Delicious Dominican Cuisine

A Buen Tiempo... Buen Provecho! ;)

Dominican style Tripe Stew/Mondongo Criollo


Mondongo is one of those dishes that you either love or hate.  Just knowing the kind of meat that is in the stew can put a damper on your appetite.  However, when prepared carefully and cleaned thoroughly it’s not so offensive and can be quite hearty and delicious.

I myself am not a lover of Mondongo (although many of my family members are), however, my husband is and for his sake I decided to learn how to come up with a way to make it that I can tolerate eating it and actually enjoy it. :)

A very important tip that I find helpful, before I begin working with the tripe, I like to take a medium sized pot, fill it with water, then I raid my spice rack and take some cinnamon sticks, cloves, all spice, anise seeds, any sweet and pleasant smelling spice and put it to boil.  Once the air is infused with the spice smell, it will mask the tripe odor when you begin to work with it.

Also, some people like to use a pressure cooker because it can soften the tripe quicker.  I must admit that I am afraid of working with pressure cookers so I don’t cook the tripe using that method. :)

One last tip before we get into the recipe, you can boil the tripe until it’s fork tender the day before using the method I describe below, then save it in the fridge (after it’s cooled down).  That way the following day it will be quicker to make the stew.

To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

4 lbs of Beef Tripe
12 Cloves of Garlic
1 Large Onion (White or Red)
6 Aji Gustoso
6 Limes
2 Stalks of Celery
Salt  (will vary)
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Coriander
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 tbsp Spanish Olives (optional)
4 Tomatoes (plum or Roma are fine)
1 Cup Vino Tinto (red wine)
~1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
~3/4 Cup Fresh Green Onions
2 tbsp Achiote Oil (or 1 tsp Achiote powder), may substitute with 2 tbsp Tomato paste
2 tbsp Olive Oil (may use vegetable oil)

Before you start working with the tripe, take a large pot and fill it 3/4 of the way with water then it put it on the stove with the heat on high to bring it up to a boil.  Then mash or mince 4 cloves of garlic and add it to the pot of water,

 

Add 1 stalk of celery (I just cut it into several large pieces and leave the leaves on it) then add it to the pot, along with 2 aji gustoso (remove the seeds and cut them into large pieces),

While the water is coming up to a boil, let’s wash the tripe to add it.

The tripe that is sold here in the states is relatively clean compared to the tripe sold in Dominican Republic, however, it still needs a thorough cleaning.  (It also stinks when it comes out of the package!)

Make sure to wash the tripe well with plenty of water before starting to boil it and inspect it for hairs, also remove some of the loose fat that might be stuck to the lining.  I usually rinse it for a few minutes under running water,

Then add the rinsed tripe to the pot (notice I didn’t use a huge pot because I am saving my larger one for later use, if you have a bigger one, use it!), then squeeze the lime juice of 3 limes into the pot, also add the lime halves as well,

Stir everything gently and let it come up to a boil,

After it comes up to a boil, keep it half covered and let it boil for about 30 – 45 minutes.

After it’s been boiling for about 15 – 20 minutes, take another large pot and fill it about 1/2 – 3/4 of the way with fresh water, add 4 cloves of mashed garlic, 1 stalk of celery (with the leaves on), 2 aji gustozo, the juice of 3 limes (DO NOT ADD THE LIME HALVES TO THIS POT, ONLY THE JUICE),

Then add about 1 tablespoon of salt and let it come up to a boil,

Remember while the tripe is boiling in the first post, stir it every 10 minutes or so then put the lid lightly back on,

After the tripe has been boiling for about 30 – 45 minutes, take some tongs or a large fork and gently remove it from the pot (be careful not to be splattered with hot water) and add it to the second pot that should be boiling by now,

After adding the tripe to the second pot, let it continue to boil for about 1 – 2 hours until it is fork tender.  Remember to keep the lid half on.  Discard the water from the first pot.

After the tripe is fork tender, turn the heat off and let it hang out  so it can cool down a bit before we cut it.  In the meantime, let’s start to make the stew.

Take the large onion and finely chop it,

Then take a medium sized pot put the heat on medium high, add about 2 tbsp of olive oil (may use vegetable oil) and add 4 cloves of garlic, that have been mashed or finely chopped,

Let the garlic cook for about a minute and become fragrant, then add the onions to let them sweat,

Adding a pinch of salt will help the onions release liquid; while the onions are cooking, take 4 tomatoes (I am using plum, but you can use whatever kind you like), and chop them up (I leave the skin and seeds on, but you can remove them if you’d like) then add it to the pot,

Take the remaining 2 aji gustoso, remove the seeds, finely chop them and add to the pot,

Then take the red and green bell peppers, remove the seeds, finely chop them and add them to the pot,

Then take about 1 cup of red wine (I like to use vino tinto which is a sweeter wine) and add it to the pot,

I did not add Spanish olives to the pot since my husband is not crazy about them, but if you like them, mince about 2 tablespoons and add them to the pot,

Now add about 1 tsp of salt (you could do this before adding the wine as well),

Add about 1 tsp of ground black pepper,

Add about 2 tsp of oregano,

Then add about 2 tablespoons of Achiote oil (you can use 1tsp of powedered achiote or 2 tbsp of tomato paste if you prefer, this enhances the “orange” color),

Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of coriander,

Stir everything well and let it continue to cook while we cut the tripe.   Take the tripe and remove it from the pot (DO NOT DISCARD THE WATER IN THE POT) with either tongs or a large fork, then put it on a cutting board (be careful if it’s still very hot),

*One tip, put a towel under the cutting board so the juices don’t spread all over your counter-top,

Cut the tripe into bite sized pieces,

Then add it to the pot with the vegetables.  Take about 2 cups of liquid from the pot that the tripe was boiled in and add it to the stew,

Stir everything well, if you want it to be “soupier” add more liquid from the previous pot,

Now cover it, let it cook for about 20 – 30 minutes until all of the vegetables break down, the tripe absorbs the flavors and the stew gets thick.

