There is no doubt that the most popular Christmas tradition is the food and, subsequently, the music and the drinks (usually Brugal rum). Not all Dominicans drink or dance, but certainly, every single Dominican eats, and yes, they do it in a lot on Christmas Eve. That is why we bring you five recipes to try at home on this special day. In addition to these, lasagna, empanadas, Christmas fruits, and various salads can be added.
1-Roasted Pork (The king of Christmas Dinner)
Roasted pork is a must on Christmas Eve dinner. What most Dominicans do is that they buy it in the stalls, then marinate it to their taste and finally reheat it in the oven. If you wish to try it at home, you can give it your special touch with the recipe below.
For approximately 16 pounds of pork, which can be whole or in pieces.
For the seasoning:
- 1/2 cup sliced seedless olives
- 1/2 cup capers
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 tablespoons mashed garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons oregano powder
- 2 tablespoons black pepper powder
- 1 cup diced chili peppers
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons oil
- A pinch of salt
Preparation (approximately 45 minutes)
- Prepare the seasoning by mixing all the ingredients, or if you like, you can liquefy them, so you will get a thick paste with a lot of flavors.
- With a well-sharpened peeling knife, make holes into the meat by digging the knife as deeply as possible. With a small spoon, fill the holes with the seasoning. Spread the remaining seasoning on the surface. Marinate for at least five hours before baking.
- Bake the seasoned and marinated pork at about 100ºC or 170ºF for about four hours. Every half an hour, it is recommended to bathe the meat with the same juices that it is releasing. Half an hour before finishing cooking, turn the oven to a high temperature so that the skin becomes crispy.
It is maybe not that difficult, but you may want to do as most Dominicans who buy it already roasted.
2-Moro de Guandules ( Dominican Pigeon Peas and Rice)
Moro de guandules is one of the many dishes that represent the Dominican gastronomy, and it is also an essential dish at Christmas Eve. Depending on your taste, you can cook it with or without coconut milk.
Ingredients (6 portions)
- 4 cups of rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped coriander
- 1/4 cup cubed chili pepper cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 pinch oregano
- 2 cups boiled guandules (Dominican pigeons)
- 3 cups of water
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Steps / Duration of preparation: 35 minutes
- In a large pot, heat one tablespoon of oil. Add garlic, coriander, chili, celery, oregano, and salt. Sauté over low heat for two minutes. Stir and add the guandules. Then, sauté everything for another two minutes. Add the water, tomato sauce, chicken stock cube, and bring it to a boiling temperature.
- Add the rice and mix well. Stir regularly by taking off the rice that is stuck to the bottom. When all the water has evaporated, cover with a lid and let it cook for 15 minutes. Uncover, and add the oil. Move the rice at the bottom to cook it evenly, then cover again. Cook another 5 minutes over very low heat.
- Try the rice, the inside should be firm but soft. If necessary, cover and leave another 5 minutes on very low heat. This is an excellent garnish for fish and meat.
3-Dulce Frio Dominicano
A very delicious dessert and super easy to make. It consists of a mixture of ladyfingers or toast or Maria cookies with evaporated and condensed milk.
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 2 cups evaporated milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup rum (optional)
- 20 ladyfingers or toasts
For the whipped cream
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 2 cups chopped fruit (fresh or canned)
Step by Step Preparation:
- Mix the condensed and evaporated milk. Add the yolks, vanilla, and cornstarch. Boil in a water bath over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When it thickens at the same consistency of condensed milk, remove from heat, and continue stirring until it is at room temperature (to cool faster, make a “cold water bath”). Strain this mixture to eliminate any lumps. Chill in the fridge.
- Pour the rum on a plate. Briefly dip the toasts (ladyfingers) in the rum. Place a layer of toast in a deep bowl. Pour half of the cream with milk and yolks that you prepared earlier on the toast. Place the remaining toast on top and pour the other half of the cream over them. Chill in the fridge.
- Cool the blender glass and hook for a while before using it.
- Pour the whipped cream, cream cheese, and sugar into the glass. Beat until firm peaks form. Spray the toast with the whipped cream and place the fruit on top and Serve cold.
4- Pastelon de Platano Maduro (Ripe Plantain Pie):
It is similar to lasagna, but only with two layers of mashed ripe plantain and in the middle a ground beef filling, plus a cheese topping. It is very popular throughout the Latin Caribbean.
For the Filling:
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 500 g ground beef
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
For the Tomato Sause:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 kg of tomatoes (ripe), peeled, seeded, and diced.
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
For the Pie:
- 7 ripe plantains
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 160 g of yellow cheese (or cheddar or mozzarella), grated
- 130 g of butter
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over low heat.
- Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until it softens, being careful not to burn it.
- Add the tomatoes and pepper.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.
- Remove from heat and mix in a blender.
- Let cool to room in temperature.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the ground beef and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add all other ingredients and mix well.
- Finally, add the previously prepared tomato sauce and cook with a lid for 15 minutes.
- Peel the plantains.
- Boil in enough water to cover the bananas with one teaspoon of salt.
- Cook covered for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 175 ° C.
- Spread 50 g of butter on the bottom of a 15 x 22 cm baking dish.
- Remove the plantains from the water, drain them and, in a salad bowl, mix with the remaining butter until they become a soft and creamy puree.
Putting the Pie Together:
- Place half of the plantain puree at the bottom of the baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Place a layer of ground beef and the sauce on top.
- Garnish with half of the cheese portion.
- Place the other half of the plantain puree on top of it, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake and cook until the cheese is browned about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wait 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding.
5-Pasteles en Hoja: Wrapped Pies:
These pies are a classic dish in DR and can not be missed at the Dominican Christmas Eve table. It is a sort of pie wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled. It is a tamale-like dish, but instead of corn dough, you use a base of green bananas or plantains, as well as other tubercles such as yucca. For the filling, you use grounded beef or chicken.
- 1/2 lb [0.23 kg] pound ground beef
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 small red onion, diced into small pieces
- 1 green pepper, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 lb [0.23 kg] pound of yautia (malanga)
- 1 green banana or green plantain
- 1 lb [0.46 kg] of auyama
- 1/2 lb [0.23 kg] pound of yam
- 1 teaspoon seasoning powder
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 banana leaves
- 6 sheets of baking paper
- Kitchen thread
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- Put the meat in a bowl, add the pepper, onion, chili, oregano, and salt.
- In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the meat and brown it. Then, cook it over medium heat for about 10 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water each time it dries.
- Add the tomato paste. Mix well and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Let all the liquid evaporate
- Remove from heat and put it aside.
- Peel and grate the yautia, banana, auyama, and yam (Dominican tubercles) with the thin side of your scratcher.
- In a bowl, mix those ingredients with seasoning powder, salt, and milk.
- Cut the plantain or banana leaves into squares of 5 x 5 inches [13 x 13 cm] cms approx. Wash and reserve.
- Put 3 tablespoons of the plantain mixture in the center of one of the banana leaf squares.
- Put 1 tablespoon of filling in the center
- On top, put 3 tablespoons of the mixture wrapping the meat.
- Wrap the sheet is an envelope shape.
- Cover with the baking paper and tie tightly with the thread.
- When you finish all, boil two liters of water on the fire in a deep pot.
- When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Put all the pies in the boiling water and boil over medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Add water if necessary so they don’t dry out.
- Unpack before serving.
- Serve with ketchup and hot sauce.
A much easier option, buy pre-cooked cakes in the supermarket so that you just need to boil them and eat them.
We hope these recipes have been useful for your Christmas Eve dinner if you are cooking at home. Happy Holidays!