Its really not that difficult to master a few traditional Dominican dishes, as the main and most important ingredients in all Dominican recipes are a little bit of time and a lot of love. Why not try to replicate a few of the delicious Dominican dishes in your own home? Since there are so many recipes to choose from and you are just getting started, we will provide you with our three favorite Dominican recipes. You can start with one, but if you are feeling brave, try all three!
Because Dominican food consists of various ethnic backgrounds such as Taino, African, Spanish and Middle Eastern, a variety of spices, vegetables and meats contribute to the creation of these mouth-watering dishes. The Dominican Republic is a true melting pot of flavor providing Dominican food with its edge.
Let’s first begin with Bandera. Its proper name is La Bandera Dominicana, commonly known as the Dominican Flag. This is by far one of the most popular dishes created in the Dominican Republic, because it’s so easily tailored to accommodate just about anyone’s tastes and is widely known as a comfort food! An accompaniment to most dishes is rice and beans, but Bandera is cooked differently than one might think. The rice is cooked to specification and is always on the crispy side. The beans are cooked with salt, garlic and oregano and you can add anything your heart desires to enhance the flavor, such as onions, peppers, tomatoes or plantains. The heart of the dish is the meat. Of course, most commonly used is chicken, but you can substitute beef, goat or even pork. Keep in mind that the key to cooking the meat is to stew it. You must stew it and you must use tomatoes and onions to do this. Caramelize sugar, sear the meat and simmer. Simmer for hours! This is a dish you can leave on the stovetop while you go about your business in your home, checking on it throughout the day. It is an easy and delicious dish that is guaranteed to fill your need for a delectable Dominican meal.
Ingredients (Beef Marinade):
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion
A handful of parsley
1 lb beef top round steak
Wash the beef and place it in a large bowl. Add the chopped garlic, onions and parsley. Add about a teaspoon of ground pepper. Season with a few sprinkles of adobo powder… about 1/2 tablespoon. Add 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. After refrigeration, heat up a skillet on medium-high heat and add the steaks. Turn them so they cook on both sides and cover them. After 10 minutes the meat should be mostly cooked. Remove the steaks and place them on a plate.
1 tsp of canola or vegetable oil
1 cup of chicken stock
1 large can of red beans
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Adobo seasoning powder
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
Apple cider vinegar
Chop up the onion and celery in chunks. Peel the garlic but leave whole and tie up the parsley into a knot. Heat up the oil and add the onions, garlic and celery until the onion starts getting brown. Add the beans and the parsley. Next, add 1/2 tbs of dry oregano and about 1/2 tbs of Adobo. Mix that well and add the tomato paste. Add one cup of chicken stock. If you are vegetarian, add vegetable stock or water. If adding water just make sure to add a little bit more Adobo to taste. Mix well until the tomato paste is mostly dissolved. Cook covered on medium-low heat. Once they are boiling add a splash of vinegar. Mix the vinegar in and lower the heat once they start boiling so they don’t burn. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the skillet where the steaks were cooking (do not throw away the juices the steak gave out). Add a cup of water or chicken stock and dissolve the tomato paste as much as you can. Add the steaks to the skillet and cover. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes. While the beans and the beef cook, heat up some oil on a skillet and fry a few slices of yellow plantains. Fry a yellow (maduro) plantain in canola oil and serve them with the bandera.
Sancocho, what a superbly tasting stew! It’s a big meal, so make sure to invite all of your friends and family over to enjoy this hearty dish. Sancocho is made from all manners of meat with a sour orange flair. You can use whatever meats are readily available to you as traditional Dominican stew consists of beef, chicken, pork, pork chops, pork bones, sausage and goat. If possible, soak or marinate your meat overnight with spices and orange juice first. Combine onions, peppers (green and red), hot peppers, lime, salt, pepper, oregano, potatoes, corn, green bananas, (in various amounts) and let it simmer. Once you have cooked your meat, add it to your vegetables. This all takes some time and patience but its well worth it, and will soon become second nature.
1 (10-ounce) package Dominican longaniza sausage (optional)
3 quarts plus 1 1/2 cups water, divided
3 quarts plus 1 1/2 cups water, divided
1/4 pound bacon (4 slices), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (1-pound) beef shank (1 1/2 inches thick)
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 chicken thighs with skin and bone
1 large onion, chopped
1 Cubanelle or other mild frying pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (4 to 5 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems (from 2 bunches)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound unripe (green) plantains
1 pound yuca
1 pound ñame
1 pound white yautía
1 pound calabaza (Caribbean pumpkin; often sold in large wedges) or butternut squash
2 ears corn, cut into 1 1/2-inch rounds
6 tablespoons fresh Seville orange juice (or 3 tbl of regular fresh orange juice and 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Accompaniments: white rice; hot sauce; sliced avocado
Garnish: chopped cilantro
Cook longaniza (if using) with 1/2 cup water in a 12-inch heavy skillet, covered, over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, then transfer to an 8-quart pot. Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, then transfer to pot with a slotted spoon, reserving fat in skillet. Meanwhile, cut meat from beef shank into 1 1/2-inch pieces, reserving bone. Pat beef, pork, and chicken dry, putting them in separate bowls. Toss meat in each bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat fat in skillet over medium-high heat until hot, then add beef and bone in 1 layer and brown, turning occasionally, about 7 minutes. Transfer to pot with slotted spoon. Brown pork and chicken in separate batches in same manner, transferring to pot. Add onion, peppers, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet and sauté until softened. Add 1 cup water and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute. Transfer vegetable mixture to pot. Add cilantro stems, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 quarts water to pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam, then simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. While meat simmers, cut ends from plantains with a sharp small knife, then cut a lengthwise slit through peel. Beginning at slit, pry off peel, then cut plantains crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Trim ends from yuca and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, then peel, removing waxy brown skin and pinkish layer underneath. Quarter lengthwise and cut out coarse center fiber. Peel ñame and yautía, then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and keep in a bowl of cold water. Seed and peel calabaza, then cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Add plantain and yuca to tender meat in pot and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Drain ñame and yautía and add to pot along with calabaza, then simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Remove and discard beef and chicken bones. Add corn and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and all root vegetables are very tender (yuca should be translucent), 10 to 15 minutes. Sancocho broth should be slightly thickened from root vegetables; thin with additional water if necessary. Stir in juice and reheat, then season with salt and pepper.
Last but certainly not least, try your hand at Boniato fries. Boniato fries are a white sweet potato side dish and it is amazingly simple to create. Boniato fries can be paired with anything. This yummy side dish is extremely popular in the Dominican Republic and can be found everywhere. Remember, it is made from the white sweet potato, not the popular orange or any other color potato. First, you must wash and peel the sweet potato, followed by slicing it into thin slices. Use a mandarin, it makes cutting that much easier and faster. Fry these cute little slices in hot, hot oil until both sides are slightly brown. When they’re done, simply remove each slice, place them onto paper towels, and salt. You can literally use any seasoning under the sun; just make sure to do it while the Boniato fries are still hot. Now eat, enjoy and repeat. It’s that easy!
Wash and peel the boniatos. Cut into round slices. Fry in abundant hot oil and turn once until lightly browned on both sides and fully cooked inside. Drain excess oil on paper towel or wire mesh and season with salt to taste.
Dominican food is both fun and easy to make, and most of the delicious dishes don’t take much time at all. Remember, Dominican recipes are just like the country they come from, beautiful, fun and flavorful.