Then take about 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chop it up and add it to the pot,

Then take about 1/2 – 1 cup of fresh green onions, chop it up and add it to the pot,

Stir well, let it cook for a couple of minutes, do a taste test and adjust the seasoning to your liking.  Then turn the heat off and keep it covered until serving time.

I recommend you serve it with a side of white rice, some avocado and lime wedges.  Yum!

SAM_2053

Buen Provecho!!! ;)

Dominican style Stewed Beef/Carne de Res Guisada


I must say that this recipe is not only a staple dish in Dominican culture, but it is also by far one of the favorites in my home.  The beef always comes out really tender, succulent and so flavorful!  It is a bit time consuming to make, but worth every second, trust me!

There is not much more I can say about this, the pictures will speak for themselves. :)

To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

2lbs Beef Chunks (I usually get beef chuck for stew, or you can buy a small pot roast and chop it up into large chunks)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
~ 1/2 tsp Coriander
~ 1/2 tsp Cumin
1 Onion (red or white)
2 Aji Gustoso
1/2 – 1 Small Green Bell Pepper
1/2 – 1 Small Red Bell Pepper
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
1/2 Cup Green Onions
3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1 Lime
1 Cup Vino Tinto
1 – 2 tbsp Achiote Oil
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

 

I usually get the beef chunks that are used for stewing, however, if you’d like buy a small pot roast and cut it up into large chunks, the cook time will actually be faster with that cut of meat (usually the pot roast cut is more expensive though).

Let’s begin by cleaning the meat.  You can use lime juice instead, but I use some vinegar (1/2 cup or so) and add some water, let the beef soak in it for a few minutes (like 5),

Then give the meat a good rinse with fresh water,

Then drain it and put it in a container to season it.  I like to use ziploc bags for easy cleanup, then add 1 tsp of salt,

Add 1/2 tsp of ground pepper (I love to use the grinder because the pepper tastes so fresh),

Then add 1 tsp of oregano, you can use whole or ground (I am using whole today),

Then take the onion and cut it up to add to the beef, I usually cut it in slices, then add it to the beef,

Take the red bell pepper (you can use half of one instead of a whole one) and cut it into slices, then add it to the beef,

Take the green bell pepper (you can also use half instead of a whole one) and cut it into slices, then add it to the beef,

Take the aji gustoso, remove the seeds and mince it, then add it to the beef,

Then add about 1/2 tsp of ground cumin,

Then add about 1/2 tsp of ground coriander,

Take the garlic cloves and mince or mash them (I love to mash mine in a pilon), then add it to the beef,

Then add 1 cup of vino tinto,

I like to use the brand “Caballo blanco” since it’s relatively easy to find in the the local Spanish grocery stores,

However, if you can’t find this, I recommend you use the manischewitz wine because it tastes very similar.

 

Then add the juice of one large lime (or 2 small limes),

Then add the cilantro,

Take the green onions, chop them up and add to the beef,

Then add a couple of tablespoons of achiote oil (aceite de bija),

Now mix everything together with a spoon and seal up the bag or cover the marinated beef and let it hang out for a few hours in the fridge, overnight would be best,

After letting it marinate for a few hours comes the fun part… Cooking time! :)

Take the beef and separate it from the marinade, but save the vegetables and the liquid, we will use that later on,

Take a medium size pot put the heat on high, then add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of sugar,

Let the sugar melt,

Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, you want it to get dark brown, not black, if it gets black you are going to have to start over,

Then add the beef to the pot, you will hear a very LOUD sizzle and that is normal, just be careful so you are not splattered with hot grease, cover the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes,

Let it cook for about 5 minutes, then take a large spoon and stir the beef around,

As the beef cooks, it will release liquid, put the lid on and let it cook down until the liquid reduces down, stirring on occassion,

After the liquid reduces, the meat will start to “fry” in the oil and get darker.  Let it fry for a couple of minutes, just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn,

Then add the vegetables and liquid from the marinade and stir,

Cover the pot, put the heat on medium and let it cook for about 30 – 45 minutes until the beef is soft (uncover and stir every 10 minutes), the liquid will reduce down and the flavors will concentrate.  If for some reason the liquid reduces down and the beef is still not soft, add a little water and let it continue to cook, just remember to keep the heat on medium,

After the beef is tender, turn off the heat and serve.  I recommend you serve it with some white rice and a side of beans, yum!

Buen provecho! ;)

 

 

Dominican Style Beef with Peppers and Onions/Bistec Encebollado Dominicano


Without a doubt this is one of my favorite Dominican style meat dishes since it’s so easy to make and it always comes out really flavorful and tender. The trick is to monitor the cooking time because it is important not to overcook the beef so it doesn’t become tough and rubbery.

