Pollo arroz y habichueala guisada y ensalada

That’s chicken with stewed beans to you & me.  Today was my first adventure into authentic Dominican Republic cooking.

First we went shopping.  I’ve been to the market many times already to buy fruit – but seeing a freshly dead chicken being hacked into pieces was a new experience.  Total cost of the food was around DOP $450 (about £8)


  • 2 1/2 lb white rice ($65)
  • 4 lb fresh chicken (killed within the hour) ($200)
  • 1 lb habuchuela guacomelo (dried guacomelo beans) – a bit like dried runner beans, only white with red/brown markings ($50)
  • 2 limon (sour limes) ($10)
  • 1 bulb ajo (garlic) ($10)
  • 1 cebolla grande (large onion) ($10)
  • ricaito y apio (parsley & celery – 1 bunch) ($20)
  • celantro (coriander – 1 bunch) ($10)
  • dried oregano (1 tbsp)
  • 2 ajices dulces (sweet peppers)
  • 2 caldo de gallina / sopita (chicken stock cubes!) ($10 for 2)
  • Sabrecito salsa / Pasta de tomate (tomato concentrate) ($20)
  • Sazón completo (all-in-one seasoning!)
  • Saldo (salt – to taste)
  • Una pisca pimienta (hot ground pepper – one pinch)
  • 1 pisca azucara (pinch of sugar)
  • Repollo picado (chopped white cabbage) ($15)
  • Vinegre (vinegar – white or brown)

Then we (or mostly, Ana Luz – see below) did the cooking.  Took about 3 hours in total.

Preparar el pollo

  • 4lb of chicken, roughly chopped (pollo picado) – including neck & feet!
  • Clean the chicken & remove skin & fat
  • Squeeze half a lime into 1 gallon water & marinade chicken in lime water for at least 30 minutes
  • Drain & dry. Sprinkle over the oregano & (pinch of) ground hot pepper
  • In a pestle & mortar, grind the garlic (leave a few bulbs aside) & seasoning. Mix into the chicken with other herbs
  • Put 3 tbsp oil & in a large cooking dish with a pinch of sugar on a high heat until sugar caramelises (caramelado)
  • Add in the chicken mix & cook for 30 minutes, adding a little water to keep from drying out, and seasoning to taste
  • Add half a large sliced onion and one sliced green pepper and cover.  Simmer on low heat.

Preparar el habichuela guisada (stewed beans)

  • 1lb of habichuela guacumelo fresca (dried guacumelo beans)
  • Carefully remove any grit and/or bad beans
  • Clean the beans in lots of cold water & soak overnight. Discard any floaters!
  • Simmer for 1 hour in large pan of water with a tbsp of oil and 1 clove garlic.
  • Add a little (5ml) pasta de tomate (tomato concentrate) to the pot
  • Mix up the remaining garlic with a pinch of salt. Add some oil to a frying pan & add the other half of the sliced onion & the garlic/salt paste.  Fry for 5 minutes on high heat.
  • Add two stock cubes & a splash of vinegar and some more green pepper. Put into blender with 2 big spoons of beans and the rest of the tomato concentrate. Blitz then strain back into the beans to thicken the sauce.

Preparar el arroz (rice)

  • Rinse the rice & boil (in separate pan) in plenty of water. When water has been absorbed add 2-3 tbsp oil & mix thoroughly.
  • Turn down the heat & cover (with a plastic bag under the lid of the pan!) – leave for 30 minutes more

Preparar la ensalada

  • 2 tomate rojo (red tomatoes – large) – peeled, partly pipped & diced
  • 1 pepino (cucumber). Partly peeled & diced
  • Repollo picado (shredded white cabbage – 2 big handfuls)
  • 2 ajices dulces picado (chopped sweet peppers)
  • Stand in water seasoned with juice of 1 lime & a splash of vinegar. Drain before serving

Then we did eating.  And it was really delicious.  And no one has food poisoning.

A big thanks to Ana Luz, who I have to admit did pretty much all of the cooking.  Ana Luz (who Katie and Zach have christened ‘The Happy Lady’) is a teacher at the Colegio, and also the sister of Wailly (the Headmaster)


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