A Yankee Cooks Dominican Sancocho Stew

Last summer I had the chance of sharing at the AP US History Reading in Tampa with Mr. Rumley, an amazingly experienced US History teacher and a great fan of cooking. We talked a lot about food and I eventually shared my Sancocho recipe with him. Here’s his very interesting article. I’m very proud of his amazing job at interpreting sancocho.

A Yankee Cooks Dominican Sancocho Stew

By Michael Rumley

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I had the good fortune to attend the 2017 AP US History reading in Tampa Florida in early June.

One of the neat things is meeting other history teachers from around the nation and getting to know a little bit about them. My fortune only got better when I was seated next to Arturo Feliz-Camilo who hails from the Dominican Republic. I learned so much over the week about the history and culture of the DR as it is called. But, especially about the food. Arturo and I share a common love of cooking and how lucky was I to have the ear of one of the authorities on Dominican food.

It seems he has written cookbooks on Dominican cuisine, maintains a food blog, and has put on cooking demonstrations in front of crowds. My expertise centers around BBQ contests, food preservation, and preparing tasty food for family and friends. Right now, my cooking was being influenced by Asian ingredients but I must say that Arturo’s recipe with Latin American tubers may change that.

It all started when I asked him what would be the DR’s signature national dish. “Sancocho” was the reply. Back at the hotel a little research on the web on Sancocho revealed that just about all Latin American countries has their own version of Sancocho. Many countries prepare it as a soup but the Dominicans like it as a stew. The remaining part of the week was perfecting the recipe. Arturo was concerned that Central California would not have many of the ingredients found in the DR. However, I told him that we have a sizable Latin population and several Latin American super grocery stores. I could find just about all the ingredients in the recipe at Vallarta’s Supermarket in Fresno. Arturo said to take pictures and let him know how it turned out.   So here is a Yankee cooking Sancocho Dominican Stew.

Step 1: To thicken the stew Arturo recommended using mashed Butternut Squash as he did not think I would be able to find a “cooking” pumpkin. I proved him wrong as it turns out. Vallarta’s had several varieties so I went out on a limb and picked out a Kabocha pumpkin. Delish! As it turns out I used both! I admit I bought the squash already cut up and steamed it for 10 minutes and then mashed it and then set it aside to be added at the end. It added a nice orange color to the stew.

squash

squash

Step 2 Making the Broth: Pictured below are the aromatics that I used in making the broth:

Herbs and seasonings

Herbs and seasonings

Onions, garlic, celery, chicken bouillon, oregano, cilantro, (I added 4 sprigs of thyme just because I like the flavor), and an Anaheim chili pepper. Arturo’s recipe called for a Cubanelle pepper but they are not in season yet so I made an executive decision. Also, note that I tied up the cilantro and thyme with some kitchen twine to make removal easier.

The heart of the broth is the beef. After much discussion, we decided that about a pound of the beef shank or beef spare rib would make the most flavorful broth especially since I would be using a pressure cooker. I used both! They both have fat and bones! I browned the meat in a teaspoon oil to “release the flavonoids” via the Maillard Reaction, added the aromatics, water, and set the pressure cooker to 10 pounds of pressure. Fifteen minutes later I had created a delicious broth! After everything cooled down I could remove the meat (It was falling off the bone) and pour the broth into the soup pot, through a strainer to remove the solids. I checked and added about 1 teaspoon sea salt. I let the broth come up to a simmer and let it reduce a bit while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

beef shank

beef shank

Step 3 Preparing the tubers, roots, and pumpkin: Below is a picture of the tubers I used. I must admit I had never tasted any of these before. Arturo calls them “viveres.” The pumpkin required a little additional work. Of note: The cassava or yucca root is listed as one of the five super foods that reduce arthritic pain. It will now be a staple in our household. The “green banana” was not quite as green as I think Arturo would want. Vallarta’s only carries the white yautia. There was supposed to be a yellow one.