This dish is so versatile, it can be paired up with a nice side of rice like moro de habichuelas or guandules, a nice salad or a creamy mangu.  You can also toast some bread and make a delicious steak sandwich too! The possibilities are practically endless! :)

To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

~2 lbs Cube Round Steak (pounded)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Oregano
1/2 tsp Coriander
1 tbsp Brown Sugar (regular or light)
3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
2 Limes
1 Large Onion (red or white)
1 Large Red Bell Pepper
1 Large Green or Cubanelle Pepper
Several sprigs (about 1/2 cup) Fresh Cilantro
Several sprigs (about 1/2 cup) Green Onions
~2 tbsp Oil (vegetable or olive)

I usually buy the beef already pounded at the supermarket, however, if you prefer to pound it yourself with a meat tenderizer, get some cube round steak.  Don’t skip the pounding step because it’s essential for the beef to come out tender.

beef

To begin making this dish, I like the clean the meat first by adding some vinegar (which is optional, you can use lime juice instead) and some water,

beef

Let it soak for a couple of minutes, then rinse the meat with fresh water,

After the meat is clean, drain it and put it in a container to season it.  You may use a big bowl or a ziploc bag like I am using then add 1 tsp of salt, you  may add less if you prefer and adjust the salt level later on,

Then add some ground black pepper, I add about 1/2 tsp,

Add about 1 tsp of ground oregano,

Then add 1/2 tsp of ground coriander,

Then add 1 rounded tablespoon of brown sugar,

Take the peppers and onion,

Peel the onion, cut it into slices.  Take the peppers, remove the seeds and cut into slices,

Then add the cilantro (I prefer to use fresh over dry),

Add the juice of 2 limes (if the limes are very large you can only use 1),

Take the 3 cloves of garlic and finely chop it, or mash it like I do (I love using my pilon :) ),

Then add it to the meat,

Then mix everything together, you can use a spoon or your hands (I like to use my hands) and then cover the meat with the seasoning and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.  I like to let it marinate overnight,

 

Now comes the fun part…  COOKING time!! :)

Take a large skillet and add about 2 tablespoons of oil (I like to use olive oil), enough to lightly coat the bottom.  Put the heat on HIGH and let it get real hot, then add the beef (you will hear a loud sizzle).  Do not crowd the pan, you will have to cook the beef in 2 batches.

It is very important that you don’t overcook the beef, let it sear for about 3 minutes, then flip it over,

Let it cook for about 2 minutes, then remove the beef from the heat and put aside on a plate that can hold the juices it will seep.  Don’t worry if the beef is slightly undercooked,

Let any remaining liquid in the pan evaporate then add the remaining beef pieces,

This batch will cook faster, if you notice the pan drippings are getting too dark, add a splash of water so it doesn’t burn.  Usually the beef releases liquid as it cooks and that helps keep everything in the pan from burning.  After about 2 minutes, flip the beef over (I apologize for the quality of the photo below, it was difficult to get a good focus with the smoke),

Let the other side cook for about 2 minutes, then remove the beef from the pan and put with the previous batch,

Add the vegetables and the marinade liquid to the pan,

Stir the contents around and de-glaze the pan, then add the beef and whatever liquid it released into the pan,

Then take the green onions, chop them up and add them to the pan,

After adding the beef and green onions, gently stir the contents around and cover the pan.  Put the heat on low and let it continue to cook for about 8 – 10 minutes.

After letting it simmer, turn the heat off and it is ready to be served.  Remember, don’t let it cook for really long periods of time because the veggies will get too soft and the beef can get tough.

Doesn’t this look tasty?   Yum! :)

Buen Provecho! ;)

 

 

Habichuelas Con Dulce/Sweet Beans Dessert


With Easter coming around the corner, I figured this would be an appropriate recipe to post as a way to return from my hiatus from updating.

Habichuelas con dulce is one of those desserts that you either love or hate mainly because it can be too rich and filling.  I must admit that I am not a huge fan of it, however, I did tweak my recipe several times until I came up with one that I can eat a over and over again, enjoy it and not feel like need to drink 2 glasses of water to wash it down after.  The sweet beans are creamy, smooth and decadent!

Since this is not a recipe that is typically made in small batches, I wrote out the recipe to make a large pot to share with the whole family! :)

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

1lb Dry Red Kidney Beans
1lb Dry Roman Beans (may use pink or pinto beans instead)
4 Cups Milk (may use low fat or skim)
2 Cans Evaporated Milk (approx 12oz each)
2 Cans Coconut Milk (approx 13.5oz each)
1 Can Condensed Milk (approx 14oz)
1.5 Cups Raisins
1 tsp Anise Seeds
6 Cinnamon Sticks
1 tbsp Cloves
1 tbsp All Spice
1/2 Cup Honey
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Large Sweet Potato (white) or Yam (Batata)
Milk Cookies (optional)

 

To begin, combine the dry beans and rinse them,

After the beans are rinsed, fill the pot with fresh water to let them soak,

I recommend you let them soak for a few hours (at least 6), preferably overnight in the refrigerator, then they will plump up and look like this,

Before starting to cook the beans, add more water to them since they soaked up most of the initial water that was added when they were dry, you want to add enough water to fill the pot about 3/4 of the way,

Take 2 cinnamon sticks and add them to the pot,

Put the heat on HIGH and boil the beans until they are soft.  It will take about 1 – 1.5 hours, maybe more depending on the heat level your stove can deliver.  Just remember to keep an eye on them and add water so they don’t dry out and burn,

After the beans are cooked through and soft, turn the heat off and let them cool off.

It is very important to let the beans cool down because when it comes time to blend them, you can get a serious burn if you start to blend them while they are hot.  While they are cooling, fish out the 2 cinnamon sticks that were added to the beans to cook them and discard them,

After the beans have cooled down (it’s okay if they are still a little warm), add a couple of cups with some of the liquid to a blender and blend them for a couple of minutes,

Be careful to not add too much to the blender so it doesn’t spill out when you turn the blender on,

The size of the pot I used was 8 qts, but if you have a bigger one, I recommend you use it if you have never made this before since the milk content is high in this recipe and can boil over if you are not careful.

