourself coming back again and again.

1613 4th Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: 415-256-1818