To prepare the pumpkin you have to cut it in half, then cut it into quarters and then into eighths. Put it into the microwave on high for 5 minutes. You will be then able to cut it into chunks removing the tough outer skin.

squash

squash

Step 4 Preparing the meat: Vallarta’s has a wide variety of “chorizo.” They have a whole section devoted to the different sausages that are used in Latin American cooking. In the Fresno area because of the heavy Mexican influence chorizo means a loose pork sausage that is taken out of its casing, fried, and then mixed into other dishes. Longanizza sausage is usually cut into chunks and is eaten with the casing on. To quick brown, the meat Arturo recommended the Cibao trick of using a caramel. Cibao I have learned is a region of the DR in the north. Basically, you brown the meat in oil in which sugar has been added. This will give the meat a nice brown hue.

Pictured are the chicken thighs, sausage, smoked pork chops. Also, the beef shank and sparerib that were previously cooked in the broth

Step 5 Everyone into the Pool: The last step is to add the browned meat and the “viveres” to the broth. I made the command decision to add the Butternut Squash pulp and it made it the right consistency. Not too thick and not to thin. Bring up to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Top off each bowl with some cilantro and a tablespoon of sour orange juice. Now it’s time to grab a cerveza and enjoy!

starting stew

starting stew

Sancocho Dominican Stew

Ingredients

  1. 2 bones in, skin on Chicken thighs (bone in) cut into quarters.
  2. 1 pound Beef Shank
  3. 1/2 pound bone-in short rib
  4. 2 links (1/2 pound) Longanizza sausage cut into ½ slices on the bias
  5. ½ pound smoked pork chop 1-inch cubes (can use Bacon)
  6. 1 medium butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes, steamed and mashed
  7. 1 Kabocha pumpkin cut into 1-inch cubes
  8. 2 medium white onions cut in half skin removed
  9. 2 Cubanelle Peppers cut in half (Can use 1 Anaheim)
  10. 1 bunch cilantro + 4-6 stems thyme tied with kitchen twine
  11. 2 celery ribs with leaves left whole
  12. 6 cloves garlic peeled
  13. ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  14. 1 Plantain cut into 1-inch slices
  15. 1 pound Yucca, cut into 1 inch slices
  16. 1 lb white yautia cut into 1-inch cubes
  17. 2 green banana cut into 1-inch slices
  18. 1 chicken bouillon cube
  19. 1 Tablespoon sour orange juice per plate
  20. Salt for seasoning

Process

  1. Steam and mash the butternut squash and set aside in a bowl. You will use this as the thickener.
  2. Brown beef shank and short rib in the pressure cooker
  3. Add onions, celery, pepper, garlic cloves, bouillon cube, and oregano to pressure cooker. Add water to cover beef shank and ribs by 3 times. This turned out to be 3 and ½ liters.
  4. Pressure cook beef shank and ribs for 15 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Let cool and remove the meat to a plate. Remove the meat from the bones.
  5. Remove solids and pour broth through a strainer into the soup pot. Bring to a boil and reduce liquid to 3 liters.
  6. In a large sauté pan or Wok, create a Carmel by heating ¼ cup veg oil with 2 tablespoons sugar., When sugar bubbles, add chicken, pork chop, and sausage meat, stir-frying to coat and brown. Remove to a plate.
  7. Add beef, chicken, pork chop, sausage, plantain, cassava, bananas, Kabocha pumpkin and yautias to the soup pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  8. Add squash pulp a spoonful at a time to liquid to thicken to your desired consistency.  I ended up using all the squash pulp. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  9. Add 1 tablespoon sour orange juice to each bowl.

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Tostones and fried eggs – Dominican breakfasts

Tostones and fried eggs

Dominican breakfasts 

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Today we share another very traditional Dominican breakfast.