Take a strainer and position it over the pot, then add the blended beans to the strainer and with a spoon move it around so it can seep through without the  pulp,

After pressing the liquid out of the pulp, do not discard it, put it aside in a bowl,

After straining all of the blended beans and saving the pulp, add half of it back to the blender and add about 2 cups of milk (I used 1% low fat),

Then blend again, doing this just infuses more bean flavor into the dessert,

After blending, pour it through the strainer again,

Press the bean pulp against the strainer to excrete out all of the liquid,

Then you can discard the remaining bean pulp from the strainer, doing this will ensure you have a nice creamy and smooth dessert.

Now we are ready to continue cooking the beans.  Turn the heat and put it on medium to medium high (you can start medium high and put it down as the beans start to show signs that they are going to boil).

While the beans are heating up, let’s add the remaining ingredients.  Add 2 cans of evaporated milk, remember to shake the cans before opening them,

Then add 2 cans of coconut milk, also shake before opening,

Then add 1 can of condensed milk and stir,

Now let’s add the spices.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like having habichuelas con dulce and having to fish out any hard spices from my mouth, I find that very unpleasant.  One trick I like to use to keep all of the spices together during the cooking process, also to make it easier to remove them in the end, is taking a piece of cheese cloth (can be found in the super markets),

Then fold the cheese cloth so that it’s not too thin (when it gets wet it can thin out even more) into 2 layers, this will ensure the spices stay put and don’t leak out,

Then neatly place the 4 cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise seeds and all spice in the center of the cheese cloth,

Then wrap the spices with the cheese cloth to make sure they stay put,

And tie the bundle securely with kitchen twine (also found in supermarkets),

Then add the bundled spices to the pot,

Stir the items in the pot, the spiced bundle will float but as it cooks later on it will slowly sink a little into the pot,

Then add the salt, honey and raisins,

Then add the light brown sugar, I usually add about 2 cups but you can always add less and adjust the sugar level towards the end to make it sweeter to your liking,

I am cutting it close in this pot, since this recipe contains a lot of milk it starts to get foamy, but later on the foam will reduce down and hopefully no spilling accidents will happen! :)

After adding the sugar, stir again and now we have to let the items in the pot come up to a light boil and reduce down.  This can take about 30 minutes to 1 hour, again depending on the level of heat you have it on.  I usually keep it between Medium and Medium-High,

As it cooks, continue to stir so the beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  As it cooks you notice the foam dissipates,

 

When the beans come up to a light boil, take the batata (white sweet potato or yam), peel it and cut it into small pieces,

Then add them to the pot (you want to add them towards the end so they don’t break down and dissolve),

Stir and let them cook about 20 – 30 minutes until they are soft and fork tender,

At this point the beans should be ready to come off from the heat.  You’ll know they are ready because they are thick, creamy, smooth and coat the spoon,

Also, the batata is thoroughly cooked but not falling apart too much,

Now would be a time to do a taste test and add sugar if you feel it’s necessary.  Remember, after the beans are cold they will taste sweeter.

After turning off the heat, let the beans rest and cool down.  I keep them half covered and put them aside since in my house we prefer to eat them cold instead of hot.  Remember, DO NOT PUT THE HOT BEANS IN THE REFRIGERATOR, if you do your desert will spoil.  You have to wait for them to cool down slowly before you can add them to the fridge.  I usually leave the spice bundle in the pot since it doesn’t interfere when it comes time to serve the beans.

After the beans have cooled down you can serve them with some milk cookies, yum!

 

Buen Provecho! ;)

 

 

Honey Almond Cookies/Galleticas Con Almendras y Miel


There isn’t much to say about these cookies other than that they are delicious and addictive!  When you have one, it’s all downhill from there and before you know it, you have 1/2 a dozen haha! :)

This recipe yields about 22 – 24 good sized cookies, to make it you will need the following ingredients:

1 stick of Unsalted Butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large Eggs
1/4 cup Honey
1 cup Chocolate chips (semisweet)
2 cups Flour
1 cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup of Evaporated milk

To begin, prepare the almonds by adding them to a small pan (do not add any oil) and put the heat on medium high,

Stir the almonds occasionally and as they begin to heat up they will release a little bit of oil and get fragrant,

When this happens add the cinnamon,

After adding the cinnamon stir and let it cook for a minute, then add the honey,

Then stir to thoroughly coat all of the almonds with the honey, then turn the heat off and set aside to cool while we make the cookie batter.

While almonds are cooling, lets sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.

Add the flour to a strainer that is placed over a large bowl to sift, (you can use a flour sifter if you have that, but I don’t so I use a strainer),

In the middle of sifting add 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt sift with the flour,

I don’t recommend to skip the sifting method because this will avoid lumps in your batter and you’ll get softer cookies,

After sifting the flour, baking powder and salt set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees.

