We are currently at the end of Semana Santa (Holy Week) here in the Dominican Republic. Easter week, the Dominican Republic comes to an even slower crawl. Schools are closed, business have reduced hours, and Friday through Sunday you will be hard pressed to find an open business. Traffic laws are stepped up, and the police presence on the street is very noticeable. Because, ironically, because accidents are more likely due to the increased drinking. Another interesting tradition during Holy Week is a traditional dish, Habichuelas con Dulce, or Sweet Creamed Beans, three words that I never imagined together. Here is recipe I got off of Dominicancooking.com, so that you don’t think I’m just making this stuff up.
Habichuelas con Dulce is one of Dominican’s most cherished traditions. It is prepared in Easter in large quantities and shared with relatives and neighbors.
Time: 60 Mins
Serve: 6 people
Before starting to cook: Cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes. Boil with a teaspoon of salt until tender. Put the beans and the water through the blender. Strain the beans to get rid of the skin.
- 1/4 cup of raisins
- 2 teaspoons of butter
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups of boiled red kidney beans
- 2 cup of water from boiling the beans
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- 3 cups of evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Cassava bread (may be omitted)
- 1/2 lb of sweet potatoes
- 10 cloves
- 1 cup of milk cookies (may be omitted)
- Put the beans, the coconut milk and half the milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the milk, sugar, raisins and sweet potatoes and let boil medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid sticking. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil to the desired consistency.
- Spread butter on the cassava bread, sprinkle with salt and put in the oven until it turns golden brown.
- Serve the beans chilled with the cassava on the side. Put cookies on top of the beans.
So, if any of you have would like to whip up a batch, you can experience a taste of the DR. I have to say it is actually surprisingly tasty.
Melissa was introduced to the specialty this time last year, when we were down looking for a house, at a church member’s home in Bombita. A visit I missed. Melissa is not what I would call an adventurous eater, but when you are sitting in someone’s home and they offer you a glass full, it is very difficult to say no. So, she tried what she thought was a drink, and actually enjoyed. She was a little shocked that a piece of banana was floating in it, but she managed to be polite. However, she really didn’t believe that it was a bean drink until the lady went to the kitchen and brought out the dried beans to end any language barrier. This year, we bought a few cups of the beans in front of the house of one of the church kids, that had set up a little Lemonade stand, and she was selling her mom’s Habichuelas con Dulce. We have been given a few jars from friends, and are able to enjoy it in small servings.
For more great tasting Dominican flavors check out www.Dominicancooking.com