The plantain is very probably the most popular fruit in the Dominican Republic. We eat it in many different ways.

huevo frito

a perfectly fried egg

Plantain is so popular that a common phrase of Dominican pride is “I’m more Dominican than plantain” (“yo soy más dominicano que ‘l plátano”)

Plantain is also a rule in popular Dominican dishes such as the famous  Dominican Sancocho. A sancocho without plantain is not technically a sancocho. It’s that big.

Tostones or fried plantains are highly appreciated by Dominicans and a very common street food as well. Generally a side for a few slices of fried salami.

Tostones are very well known because they have transcended the borders of the Caribbean (It’s also a very popular dish in most Caribbean countries) and found their way to the highest of the high cuisine restaurants in the world.

huevo frito

tostones and fried eggs

Fried eggs are not very practical for the paper bag in which street vendors generally serve tostones and salami, which is why fried eggs and tsotones is more of a homemade breakfast than a street one. In the countryside it is generally sided by avocado.

These are what I call 1/3 (one thirds) because I make only three out of a plantain, which makes for a larger tostón. That’s not really impressive considering some street vendors do a tostón out of a plantain sometimes (which makes for a truly huge tostón)

A plantain allows for around 7 regular tostones.

Hope you enjoy the pics.

A big hug from the warm Caribbean!

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Dominican sweet beans

 Dominican sweet beans

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The Dominican sweet beans recipe is one that is very close to every Dominican’s heart.

Dominicans sweet beans can be enjoyed at any time and in any season, but for some inexplicable reason, it is rarely seen outside of the Catholic time of lent.

Dominican sweet beans is a dessert (even though we enjoy it at any time of day during lent) and it’s prepared from a base red bean cream. It is very similar to the creamy stewed red beans that Dominicans enjoy as part of “The flag” (The traditional national dish of white rice, stewed beans and stewed meat) but instead of bean savory it’s sweet.

habichuelas con dulce dominicanas

Dominican sweet beans

Ingredients for preparing great Dominican sweet beans

  1. 1 lb. red kidney beans
  2. 2 cans evaporated milk (315 g)
  3. 1 can condensed milk (315 g)
  4. ¼ lb. sweet potato (Dominican sweet potato is a different variety than American sweet potato. Dominican sweet potato is green)
  5. Small round milk cookies (traditional for sweet beans).
  6. 2 small raisins boxes
  7. Sugar. (Adjust to taste. It’ supposed to be sweet but not everyone likes the same level of sweetness)
  8. A sprinkle of salt.
  9. A sprinkle of clover, nutmeg and cinnamon.
habichuelas con dulce dominicanas

Dominican sweet beans

Preparing Dominican sweet beans

Soften (pressure cooker makes the job easier), blend and strain your beans.

They are supposed to be creamy but clean of any peel.

Start your pot and put the bean cream in.

Add your sweet potatoes, evaporated and condensed milk.

When your sweet potatoes are soft, add a sprinkle of salt, add as much sugar as needed to attain the level of sweetness you like and turn off.

Some of us enjoy hot while some enjoy cool. If you enjoy cool then take the refrigerator and cool.

When ready to eat, add the cookies and raisins and enjoy!

Enjoy the pictures!

habichuelas con dulce dominicanas

Dominican sweet beans

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Aroma de la Montaña Restaurant invites Chef Arturo Féliz-Camilo

Arturo Féliz-Camilo – Guest Chef – Aroma de la Montaña Restaurant 

Friday, July 18th to Sunday, July 20th 2014

We have been sharing our recipes for years on our blogs and sites. The idea has always been to promote Dominican culture and cuisine first and foremost and then also, Caribbean culture and cuisine (mostly Puerto Rico’s, due to my Puerto Rican heritage, childhood memories and feelings)

Aroma de la Montaña

Aroma de la Montaña Restaurant

We also decided a long time ago that food would be the most important thing in our site. That may be the reason why so few of our own pics have found their way to our site.

Today we find ourselves in the spotlight. We have been summoned by Restaurante Aroma de la Montaña in the Jamaca de Dios complex in the amazingly beautiful city of Jarabacoa on the Dominican Republic mountains.