Now let’s begin to make the cookie batter, take one stick of butter (at room temperature so that it’s nice and soft) and add it to a large mixing bowl (I’m using a stand mixer but you can use a hand mixer if you have that instead),

Begin to cream the butter at medium speed, then slowly add the brown sugar to begin to make a paste,

Then add the granulated sugar and continue to cream the butter and sugar paste at medium speed for a couple of minutes,

When the sugar and butter are well mixed and are have a soft paste consistency, add the eggs to the bowl,

As you mix, make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get an even batter,

Continue to mix until the mixture is smooth (without large lumps),

Then begin to slowly add the flour, baking powder and salt mixture,

After adding the flour the batter will start to get thick,

Scrape the bowl to make sure everything is getting well incorporated into the batter,

Now these cookies have a “cakey” consistency because I like to add some evaporated milk (and baking powder instead of baking soda),

After adding the evaporated milk let the batter mix until it’s smooth and creamy,

Scrape the bowl one last time (make sure to scrape the paddles) and mix again,

Then add the chocolate chips,

Fold them into the batter with a spoon or spatula, if you use the mixer it will break the chocolate chips into smaller pieces,

Then add the honey almonds which should be cool by now (if they are a little warm that’s okay, just don’t add them piping hot so they don’t begin to cook the batter),

The almonds will be sticky and clumpy at first when you fold them in the batter,

Take a cookie sheet and line it with some parchment paper or grease it with some cooking spray or butter, (I’m opting for the parchment paper),

I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter and get good sized cookies, but if you want smaller cookies use a table spoon,

Scoop 1 mound at a time onto the cookie sheet, make sure to space them out a couple of inches apart and not crowd the pan,

Transfer the cookie sheet to the oven and bake them for about 13 – 15 minutes until they are golden brown but still a little soft,

Don’t they look scrumptious? (makes me want to bake some more after writing this post ;) )

While the cookies are baking I like to prepare a second cookie sheet to make the cooking process quicker, but if you only have 1 cookie sheet just remove the parchment paper with the hot cookies after they are cooked and line the sheet with a new piece of parchment paper to add more cookie batter (you might want to wait a few minutes so the sheet cools down),

After the cookies are baked let them cool for a few minutes and then serve,

They are really delicious while still warm with some milk or hot chocolate, yum!

Buen Provecho! ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dominican Style Chicken Soup/Sopa de Pollo Dominicana


There are a couple of ways that I go about making a hearty pot of chicken soup, but this is by far my favorite way!  The soup is very simple to make and it’s very delicious and filling.  It is also easy on the wallet since it calls for common ingredients that are usually very inexpensive to get.

This recipe will serve about 5 – 6 people with large hearty portions.  To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

3 – 4 lbs of Chicken (skinless, bone-in, about 8 – 10 pieces)
2 tsp Ground Oregano
2 – 3 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
5 Cloves of Garlic
3 Aji Gustoso
2 Limes
2 tbsp Achiote Oil (Aceite de Bija, may subsitute with 1 tsp of ground achiote)
3 Celery Stalks
4 Carrots
4 Large Potatoes
1lb Cassava (Yucca)
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
2 Cups Angel Hair Noodles (fideos)
4 Cups Chicken Stock (optional)
Water
1/2 Cup Vinegar (optional)

I prefer to use skinless chicken to make the soup (unless I use the chicken wings, then I leave the skin on), about 8 – 10 pieces should be good.  I’m also partial to using thighs and drumsticks, but you can use any part you want (or you can just cut up a whole chicken and use that as well),

To clean the chicken, rinse it, then add some water and about 1/2 cup of vinegar (you may use limes instead of vinegar),

Let it soak for a couple of minutes, then rinse with fresh water and drain the chicken,

After the chicken is clean, put in a container to begin to season.  Add about 2 tsp of salt, it might sound like alot of salt, but remember this is to make a good sized pot of soup,

Then add about 1/2 tsp of Black Pepper,

Then add 2 tsp of ground oregano,

Then add the mashed or chopped garlic (I like to mash it in a pilon),

Add 2 tbsps of Achiote oil, (you may substitute and add 1 tsp of ground achiote (bija) if you prefer),

Then take the aji gustoso, (they can be found in most Spanish grocery stores and some supermarkets),

Remove the seeds and finely chop them, then add them to the chicken,

Then add the juice of 2 limes,

Mix well to incorporate all of the ingredients and thoroughly coat the chicken,

Let it marinate for atleast an hour, overnight is preferable so that the chicken can absorb the flavors of the marinade.

To begin cooking the soup, take a large pot and add about 2 tbsp of oil (may use vegetable or olive oil), put it on high.  Let the oil get really hot, then add the chicken pieces one by one (without the liquid marinade, set that aside),

I like to use tongs to avoid getting splattered with hot oil.  After adding all of the chicken pieces, let the chicken cook for about 10 minutes, While the chicken is cooking, take a separate pot (about 3q sized one is good), fill it with water and put it on high heat.  This will be to add to the chicken later on when it comes time to make the soup,

After about 10 minutes, flip the chicken pieces over to the other side,

At this point, I like to “half cover” the pot so the chicken cooks in its juices, (you’ll notice the smaller pot with the water getting nice and hot in the background), while the chicken is cooking, remember to just lightly stir it occasionally so that it doesn’t stick,

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the vegetables.  Cut the celery into bite sized pieces,

Then peel the carrots and cut them into bite sized pieces as well,

Set the vegetables aside until they are ready to be added to the chicken.

