• A Taste of Down Home

Caribbean Cuisine: White Bean Stew and Chocolate Melting Cake



I love to travel as much as I love to cook.


I just recently returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Grand Turks, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. This was my first Cruise to go on, and we saw some of the most breathtaking sites and beautiful crystal-clear waters that I have ever

seen.


While on the cruise, I went to a cooking class and got to experience some fabulous food. For

breakfast we had steak & eggs, cheese grits, fried potatoes, and toast. Some examples for dinner included: sautéed shrimp, bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon, fried chicken, and apple pie.


Yes, they do serve southern comfort food on Cruise ships! Haha. I enjoyed the fried chicken so much that they let me request it for the next evening’s dinner.


In addition, I stepped out of my comfort level and tried some exotic appetizers such as, rabbit and ox tongue, both of which I am not a fan of.


On our stop in Puerto Rico, we ate lunch at a place called, La Bodega, and tried a Puerto Rican dish called, Mofongo.

Mofongo is made of mashed plantain cooked with olive oil, butter, salt, and garlic served in a wooden pilon (mortar and pestle), with your choice of meat on top. It was very good and bursting with flavor.


While in the Dominican Republic, we spent the day at the Playabachata Beach Resort. They offered guests access to the beach, and a pool area where they served us lunch. They served tourists a special local dish made of seasoned rice, sea bass, shrimp, muscles, and calamari. It was a flavorful dish, with the exception of the calamari!


One noteworthy dish that they served that I really enjoyed and want to share is called, ‘White Bean Stew.’ It is white beans, or the locals call them ‘Dominican Beans,’ simmered all day in a flavorful sauce served over white rice. It was so good that I had to go back for seconds, and I

have spent over a month reaching out to the resort via emails and phone calls requesting the recipe.


After weeks of corresponding with them, they eventually emailed me the recipe! The recipe was ill-defined and not very specific on measurements, so I had to adjust the ingredients as I prepared it.


Nevertheless, the end result was amazing!


You can eat this dish as a soup, or serve it over white rice.


 

Tips:

  • This recipe calls for a “background broth preparation.” This is prepared separately from the beans as a way of building flavor for the stew. It is then added back into the beans.

  • This recipe calls for dried beans, but you can use a couple of cans of Goya Habichuelas Spanish Style White beans to save on time. Just make sure you drain and rinse the beans.

  • The Goya Sofrito Cooking Base is a brand name, and I added this to the recipe to give it additional flavor. It is used for soups and broths.


 



 

White Bean Stew


Ingredients

I – 16 oz. bag of white beans (Navy Beans)

1- cup water

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. Garlic powder

1 tsp Coriander

Pinch of Thyme

½ cup finely diced celery

½ cup finely diced green bell pepper

3 tbsp. tomato paste

4 tbsp. Goya Sofrito tomato cooking base

2 tbsp. Chicken broth powder

Salt & pepper

1 tsp. brown vinegar


Directions:

  1. Boil beans in water according to package directions with minced garlic until the beans are cooked.

  2. Set aside, and don’t drain.

  3. In another pot, over medium heat, prepare a background broth with 1 cup of water, add garlic powder, coriander, thyme, bell pepper, and celery.

  4. Stir for a minute and add tomato paste and sofrito base.

  5. Agitate it with a pinch of salt, pepper, and chicken broth powder.

  6. Simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes, and then add to the cooked beans.

  7. Simmer for approximately two hours and add the vinegar in the end.


 

The dessert recipe below is a one that my wife enjoyed frequently on the cruise. It’s called ‘Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.’ It has been a staple on the Cruise line’s dessert menu for many years with more than four million servings of this gooey confection served annually.


It is a delectable chocolate lover’s dessert that once you take it out of the oven and cut into it the cake, a rich chocolate oozes out onto your plate. It’s like eating a cake with brownie batter in the middle.




 

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake

(Yield 4 servings)


Ingredients:


6 oz. Dark Chocolate

6 oz. Butter

4 eggs

6 oz. sugar

2 oz. Flour


Directions:

  1. Melt the Chocolate and Butter.

  2. Mix the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl and whisk for a few minutes then add the flour.

  3. Add the egg mix to the melted chocolate and mix.

  4. Pour the mix in a greased ramekin.

  5. Bake directly in the oven at 390 degrees for 14 minutes.

  6. Optional: Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tips:

  • You can grease the ramekins with butter.

  • Make sure the warm chocolate and butter mixture is cooled before adding to the egg and sugar mixture.


 

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