Dominican food culture has inherited key ingredients from Spain, Africa and from the Tainos, the original inhabitants of the island.
The “sancocho,” or stew, is an example of this mixture of influences.
It is one the most representative dishes of the Dominican menu. It’s a mixture of root vegetables, meats and poultry.
The final result is an explosion of “everything that is Dominican,” says the popular Dominican chef Eugenia Rojo.
The “sancocho” reigns supreme at the table during major holidays and important family events. This hearty meal is traditionally accompanied with white rice and avocados.
These stew dishes are also popular in other Caribbean nations, such as Cuba and Puerto Rico although in these particular ideas the stews go by other names.
According to historians the stew is a variety of the “power dish” that traveled to the island from the Spanish Canary Islands.
Others believe the dish was prepared by French to their slaves in the new lands.
And yet others say the “sancocho” traveled to the New World aboard some of the European slave ships that arrived in the Caribbean in the 15th century.
However, its preparation today is very much in tune with “Creole” cuisine, the vibrant mixture of European and dishes, prepared in the New World.
The Jaragua and Adrian
International celebrities such as the Americans Robert De Niro and Robert Redford have tasted the Dominican “sancocho” during their stays at the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel in Santo Domingo.
According to the hotel’s head Chef, Henry Cuevas, the “sancocho” is by far the most popular dish on the menu.
The Renaissance Jaragua Hotel is dedicated to maintaining the tradition in the preparation of the “sancocho,” which is available to guests 24 hours a day, six days a week.
Its popularity is based primarily on the use of very fresh products, including meats and poultry and aromatic herbs.
The combination of flavors makes the “sancocho” a favorite in most Dominican households. It is traditionally served with white rice and avocados.
Another popular restaurant that serves one of the country’s finest “sancochos” is the Adrian Tropical chain of restaurants.
Again, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is the Dominican “sancocho.” Guests are served a small portion of the “sancocho” as a complimentary entry, before they are served their main dish.