The chicken will cook for about 25- 30 minutes from initially adding it to the pot.  It will release some juices that will reduce down, when you see the chicken is “frying” in the oil like it is in the photo below,

Let the chicken fry in the oil for a few minutes, it will start to get golden brown and develop more flavor,

Now take the reserved marinade and add it to the pot,

Then add the celery and carrots, very gently stir (I suggest you use a spatula) so the chicken doesn’t break apart,

Let the vegetables cook with the chicken for a few minutes (about 5), then add the hot water (about 2.5 – 3 quarts).  Adding the water hot will make the soup be ready sooner since it will come up to a boil within minutes,

While the chicken is coming up to a boil, peel the potatoes and cut them into bite sized pieces,

Then peel the cassava (yucca) and cut into bite sized pieces, remember to remove the root,

Set aside the potatoes and cassava, when the soup is boiling give it a quick taste test and add a little more salt if you feel it’s necessary,

Then add the cubed potatoes and cassava to the pot,

Then take about 1 cup of fresh cilantro (I highly recommend you use fresh instead of dried cilantro), to add to the pot, if you have kitchen twine or a rubber band, tie it together to keep the cilantro in one bunch,

That way you can pull it out when the soup is done,

Then add some angel hair noodles (fideos), you can add as much or as little as you like.  I usually add about 4 rolls of noodles, which is about 2 cups,

If you notice the soup is getting very thick, add some chicken stock or if you have chicken bouillon, dissolve one into the soup and add a few cups of water to thin it out,

Let the soup boil away and cook for about 15 minutes until the potatoes, cassava (yucca) and noodles are fork tender.  While the soup is boiling, I like to scoop out the grease that accumulates on the top of the soup with a wide spoon,

Doing this is optional, but I really recommend you do it so that the soup is lighter and not greasy when you serve it.  See how much grease I pulled out (and this was using a small amount of oil and skinless chicken),

After the soup has been boiling away for about 15 – 20 minutes, the potatoes and cassava (yucca) should be fully cooked, yet not falling apart.  Turn the heat off and keep it covered until serving time.

I recommend you serve it with some lime wedges and a side of fluffy white rice, yum! :)

Buen Provecho! ;)

 

Baked Mashed Potatoes/Puré de Papas Horneado


This is a simple side dish that is very creamy, hearty and very delicious.  I love to serve this on the days we aren’t in the mood to have rice and beans, it goes really well especially with some roasted chicken.

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

10 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Can Evaporated Milk (approx 12oz)
8oz Package of Cream Cheese
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tbsp Butter or Margarine
I prefer to use Yukon gold potatoes to make this recipe because they have a rich buttery taste.  They are a bit more expensive than some other types of potatoes such as the Idaho (which are really popular here), but they are really worth the extra cost.  About 10 large potatoes is the perfect amount for this dish,

Take a large pot and fill it halfway with water,

Peel the potatoes, cut them in half and add them to the pot (it’s okay if water is not boiling), cover them and let them come up to a boil,

When they come up to a boil, add some salt (about 1 tbsp),

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare a medium sized baking dish (the one I’m using is 13x9x2 (3Q)) and generously grease it with some butter or maragrine (about 2 tbsp), use a pastry brush if you have one to do this, if not use a spoon,

Let them boil for about 20 – 25 minutes, until they are fork tender,

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Drain the potatoes, add the block of cream cheese and start to mash to melt it,

Then add 1/2 of the evaporated milk and continue to mash,

As you mash, make sure there aren’t large clumps of cream cheese,

Then add the remaining evaporated milk and continue to mash,

Don’t panic if it looks a little soupy, when you bake it in the oven the potatoes will get very rich and creamy,

Add about 1 tsp of salt,

Then add about 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper,

Then add 1 tsp of onion powder to the potatoes, this will give the potatoes this distinct taste that will have people wondering what it is that makes them taste so good! ;)

Mash it one last time to incorporate everything,

Pour the mashed potatoes into the baking dish,

Spread the potatoes evenly with some pressure to make sure that there are no air bubbles,

Then spread the cheese (I prefer to use a milder cheese like mozzarella instead of cheddar) evenly over the entire baking dish,

Then put the baking dish in the oven and let it bake for about 25 – 30 minutes (make sure the oven is preheated to 400 degrees),

Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, usually 25 – 30 minutes is more than enough to get a crispy topping over creamy potatoes, when it’s ready remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving,

A serving of these delicious baked mashed potatoes will make a wonderful side dish to any meal, they are also pretty delicious all by themselves, yum! :)

Buen Provecho! ;)

Dominican style Whole Roasted Chicken/Pollo Horneado Entero Dominicano


Whether it’s for regular family meals, parties or holidays, there is no doubt that roasted is one of the main dishes that is usually on the menu.  I like to use a method called “sudar” which means “sweating” to pre-cook the chicken.  It’s a wonderful method that infuses the bird with lots of flavor from the marinade.

 

To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

1 Whole Chicken
1 tsp Ground Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 Limes
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Aji Gustoso
1/2 Cup Vinegar (optional)
4 Bay Leaves
2 tbsp Olive Oil

To begin, take the chicken out of the package and make sure to remove the giblets from the inside if it has some.  You can discard the giblets or cook them in the dish if you are fond of them (like me :) ), the chicken I’m cooking today is about 6 lbs,

Rinse the chicken with some fresh water, then add 1/2 cup of vinegar and some water, let it soak for a few minutes,

After letting it soak, rinse the chicken with some fresh water.  When cleaning the chicken make sure to rinse the inside as well, then drain it,

Put the chicken in a large container to begin to season it.  Add 1 tsp of salt,

Then 1/2 tsp ground black pepper,

Then add 1 tsp of ground oregano,

You can add the bay leaves later when it’s time to “sweat” the chicken.  But I usually add them to the marinade so I don’t forget to add them later on, :)

Then add 1 tbsp of olive oil,

Add the garlic cloves finely chopped or mashed,

Then squeeze the juice of both limes over the chicken,

I like to add one aji gustoso to the marinade because it gives the chicken a nice punch of flavor,

They can be found easily in the Spanish grocery stores and some supermarkets carry them as well.  If you can’t find them, just omit it from the dish (or use a piece of cubanelle pepper), just make sure to get the ones that are not really hot (they are usually red).  Remove the seeds and finely chop the chile, then add it to the chicken,

After adding all of the ingredients, rub everything on the chicken (if you have disposable gloves use them, it will be less messy),

Make sure to rub the marinade on both sides as well as inside the chicken,

Once the chicken is marinated, let it hang out for atleast an hour so that it can absorb the flavors of the marinade.  If you are in a rush, you can cook it immediately because the “sweating” process will infuse lots of flavor into the bird.  I usually marinate it the night before I cook it for better flavor,

To begin the cooking process, take a large pot and add 1 tbsp of olive oil, put it on high heat.

