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March 20, 2018

Spring Break

Spring Break


I recently traveled to the Dominican Republic with my family for vacation. The view of the crystal clear blue Caribbean Sea was one of the most beautiful sites from our rental house. Every morning, I poured myself a cup of freshly brewed Dominican coffee and took a long walk on the beach combing the sand for shells. Not a bad way to wake up.



We love trying the local cuisine wherever we travel, and the DR did disappoint. African, Taino and Middle Eastern flavors come together to make up traditional Dominican dishes. It seemed like every meal was a feast - - meat or seafood, grains (especially rice and corn), vegetables and legumes, potatoes, yuca or plantains and of course a green salad. We did not go hungry!


One of our favorite meals was served at lunch mid-week into our 7 day stay. La Bandera Dominicana (The Dominican Flag) consisted of arroz blanco (white rice), habichuelas guisadas (stewed beans), pollo guisado (braised chicken) and ensalada verde (green salad). The colors of the Dominican flag (white, red and blue) are loosely represented by the rice, beans and meat. The rice, we were told, is the true test of a good Dominican cook. If that's the case then Nicole, the chef that prepared this lunch, is a superstar. The rice was firm yet fluffy with each grain perfectly distinct from the other. The chicken was so tender it fell off the bone into an amazing sauce that mixed seamlessly with the seasoning of the beans. Washed down with a cold El Presidente beer (another local product that quickly became our favorite) while the surf gently lapped the beach... we can get back soon enough.



Try this version of Dominican Braised Chicken to make your own La Bandera Dominicana courtesy of dominicancooking.com. Served with rice and beans, this rich and flavorful dish will become a staple in your house. 


  • 2 lbs chicken, separated into small pieces
  • 2 limes cut into halves
  • A pinch of oregano
  • 1 small red onion, chopped into fine strips
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt (more may be necessary)
  • 1/2 tsp mashed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of oil (corn, canola or peanut)
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 green bell peppers or cubanela (cubanelle) peppers
  • 1/4 cup olives cut into halves (optional) 
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • A small bunch cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Juice the limes and pour the juice over the chicken.
  2. Add the oregano, onion, celery, salt and garlic to the chicken and lime juice. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. In a pot, heat the oil over medium, add sugar and wait until it browns.
  4. Add the chicken (reserve the marinade) and saute until the meat is light brown.
  5. Add 2 Tbsp water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring and adding water by the tablespoon as it becomes necessary.
  6. Add oinion, celery, tomatoes, pepper, olives and garlic. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, adding water by the tablespoon as it becomes necessary.
  7. Add the tomato sauce and half a cup of water. Simmer over low heat to produce a light sauce.
  8. Serve with arroz blanco, beans and salad - enjoy!


Let us know where you've recently traveled and if you tried a popular, local dish. We'd love to hear from you!




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