About 1 hour into my 3 hour flight to the Dominican Republic I was starving! I hadn’t been grocery shopping in weeks and the bagel I ate before leaving for the airport was not cutting it. I was really tempted to break into the 20 pounds of chocolate in my carry-on (all for my candy-hoarding sister), but I didn’t. I wanted food.
Once I arrived in Santiago (where my luggage was x-rayed before leaving the airport… weird) I was greeted by my sister and brother-in-law. The weather in Santiago was gorgeous and I am sure I looked crazy wearing my fleece jacket, scarf and thick socks that was required for the 40 degree weather back in Brooklyn.
During the hour car ride to Bonao I was happy to hear that since my sister had arrive in the DR 6 months ago she had become a very good cook. She promised to feed me once we got home. What she actually fed me that night is a blur, but check out what she made me on day three!
The nice thing about cooking in the DR is that everything you need can be found at your local colmado. A colmado is open-air, roadside store that carries everything you need to make a good meal (and all the coffee you could ever want). In preparation for lunch, the biggest meal of the day in DR, we walked down the block to the colmado and picked up a green pepper, onion, cilantro (with the roots and dirt still attached), tomato and a carrot- all for less than $3 dollars. My sister also went to the butcher to pick up a freshly plucked chicken.
Me at the colmado
Although, most people have a refrigerator in their kitchen, it is often bare. The only items in my sisters fridge was water, butter, jam and juice drinks. Because you buy your food fresh most people only cook enough food for that day leaving nothing to waste or store for leftovers. My sister had a good eye for determining how much food she would need to buy to feed everyone in the house, but on occasion any left overs were given to Homer (the garbage disposal and watch dog).
To make this dish we started with prepping the produce (washing and chopping).
Green pepper and cilantro
In the mean time the Guandules and rice should be rinsed with water.
Once the cilantro, red onion, green pepper and garlic (seasoned with Goya Adobo) has been chopped up it will be mixed with the fresh chicken. The chicken should be washed and cut into medium-sized pieces.
Chicken fresh from the butcher
produce and chicken mixed together
Once the vegetables and chicken are mixed together it is time to start cooking the guandules (these could have been cooked while we were prepping the vegetables, but I was busy taking pictures, so my sister was doing most of the work herself).
After the guandules have been washed heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a pot (for 1/2 pound of guandules). When the oil is hot, throw in guandules and stir fry them for 3-5 min. Then add about 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic and about a half cup of onion. Saute for another 3-5 minutes. Then add about 4 cups of water and bring guandules to a boil. Once the pot is boiling you can throw in additional seasonings for flavor (such as a chicken bouillon cube).
As water boils down add the chicken and 8 or so sprigs of cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, a couple splashes of hot sauce and soy sauce. If it is still missing flavor, throw in a few dashes of Goya Adobo seasoning to your liking.
Finally, add about 1 and half cups of rice and then let water boil down so that you can see the moist rice, but with no water sitting on top. Turn flame down to low and cap pot and let cook for 15- 20 minutes on a low flame.
While this is cooking slice up your carrot and tomato to make a salad (topped with vinegar, olive oil and a little pepper).
At the end of all your hard work you should end up with something like this…enjoy!