Let the oil get really hot (until it starts to smoke), then add the chicken breast side down and let it sear for about 4 – 5 minutes.

Then flip the chicken over to the other side, don’t panic if the skin breaks a little, :)

Let the second side sear for another 4 minutes or so, then add the liquid from the marinade and the giblets.

Stir the chicken to make sure it’s not stuck to the bottom of the pot, then cover it, put the heat on medium high and let it “sweat” for about 35 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, take a roasting pan (I HIGHLY recommend the roasting pan that has a rack inside to hold the bird), line it with aluminum foil for easier cleanup,

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees, after 35 minutes of “sweating” the chicken, take it out of the pot and place it on the roasting pan.  I usually remove it from the pot by sticking a large spoon inside the chicken lifting it out,

Do not discard the juices in the pot that are left over,

After placing the bird on the roasting rack, pour some of the juices over it,

Then place in the oven (make sure the oven has reached the temperature of 400 degrees) and let it roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (if you want a darker bird).

If you have a timer, set it to 15 minutes, then when times up, pull the chicken out and baste it with the juices from the pot, make sure to pour some over the giblets as well,

Then set the timer for another 15 minutes, after times up baste the chicken a second time (at this point it’s been cooking for 30 minutes),

Then set the timer for another 15 minutes, when times up baste the chicken for the third time (at this point it’s been roasting for 45 minutes),

Then let it bake for another 15 minutes (at this point it’s been roasting for 1 hour), by now it should be thoroughly cooked, one way to verify is with a meat thermometer and checking the temperature in the thickest part of the breast (it should read 180 degrees).  Another way of checking is to cut a small piece and check to ensure the juices run clear.

If you want a darker bird, let it bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.  Keep in mind the longer you cook it, the drier the breast meat will become, therefore, be careful not to overcook the chicken,

After taking it out of the oven, cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes (do not cut it right away so the juices don’t seep out),

While the chicken is resting, if you have some left over drippings in the pot you can make a gravy.  This is completely optional and there are several ways to make the gravy, but this is method I prefer.

Take the left over drippings,

Add it to a small saucepan, then add 1 tsp of cornstarch that has been dissolved in some cold water,

Let it come up to a boil and you’ll notice how thick it begins to get, then add some chicken stock to thin it out, if you don’t have chicken stock, you can use a small piece of a chicken bouillon (don’t use a whole one) and add some water to dissolve it.  Add the liquid slowly to make the gravy as thick or as thin as you prefer,

Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, if you have some fresh or dried cilantro, add some to the gravy for extra flavor.  Turn the heat off after letting it cook for a few minutes,

Then pour the gravy through a strainer to make sure that the gravy is smooth with a velvety texture,

You can serve the gravy on the side, or you can pour it under the roasted chicken on the serving platter (like I did below),

Put some lime wedges on the sides of the chicken for a lovely presentation, :)

The chicken comes out moist, tender and flavorful every time!  Serve it with your favorite sides and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, yum! :)

Buen Provecho! ;)

 

Dominican Style Meringue Frosting/Suspiro Dominicano


Meringue frosting is my favorite kind of frosting ever!!  :D   My mom taught me how to make it when I was pregnant because I was constantly craving a bowl of “suspiro” without any cake.  Making meringue frosting can be tricky, but once you get the technique down it’s really not difficult.  Just remember to keep your utensils dry (moisture will make your frosting watery) and add the dissolved sugar syrup slowly.  This recipe can also be found in my recipe post for a Dominican cake.

This recipe makes enough frosting for a 1-pound cake (with some left over) or about 36 cupcakes.  To make it, you will need the following ingredients:

1 Cup Egg Whites (about 5 Egg Whites)
3 Cups of Sugar
1 Cup of Water
2 Strips of Lime Peel

To begin, make sure the egg whites are at room temperature (do not use cold egg whites, it will not turn out right if you do), place them in a large bowl and set aside,

Take a small sauce pan, put it on medium-high heat and add 1 cup of water,

Then add 3 cups of sugar,

Take 1 lime and trim off a couple of pieces of the peel,

Make sure to only peel the green part, trim the excess white part off because if you leave it that will make the syrup bitter,

Add it to the sugar and water, then mix well to dissolve,

While the syrup starts to get hot and becomes translucent, let’s start to beat the egg whites.

For my particular stand mixer, it doesn’t beat the egg whites well enough unless I detach the mixer and do it by hand since I can detach the mixer from the stand.

