Get a taste of the Caribbean without leaving home. Celebrity Chef Eric Ripert prepares some Puerto Rican dishes that will bring the Caribbean to your table.
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Almost every culture has dumplings as a staple. Usually, the dumplings are stuffed with some savory ingredient or other. In our culture we have domplines (pronounced "dom-plee-ness), which are our version of dumplings, except, they are not stuffed. It's more like deep fried dough, which is a common staple in the Caribbean. Other places have it such as in Indian cuisine where they deep fry the dough and call it poori.
In our family, these Puerto Rican dumplings have been with us forever. I remember my grandmother making them for breakfast with eggs or at lunch or dinner with codfish. They are deceptively easy to make, and quite tasty. Below is the basic recipe for domplines. If you want to liven up the recipe even more, you can add one or two minced cloves of garlic to the dough. This will give it an extra tang (if desired).
In Puerto Rican cuisine there is a popular dish known as pastelitos, or meat pies, which entails the use of plantain leaves. A portion of cornmeal and meat filling is place on a leaf, which is then folded to give the meat pie its shape. Lastly, the meat is carefully removed from the plantain leaf and then deep-fried, hopefully retaining its form.
So even in the hot summer nights sometimes we need something comforting after a super long day, this dish is perfect for that. Asopao is a rice soup. It is made with either chicken, pork, beef, seafood or vegetables.
The origin of asopao is unclear but rice in soup isn’t unfamiliar and can be traced back before the Americans harvest rice. Rice soup can be traced back to Asia known as congee. Latin and Caribbean asopao is not as thick as congee.
Asopao is Puerto Rico’s national soup. Asopao first appeared in the 1800s in restaurants in Puerto Rico. From there it has been a great phenomenon in most Puerto Rican restaurants, big and small. Most chefs even have their own recipe for asopao. Puerto Rican asopao has been said to be a cross from American gumbo and Spanish paella. First noted recipe are a mixture of rice, chicken, chorizo, shellfish, alcaparrado (stuffed olives and capers), white wine, sofrito and garnished with green peas and finally diced carrots. Most popular asopaos are asopao de pollo (chicken asopao) and asopao de mariscos (shellfish asopao) made with saffron broth, scallops, mussels, shrimp, lobster, clams and oysters.
Asopao to many Dominicans would consider heresy to label it as a foreign import. The dish is usually prepared on special occasions, such as birthdays. The soup is usually cooked with chicken or shrimp. Asopao in the Dominican Republic is almost ever time cooked with beer, sofrito, bouillon cubes, olives, capers and sour orange.
This ultimate breakfast burrito completely wins breakfast with the addition of chorizo, Mexican-seasoned pinto beans, and Puerto Rican rice — and it spices things up with some added jalapeños. You’ll be craving it morning, noon, and night!
This method uses sofrito, an aromatic mix of herbs and spices that's used as a base for cooking countless Caribbean dishes. You can buy prepared sofrito in most supermarkets or Asian and Caribbean markets. Or, better still, get it from my cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America. The red wine in this recipe was influenced by my mother, of blessed memory, who received the tip from a Cuban friend.
Click here to see The Basics of Cooking Beans and 3 Easy Recipes
Fondly known in our ‘test bar’ as a Bloody Pirate, this rum-based Mary starts with Bacardi Gold and gets progressively more tropical from there: Puerto Rican-style sofrito lends body and heat to the tomato juice, while sweet-and-salty garnishes of fried plantain and chicharrones add crunch and heft to what is truly ‘a breakfast in a glass’.