Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Under the weather

Looks like whatever Star picked up last week has taken over our household today.  Seems both Gremlins and myself have gotten bit by the icky bug.  Unfortunately, as soon as I thought I was getting out of it on top, I get pulled back down..

Of course, just in time for the wonderful weather too, but, if I'm lucky it'll only last 2-3 days, like Star's did.... Now, if only I can get my mom to make us some Sancocho. (Dominican Stew) and just in case she doesn't get the message. (HINT HINT) I will post the recipe and maybe one of you will feel generous enough to help us out. hahahahahaha

sancocho.jpg Sancocho image by srodriguez01

(I've even added this delicious picture to entice your other senses and further intrigue your curiosity )


1lb of beef, preferably with bones
1 1/2 lb of fresh chicken (cut up)
1 lb of fresh pork
2-3 green plantains
1 lb of cassava or yuca*
1 lb of white yam*
1 lb of eddoes or yautia*
1/2 lb of potatoes
3 large onions
Small bunch of coriander or cilantro
2 large naranja agria** or Seville Oranges
1 tablespoon of vinegar (optional)
2 stock cubes of beef or chicken
Vegetable oil at your discretion
5 cloves of garlic
1 small portion or oregano
2 small or 1 large green peppers
1 lb of American rice
1 1/2 lbs of Spanish pumpkin
5 liters of water
salt (to taste - usually about 1-2 teaspoons)

* - You need about 3lbs in total of staple vegetables like yams or yuca, use a mix of the three listed if you can get them, or make up the total amount from what you can get. The hunting may provide to be a chore, but they are essential for the authentic taste.
** - 'naranja agria' are very sour oranges widely use for cooking in the Dominican Republic. But don't panic if you don't have 'naranja agria', you can always use a little grapefruit juice and lemon as a substitute.


Peel your garlic cloves and place them into the mortar together with the oregano and salt, then mash them together well.
If you don't have a mortar, just crush all the above ingredients with the side of a heavy knife on a chopping board (remember to flush your board well with cold water immediately after doing this to avoid transfer of garlic flavor to things you might not want to taint, later on!)
Peel and chop the onions in quarters.
Now take all the meat and cut it into fairly equally sized pieces (for beef and pork, 4cm or 1 1/2 inch cubes - for chicken 'small joints'), if using meat on the bone, leave it on the bone for extra flavor, wash the meat well with plenty of water. It is also better if you remove the skin of the chicken and any excess fat from the other meats.
Once you have done this, place all the meat in a large bowl and 'wash' the meat again with the naranja agria or lemon juice, and drain about half the liquid off.
Once the meat is washed and ready, add the mashed combination of garlic and herbs you have in the mortar. At this stage you can add a bit of vinegar (say a good teaspoon full), some vegetable oil and half of the chopped onions (leaving the rest for later).
Now stir the meat and these ingredients well and let it marinade for about half an hour, while you prepare the other items.
Whilst the meat is resting, peel the plantain, yuca, yam, potatoes, Spanish pumpkin and eddoes.Then cut them into pieces roughly the same size as the meat 'chunks'.

Place a large pan (ideally one that's not too deep - a wide bottomed, heavy lidded, braising pan is best) on the heat with some vegetable oil, say about half a cup.
Once the oil is reasonably hot you can add the meat. Don't add it all at once.. Add it in batches to avoid loosing too much heat... Make sure all the meat is 'seized', or 'browned' on all sides...this will help keep it moist and reduce the chance of it flaking to bits during the cooking process.
Once all the meat is browned, immediately add about a teaspoon of salt and a pint of stock. Stir well.
Let the pot just come to the boil then turn down the heat and let the meat simmer, with a good heavy lid on the pot, for at around 40 minutes before starting the rest of the cooking.

After this time the meat will be more than half cooked, turn it off for the time being. Now you can start the second step.

Take another big cooking pot, quite deep this time, put it onto the heat and add three liters of water.
Add all your plantain, yuca and the other vegetables to the cooking pot together with the coriander, the rest of chopped onion and the chopped green peppers. Also crumble into the pot the other stock cube, and stir.
After heating the pot for 15 minutes, by which time it should be coming to the boil (if not already turned to simmer) carefully mix in all the contents of the meat pan. Add more water if necessary, so that all contents of the pan are just covered, and bring back to the boil before turning down to a simmering heat again (you may want to use some of the hot water to de glazethe meat pan and get ALL the flavor out of it).
From now on the Sancocho will start developing a good color and thickening. You need to check it every ten minutes to ensure it doesn't get too dry, it will have the tendency to do this as moisture evaporates and stock is absorbed by vegetables. You should add a little more water if necessary.
After about one hour or so of total cooking time your Sancocho sauce should be nicely thickened by the starchy vegetables (but not too dry) and the meats should be lovely and juicily tender (try them before you turn off the heat, and give another 10 minutes if necessary). Your typical Dominican dish should be ready to serve and enjoy.

Serve your Dominican Sancocho with a big bowl of white rice..
**Optional**slices of avocado and Gigi Gigi or hot sauce...

I guess I shouldn't complain too much If I don't get it though, quite honestly it's A LOT of work, and preparation isn't too easy. BUT.. it IS hands down the BEST sopu/stew you will EVER taste.  I may have to try it out in the crock pot... hmmmm sounds like a challenge.. (-=

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1 comment:

  1. Hope you're feeling better soon. All the Goblins (and myself) had the sickies this week too. Taking the sick time to read some of my favorite blogs.

    The Groschen Goblins


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