Hello amigos, first I want to welcome all of you to my blog and my first posting. In addition, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the blog and how it came about. The truth is that I am obsessed about anything that has to do with food. I am always writing, testing and collecting recipes and thought a blog was a good way to share my food, not only with all the friends that are always asking for my recipes, but also with those future friends that in the future might became interested on connecting with me through this blog. I am hoping also, to share with you some of the techniques and cooking knowledge that I learned in cooking school.
The idea has been in my mind for a while now, but I have been putting it off for a long time. The idea is not very pretentious; it is a simple project that I wanted to share with the world.
That said I like to take the opportunity to tell those friends who do not know me well a little bit more about myself. Currently, I am a stay home mom and I live in New York City,Queens. I share my life with my husband Ben and my 17 months old, Christopher. I also share my life with my sister Carmen and my nephew Marco who live two apartments away. Apart from cooking, some of my other passions are reading and traveling. Both these hobbies are pretty much in hold at the moment because of my little one takes much of my time, however, from time to time I travel to my Country, the Dominican Republic, and also take time to see my In-laws and friends living in other states. Again, I want to take a few more minutes to motivate all of you to share with me your culinary ideas.
I like to welcome all of you as we say in the Dominican Republic with a good Dominican Sancocho. As many of you are not familiar with this dish, I took the liberty to do a little research about a traditional Sancocho.
To start, I like to say that for many countries in Latin American, a Sancocho is considered a national symbol. Countries such as Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica y Puerto Rico, just to mention a few, are familiar with this dish and see the dish as part of their identity.
In the Dominican Republic our sancocho is considered a national dish which is served year round. I know it is very hot and most people would not think of eating this dish in a hot summer day, but in the DR as well as in most Latin countries the dish is a national delight and it is eaten any time of the year. It is served mostly at dinner time, and for all special occasions. It’s said that it originated in the Spanish Canary Islands as a fish stew soup instead of meat as it is eaten today.
In the DR from north to south many versions can be found, the famous seven meat being one of the most famous. One thing though is true to the Latin version of this dish is that it contains at least one or many different kinds of meats, which are cooked together with many different kinds of root vegetables or tubers. Ah, let’s not forget to serve it with white rice and avocado, for a perfect finish.
In my mother time’s and still today in some area of the DR this dish was prepared in El fogon (outdoor fireplace made with stone and cement blocks or clay) which was and still is my favorite method to prepare it.
This dish is versatile as you can add and subtracts ingredients and can be adjusted to your taste. My favorite remark to the dish is that to many of us this dish brings us back to remember happy and memorable moments. What Latin person won’t remember friends and families getting together in grandpa and grandma’s house, the countries sites, or a friend gets together party? Recordar is vivir, so remember when you eat this dish think only on having fun, Enjoy.
Here is my family version of the Dominican Sancocho with a twist of my own.
- The meats and aromatics:
- 2 lbs. of red meat (with bones/chopped 1 ½ inch)
- 1 lb. Dominican smoke ham (chopped 1 ½ inch)
- 2 lbs. of pork (ribs or chunk) / (chopped 1 ½ inch)
- 2 lbs. chicken parts of your choice with bones chopped
- 1 lbs. Sausage (Argentinian or Dominican) (chopped 1 ½ inch)
- 1 Teaspoon of sugar (to braise meat)
- The aromatics and seasonings:
- 6 cloves of garlic finally minced
- 1 large white onion diced
- 1 green Italian pepper cut in half or diced
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano (or fresh)
- 1 tablespoon of Goya bitter orange sazon
- 1 bitter orange or 2 limes/lemon
- Fresh cilantro plus 1 or 2 cilantro stems
- 3 sprig thymes
- 1-2 Laurel
- 1-2 celery ribs (optional) cut in long pieces
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 4 tablespoon oil
- 2 Chicken bouillon cubes
- For the root vegetables – all cut the same size about 2 inches:
- 3 unripe (green) plantains – cut on a bias
- 4 unripe (green) banana - cut on a bias
- 2 lbs. fresh yucca (cassava)
- 1 ½ lb. fresh white yautia
- 1 ½ yellow fresh yautia
- 1 1 ½ ñame
- 1 lb. Calabaza (Caribbean pumpkin)
Procedure - For the meat:
Marinate the beef, pork, and chicken with all the aromatics with exception of the chicken bouillon which is added at the end of the cooking process. Celery, thyme and cilantro stem can be tied together with a twine. Add two tablespoons of the oil. Set apart and let it marinate at least for an hour. The sausage is boiled until all the oil is released; discard the oily water and set aside to be added to the soup when the vegetables are added.
While meat marinates and sausages are boiling, peel the vegetables.
Technique for peeling root vegetables and plantains:
Make sure both plantains and the green bananas are fresh and at room temperature. Submerge them in warm water and use gloves (they can stein your hands and clothes)
With a paring knife cut both ends of the plantain and discard. Hold the plantains and green bananas with your left hand and with the tip of your knife slit the peel along the length of the plantain. Repeat the same cut on the other sides until all the peels are off.
The yucca is peeled in a similar way except that you only make one cut moving the knife in a circular way.
The yautias, the ñame and the Calabasas are peeled the same way as potato. Once done keep all the vegetable in cold water until needed.
Once all your mise en place* are ready, proceed to cooking the marinated meat.
Final Procedure and Finish:
In a large pot heat the remaining 2 tablespoon of oil on medium high and add the sugar and let it caramelized but do not burn. Add the beef, pork, chicken and braised*. Leave the aromatic in the marinated dish and add 3 cups of water to the marinated meat. Cover the meat and let cook until the meat star to get color, little by little add some of the water from the marinate until the meat start to get tender. Do not burn the sucs *. As soon as the chicken is tender remove from the pot and set aside to be added later. Now add the smoke ham and the chorizos. When the remaining meat is 3 quarter of the way done add the remaining marinate, the water, the green plantain and the green bananas and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add a cup of cool water to the pot, all the remaining vegetables and the chicken. Bring to a boil again and then to a simmer. Constantly skim off any foam that forms. Carefully stir the sancocho to avoid sticking and to help thickening. Cook until all the vegetables are cooked, for about ½ hour and then add the chicken bouillons. Cook for 5 more minutes; remove green pepper, cilantro/celery/thyme and bone. If necessary adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and biter orange or lime. To thicken the Sancocho puree some of the vegetable and added to the pot until you get the right consistency.
Garnish with fresh minced cilantro and serve with white rice and avocado. Hot sauce is optional.
Please check out my *Dominican white rice recipe*. In the Dominican Republic is customary to drink an espresso coffee *(un cafecito)*after dinner or lunch, therefore, I invite you to also experiment it. The recipe can be found under the drinks category. Enjoy!
* Sucs: It is simple the protein that stick to the bottom of the Pot.
* Braise: French Technique where meat is first seared at a high tempeture and then finished in a covered pot with an amount of liquid. (Combination method using moist and dry heat)
* Mise en place: To have all your ingredients and the equipment that are needed in a recipe prepared and ready before you start cooking.
This post is also available in: Spanish