Friday, June 29, 2012

Domenican Republic: Cooking Around the World

And here we are on the final 'D' country of our Cooking Around the World Adventure: the Domenican Republic, not to be confused with Domenica, the country we cooked and ate last night. Remember the map? Just in case you need to see it again...

Much like Gallo Pinto in Costa Rica, Habichuelas Guisadas Dominicanas (Domenican Stewed Red Beans) is a table staple in the Domenican Republic, served in almost every household at least once a day. Since gallo pinto is a family favorite, I decided to try the red version.

Habichuelas Guisadas Dominicanas

The secret to habichuelas is the sofrito or seasoning - a long-simmered sauce chock-full of garlic, onions, and fresh herbs.

In a large flat-bottomed pan, saute 2 T minced garlic, 1 chopped onion, 2 sliced carrots, 1C diced celery, and one diced bell pepper (traditional recipes use a green bell pepper; I had a yellow one). Once these are completely softened, add 1 C tomato sauce, 1 T vinegar, and 1/2 C of red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt, pepper, 1 t ground cumin. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in 1 C fresh minced parsley and 3 T fresh minced oregano. Serve over white rice with...

Pollo con Wasakaka
Despite the fact that this dish's claim to fame is that it's the best-selling dish at a local food chain - one Domenican blogger wrote: "think the Colonel but with a tropical twist" - I liked the ingredients enough to give it a try. That and the name was just too amusing not to try it. Wa-sa-ka-ka. The boys had a blast with that one.

Rub 1 dozen chicken drumsticks with 2 T fresh minced oregano, salt, pepper. Then drizzle them with juice from 1 lime and some olive oil. Roast them in a 300 degree oven until fully-cooked and skin nicely browned. While those roast, make the wasakaka sauce, a thin sauce to keep the chicken moist.

For the 1 t minced garlic, juice from 1 lime, 1/4 C olive oil, 1/2 C minced parsley, salt and pepper in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Let cool. Serve at room temperature.

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