We have accepted the invitation to be Guest Chef this coming weekend.

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We seldom cook for public events, which is why we invite everyone in the Dominican Republic, especially those running from the heat of the summer, to share with us in the high mountains of Jarabacoa the magnificently fresh breeze and a very special, traditional and gourmet dish I have designed for this weekend.

I promise you won’t be disappointed. As usual, we have prepared for awe.

Arturo Féliz-Camilo

Arturo Féliz-Camilo

A big hug from the warm Caribbean, which won’t be so warm this weekend, as we move to the usually cool breeze of the mountains of Jarabacoa, in the heart of Cordillera Central, the highest mountain chain in the Caribbean.

We will be sharing our weekend pics live through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Dominican pumpkin and eggs – Dominican breakfasts

Dominican pumpkin and eggs

Dominican breakfasts 

 

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Dominican pumpkin (similar to some varieties of squash) is a very popular meal. It’s a very popular Dominican breakfast generally made boiled and as a side for fried or stewed salami or fried eggs.

This is another of the Dominican breakfasts pics we have been collecting.

Auyama con huevo frito

Pumpkin with fried egg

Dominican pumpkin or squash is widely consumed. We like it boiled (as in the pic) but we also use it to add creaminess to some of our stews, including Dominican Sancocho and Dominican stewed red beans

Huevo frito con auyama

fried eggs and “auyama” (Dominican pumpkin)

“Auyama” as Dominicans call it it’s also used widely to provide color to many dishes.

We leave you these pics and hope you enjoy them!

A big hug from the warm Caribbean!

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Sweet potato and fried eggs – Dominican Breakfasts

Sweet potato and fried eggs

 Dominican Breakfasts

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Today we share a very traditional Dominican breakfast.

We have been collecting traditional Dominican breakfast pictures and we want to share some with you.

huevo frito

Fried egg

Sweet potato is highly favored by Dominicans. We eat it roasted, fried, boiled and in many other ways in a wide variety of recipes.

The one you see in the pictures is simply boiled and then served with fried eggs and some sauted caramelized onions on top. Simple and delicious.

batata y cebollitas

Sweet potato and caramelized onions

Enjoy the pictures.

A big hug from the warm Caribbean.

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Meat scrapings and fried sweet potato

Meat scrapings and fried sweet potato

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This is a true jewel of dominican cooking.

Because of the obssesion with fat in today’s eating world, these kind of traditions have been progressively lost.

Meat scrapings, as something that you don’t do every day, is totally acceptable. Granted, it will have a much higher sodium content as it is salty; it will be higher in fat, but nothing a healthy person can’t enjoy, especially because it’s not something you do every day and…let’s be honest, this is amazingly delicious!

batatas fritas con zurrapa de carne

fried sweet potatoes with meat scrapings

Ok. So, what’s the deal with meat scrapings?

The “history of meat scrapings”

In the Dominican countryside since times as far back as we can remember dishes like stewed chicken meatstewed beef and chicharrón (pork or chicken cracklings) have been very common.

These dishes, generally leave a residue in the bottom of the pot, a scraping or “zurrapa”, which is why Dominicans LOVE the bottom of the pot.

A large spoon is used to scrape the bottom of the pot and then eat it with Dominican “viveres” (tubers, starchy roots like yuca and musaceae)

In the picture, we fried some Dominican sweet potatoes (slightly different from American sweet potatoes)

batatas fritas con zurrapa de carne

fried sweet potatoes and meat scrapings

Hope you enjoy the pics and for those Dominicans who have been away from the homeland for some time, maybe bring back some memories!

A big hug from the warm Caribbean!

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Caribbean warmth Fidelity Program – June 2014

“Caribbean Warmth “

Caribbean Warmth Fidelity Rewards Program – June 2014

This month’s FREE downloading day is going to be:

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Remember all you need to do is visit Amazon and find our books.

 

Arturo Feliz Camilo libros

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