Nothing says Christmas like a Noche Buena in the Dominican Republic. As the world is enjoying the holiday season, the Dominicanos are enjoying good tidings.
Christmas preparations in Dominican culture can last as long as 3 months. Other Spanish colonies like the Philippines, also celebrate the longest Christmas season.
During this winter season, where the air is cold and crisp, the Christmas food is to die for. The Noche Buena meals are something you should look forward to.
In this guide, we give you the Dominican Christmas foods you should try to prepare. With these Christmas recipes, we’re sure your friends and family would love to go for some holiday seconds.
1. Puerco Asado (Roast Pork)
Puerco Asado or roast pork is the star of every Christmas recipe enjoyed by Dominicans. Many people don’t know, but the Puerco Asado dates back as far as the 15th century to the Tainos. The Tainos were the original residents of the Caribbean Islands when Europeans came.
The Asado is the center of every Dominican Noche Buena every Christmas Eve. It provides full bellies and a time of plenty even during the winter season.
Together with the Puerco Asado, Dominican children would prepare casabe. The casabe is a flatbread made with cassava, with the Puerco in a fire pit for roasting. The usual meat that people use for the Puerco Asado is the pork or even a goat if pigs are unavailable.
Less fortunate Dominicans will not roast a whole hog, but rather buy from roast stands. During lean times, some would skip the pig and go to something smaller like Pollo Asado.
How To Prep Puerco Asado
To prepare a Puerco Asado, you would want a bone-in picnic shoulder of a hog at around 8 pounds. Create a garlic rub mixture of lime juice, salt, oregano, and cumin. Make incisions where you can put in some rubs.
Push in 1 tsp of garlic mixture inside the meat and slow roast over a fire or a 375 F oven. If using an oven, roast it for 30 minutes. Pour ¾ lime juice on the meat, then cover with foil and roast for another 1 hour.
Baste the meat with water-vinegar mixture and roast for another hour. Sprinkle some salt over the skin and cook until the skin is crispy.
2. Ensalada Rusa (Russian Salad)
Ensalada Rusa or Russian Salad is the Latino-style potato salad, a side dish for roasts. Doing this recipe is a simple Christmas recipe that any Dominican can prepare.
To prep some Ensalada Rusa, you need to steam or boil cubed potatoes and combine it with some veggies. This includes corn kernels, chopped onions, diced green peppers, chopped eggs, and diced beets.
Add a big dollop of mayonnaise and mix. Serve it chilled and you should be good to go.
3. Pasteles en Hojas (Dominican-Style Tamales)
Pasteles en Hojas or Dominican-style Tamales is a non-native Christmas recipe. It comes from Puerto Rico and enjoyed every Christmas.
Pasteles is “winter season food” for Dominicans, made from grating yuca or plantains. People will then convert this to a paste and molded to make a rectangular purse with a hollow middle.
Dominicans will add meat inside this pocket, wrapped in banana leaves, and boiled or steamed. This delicious dish is a Dominican Christmas food staple.
How to Prepare Pasteles en Hojas
To prepare pasteles, infuse vegetable oil with annatto seeds, creating a reddish oil. Grate all the vegetables for the dish into one bowl, which includes:
- Squash or auyama
Once grated full, combine the veggies with the annatto oil, adobo seasoning and sofrito mix. Cut 6 x 6 sized plantain or banana leaves and line the leaves with annatto oil. Place around 3 to 4 tablespoons of the masa and another tablespoon of meat in the center.
Fold the banana leaves to help fold the mixture over the meat, rolling to create a pocket. Wrap tight with twine and boil your pasteles for 30 – 45 minutes. You can also steam the pasteles for 60 – 90 minutes on low heat.
4. Ponche (Eggnog)
Ponche or eggnog is a quintessential Christmas recipe for the Dominicans. Without ponche, many people will tell you that the celebration will be incomplete. The most common form of this delicious winter drink is the ponche de ron or rum eggnog.
Variations, however, are available for the ponche. This includes foods like chocolate (ponche de chocolate) and breakfast (ponche desayuno). The classic version, however, uses milk, sugar, whipped eggs, and/or cream.
To add some extra kick to it, some will add spirits like brandy or rum. Some spices also work for this delicious Dominican Christmas recipe, including cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Christmas Sweets (Turrones, Gomitas, Dried Snacks)
Christmas season is a time for sweets. Dominican Christmas recipes focus on the sweet, delicious foods out there for the kids. There are a few choices that you have when it comes to the best winter sweets.
First, you can make some turrones, which is a traditional Christmas candy. Families prepare this using honey, sugar, and egg whites, creating a basic nougat. They then combine this with seasonal nuts toasted and made into square brownie shapes.
Another option are gomitas, which are jelly candies resembling gummy bears. Many Noche Buenas prepare these for children for a quick sugary snack. If you’re preparing it for an adult party, you can make rum or alcoholic gomitas for everyone to enjoy.
Coquitos are another way to get an in-between snack for your guests, which are different dried fruits and nuts.
Make Some Delicious Dominican Christmas Food Now
When it comes to Christmas food, Dominican food is one of the best out there. Are you interested in tasting some delicious local fare? Try our recipes and enjoy a delicious Dominicano Noche Buena people would love.
Looking for more Latino and Caribbean fare? You need the best source for everything you can use in Latino foods.
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