Start to beat the egg whites at high speed, the egg whites will start to get frothy,

Continue to beat until they become a thick foamy consistency,

Make sure to get good contact with the bottom of the bowl to mix all of the egg whites.  When they are nice and stiff, you can stop mixing and wait for the syrup to be ready,

When the syrup is boiling and translucent (it will look clear without sugar grains), let it cook for a couple of minutes (you don’t want it to turn dark brown, just ensure all of the sugar is completely dissolved), then turn the heat off,

Scoop out the lime peels and discard them, you don’t want them to land in your frosting :)

Then start to the beat the egg whites at high speed again and very slowly start to add the syrup,

Add a few tablespoons of the syrup at a time, set the syrup aside and make sure to beat the egg whites well by rotating the bowl,

Then continue to add the syrup slowly,

Add a little at a time then stop and continue to beat and rotate the bowl,

Continue this process until you’ve added all of the syrup, (It’s fine if you have a small amount left over)

Continue to beat, the frosting will get thick and stiff,

After adding the syrup, add 1 tsp of white vanilla,

Beat for a few minutes making sure to get good contact with the bottom and the sides of the bowl so that all of the frosting is thoroughly mixed, then turn the mixer off and lift the blades.  You should see some stiff peaks and the frosting will be thick and smooth.  You can also stick a clean dry spoon in and give it a taste. :) (ALWAYS use DRY utensils when working with frosting)

Now, you can use the frosting for a cake, or pour it in some dessert glasses or bowls to serve for dessert (it’s good with maraschino cherries on top)! Yum! :)

Buen Provecho! ;)

Quick Dominican Style Spaghetti and Chicken/Espaguetis con Pollo Rapido


I love this particular recipe because it’s very quick to make since it requires boneless chicken and very flavorful like the traditional way to make it.  On the days I get home from work and I want to have dinner on the table in a rush, this dish definitely hits the spot!

 

This recipe serves 4 people generously and to make it, you will need the following ingredients:

4 Large Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Oregano
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Achiote Oil (Aceite de Bija)
1 Lime (large)
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro
5 Cups Pasta Sauce (1 regular sized jar)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup of Vinegar (optional)
1 lb of Thin Spaghetti (may use regular spaghetti)

First, let’s give the chicken breasts a vinegar bath.  You can use limes if you prefer, but I find that using vinegar to clean certain meats is quick, inexpensive and very effective!  Just add about 1/2 cup of vinegar and some water and let the chicken soak for a couple of minutes,

Then rinse it with plenty of fresh water.

Drain the chicken breasts and place on a cutting board to cut,

Since these chicken breasts pretty big, I’m going to cut them into 3 large pieces (you can cut them into smaller pieces if you prefer, but I find that the dish is heartier with bigger pieces),

After cutting, place in a bowl and let’s start to season.  Add 1 tsp of salt (you can add less if you prefer and adjust the level later, but I find that 1 tsp is the perfect amount for me),

Then add about 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper,

Add 1 tsp of ground oregano,

Then add 1 tsp of garlic powder,

Add 1 tbsp of Achiote oil (aceite de bija, may substitute with 1 tsp of ground achiote/bija), be careful when working with achiote/bija because it is very difficult to remove the stain from your counter-tops if you spill it,

Then add the juice of 1 large lime (if you use smaller limes, use 2),

Mix the chicken with the seasonings until it’s well incorporated (I suggest you use a spoon),

Once the chicken is marinated, you can let it hang out overnight for better flavor, but if you are in a rush and want to cook it immediately, that’s okay! :)   It will still be very tasty if you cook immediately after marinating.

To begin the cooking process, take a large skillet and add about 2 tbsp of olive oil to it and put on high heat.

Let the oil get nice and hot (it’s ready when it starts to smoke), then add the chicken pieces (I suggest you use tongs so you don’t get splattered with oil) and you will hear a loud sizzle.  Don’t add the marinade liquid, set it aside for later,

While the chicken is cooking, take a pot and fill it halfway with water, cover it then put it on the stove on high heat, this will be for the pasta,

I prefer to use thin spaghetti instead of the regular, also, I discovered that using this particular brand of whole wheat spaghetti is really delicious and my family can’t tell the difference that it’s not the regular white pasta. ;)   If you prefer the white pasta, just use that instead, set it aside until the pasta water is ready,

Let the chicken sear for about 6 – 8 minutes until the chicken starts to get a golden crust,

Then flip the pieces over and let the other side cook for about 6 – 8 minutes as well,

After letting the second side cook for a few minutes, add 3 cloves of finely chopped or mashed garlic,

Stir the chicken with the garlic and let it cook for about 1 minute until fragrant,

Then add 1 cup of white wine (may use cooking wine as well), (use a spatula to deg-laze the pan),

Then add the left over marinade liquid,

Mix all of the items well and let it cook for a few minutes (3 – 5 minutes) and let the wine reduce a little bit,

Then add 1 jar of pasta sauce (I usually use the Ragu brand, but you may use any brand you prefer) which is about 5 cups,

Then add about 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro (may substitute with 1 tbsp of dried cilantro),

Mix well and let the items come up to light boil,

Then cover the pot and lower the heat to medium temperature and let it simmer until the pasta is ready to be added.

At this point, the pasta water should be boiling away.  Add about 1 tbsp of salt to the boiling water,

Then add the pasta, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick together,

Cook the pasta until it’s tender, with thin spaghetti it takes about 10 minutes,

Then drain the pasta and add it to the sauce and chicken and stir, turn the heat off of the sauce when you stir so that the sauce doesn’t dry out,

After stirring, let the pasta hang out for a few minutes and serve!  It’s a hearty meal, I usually serve it on it’s own.  But it’s delicious accompanied by tostones, white rice or the classic companion, garlic bread! Yum! :)

Buen Provecho! ;)