Meet the Chef
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in Miami that lives and breathes his hometown more than Chef Michael Beltran. Passionate, creative and honest to a fault, the Cuban American chef has watched his stock rise along with the culinary community he fiercely advocates for. The chef/owner/partner in Ariete Hospitality Group, which includes restaurants Ariete, Navé, and Chugs Cuban Diner, and beloved watering holes The Scapegoat and The Taurus; Beltran’s concepts are the embodiment of his dream of creating a family of locally beloved restaurants and bars to suit every occasion – from a quick drink with friends to a working lunch to an unforgettable night out.
In high school, Beltran had part-time jobs at Norman Brothers – a grocery store where he made sandwiches and Winn Dixie. It wasn’t until he was working part-time as a dishwasher while attending college in Virginia that he began to envision himself opening his own restaurant. Accepting an apprenticeship with Chef Norman Van Aken, Beltran’s on-the-job schooling continued as he learned
about fine dining from one of Miami’s culinary icons, an original Mango Gang member who encouraged Beltran’s creativity and nurtured his talent, ultimately hiring him again to be sous chef at Tuyo a few years later.
Eventually, he had the desire to call the shots in his own restaurant started to grow, culminating in Ariete, a place where he would put ten years of hard-earned kitchen experience and restaurant management to the test. When he’s not busy coming up with new dishes or concepts for his restaurants, he’s out in the community supporting other local restaurants and taking part in events to raise awareness and elevate Miami’s culinary scene on a national and global scale. Or he’s taping Pan Con Podcast, a podcast that tackles restaurant industry and Miami issues, and culture with guests that range from celebrity chefs and restauranteurs to local politicians.
Watch the Class:
Chicken Fricassee with Harina
- 4 chicken thighs, bone in skin on
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 large russet potato, peeled, diced
- 1 Spanish onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 16 oz. tomato sauce
- 1 cup pimento-filled olives
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 packet of Sazon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 stick, unsalted butter
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- salt to taste
Cook and prepare the Chicken:
- Season the chicken with kosher salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large pot, over high heat.
- Brown the chicken in batches (about 2 minutes per side) then remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the onions and green pepper to the pan and saute until translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- If on hand, deglaze with wine and simmer with the veggies for just about 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, water, cumin, sazon, olives, salt, pepper and chicken back into the pot.
- Simmer (covered) for 15 minutes, add potatoes, then simmer for another 20 minutes.
Cook and prepare the Harina
- Warm a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add the milk.
- When the milk begins to scald, whisk vigorously and slowly add the cornmeal.
- When fully cooked, add the remaining ingredients until incorporated.
Dish out the harina and spoon chicken, vegetables, and sauce over the top. Enjoy!