Santo Domingo Stew Sancocho de Siete Carnes
Sancocho, although made in other countries is to the Dominican Republic as paella is to Spain. This traditional stew is normally a fairly rustic dish but reaches its culmination in this seven meat (siete carnes) version which is said to represents the seven islands of the Canary Islands where the dish originated. Sancocho recipes vary as much as paella recipes – every cook has their own. This recipe is for 10 or more people. This take a very large pot. Ones with a heavy bottom are best to spread the heat. Like the best of the French stews, this recipe realizes its great complexity of flavors from the plenitude of the meats and other ingredients. The traditional recipe uses cassava root which has some concerns (see note 1) You may leave cassava root out, if you prefer.
1 Pound lamb neckbones or use sawn leg shanks
1 Pound Longaniza4 pork sausage
1 Pound pork shoulder
2 Pounds chuck or 7-bone pot-roast
1 ½ Pound chicken thighs and wings
2 Pounds of pork ribs, sawn
2 Small smoked ham hocks
4 Lemons, halved
4 Cloves garlic
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Large bell peppers (one red, one green), coarsely chopped
½ Pound of cassava root1 cut into ½ inch thick pieces
2 Large yellow onions, chopped
½ Pound of yam2, peeled cut into fork sized chunks
½ Pound of eddoes or malanga root or, peeled cut into fork sized chunks
½ Pound of peeled Yukon potatoes peeled cut into fork sized chunks
3 Green plantains, 2 are cut peeled cut into fork sized chunks, 1 is shredded
2 Cups beef, vegetable or chicken stock
½ Teaspoon of Mexican oregano
½ Teaspoon of thyme
1 Tablespoon of Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón)
½ Teaspoon of sage
½ Teaspoon of ground coriander
1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon of lime juice
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
4 Fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped coarsely
Steamed Jasmine rice
Cut the larger meat pieces into smaller chunks. Wash beef, lamb, pork in several changes of cold water and pat dry. Rub meats and chicken with lemon. Set broiler to high. Toss meats and chicken with a little oil. Broil meats and chicken, in batches, while periodically turning pieces until all sides have browned. Place browned meats and chicken into large Dutch oven or pot. Score ham hocks on all sides with a sharp knife them add to pot. Add garlic, onions, bell peppers, oregano, paprika, thyme, sage, coriander, vinegar, lime juice, crushed red pepper, 2 cups of stock, 1 quart of water. Simmer for 1 ½ hours with lid on. When meats are near tender, add root vegetables and the chopped and grated plantains. Add more water when necessary. Simmer until everything is tender.
Thickening the Stew
Separate out some on the root vegetables to purée then add to the stew to thicken it. Now add chopped tomatoes and grated orange rind. Simmer until the stew is thick. Correct the seasonings.
Garnish with chopped cilantro, slices of avocados and a generous portion of steamed Jasmine long grain rice.
1. The cassava root (also called yuca or manioc) is long and tapered with a firm flesh with a rough brown outer rind similar to a potato. Yuca is a popular starch in the Caribbean and is an important ingredient for sancocho. While good as a thickener it is not very nutritious additionally and it must be cooked for a protracted period to drive out any volatile residual traces of cyanide which also suggests a well ventilated kitchen.
2. Yams here refer to tropical South American white yams not the larger African variety which is huge. The tuber is roughly cylindrical in shape, the skin is smooth and brown and the flesh usually white and firm. A large number of white yam varieties exist with slightly different characteristics.
3. Spanish smoked paprika or pimentón is one of the essential ingredients in Spanish cooking and adds depth to this dish.
4. Longaniza is a popular Spanish-style mild pork sausage.