The Dominican Republic has a gastronomy recognized in several countries for its rich seasoning, but also for its typical dishes. The features of this gastronomic culture start from the indigenous and Spanish influence that in their fusion results in Dominican food.
Each of the regions of the Caribbean country offers a recipe or food that characterizes it. Although that does not mean that dishes from specific places with their own version are not prepared throughout the country. Pork rinds fall into the category of typical dishes and their recipe is spread throughout all corners of the beautiful Dominican Republic. Bring the authentic flavor of Dominican chicharrón to your table with the recipes that we will show you. Find your apron and let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is “Chicarrón”?
- History of pork rinds in the Dominican Republic.
- The best pork rinds (“chicharrones”) recipes.
- Recipes with “Chicharrón” in the Dominican Republic.
- Ideas to accompany the Dominican-style pork rinds
What is “Chicarrón”?
It is estimated that by the time of the conquest, the pork rinds would be crossing the Dominican borders. The chicharrones are made with the skin of the pig that is fried , this cut is known as bacon. In the DR it is called a layer and the protagonist of this cut is fat.
The word chicharrón is composed of the onomatopoeia chich , referring to the sound that the pig’s skin makes when it is fried. Also because of the cooking process it needs, leaving a charred result.
The chicharrón has several variants, although it is true that part of the pork meat, there is also:
- Lizard (it is more common in Bolivia).
You might think that pork is unhealthy, but it digests faster than beef. The arrival of pork rinds in the Dominican Republic has several nuances, do not miss the details!
History of pork rinds in the Dominican Republic.
When the Spanish arrived in the Dominican lands, the manufacture of pig farms began. Specifically in the Ozama and Isabela rivers ( Santo Domingo ), the data indicates that the chicharrón thrives in these regions.
Like almost everything in gastronomy, the chicharrón arose while seeking to make another preparation: remove the fat from the pig. All the lard is obtained by frying the skin of the pork cut into pieces, adding salt and water.
In the Dominican Republic, chicharrón is one of the most popular dishes, it is among the first options to cook pork. There are even typical recipes where pork rinds are included in the preparation, as well as being the main ingredient.
The pig in the history of Dominican gastronomy.
Since the first appearance of the pig in the Dominican Republic, this noble animal has been key in its gastronomy. Roast pork is relevant in Dominican Christmas dinners, it is prepared by placing the pig on a stick . The inhabitants of the DR call this preparation pig a la puya. Stewed pork also has a special role in the homes of the Caribbean country. Hence, pork production has a share in the region’s economy, being present at Dominican tables. Favorite recipes that include pork are:
- Pork leg stew.
- Stewed eggplants with pork.
- Cucumber (wild cucumber) with stewed pork.
- Smoked ribs.
- Fried cutlets.
The list is more extensive, including pork rinds, these preparations have native seasonings, such as the Dominican sazon (sofrito).
Villa Mella: The capital of pork rinds (“chicharrones”) in the Dominican Republic.
Although Santo Domingo was the starting point for the pork rinds, today Villa Mella takes the lead . Throughout the Caribbean country there are delicious recipes with pork skin, but the reference is Villa Mella.
Being a municipality of Santo Domingo, pig farming is prominent, so much so that it became a tradition to prepare pork rinds. A center was created hand in hand with the chicharroneros of the area called “Rescuing Our Culture: Chicharrón de Villa Mella “.
If you go on an excursion through this village, ask your guide to take you to eat pork rinds. The quality of the pork rinds from this region lies in the preparation and the raw material. The cut of the skin is one of the best, even people from other municipalities go to Villa Mella for pork rinds .The traditional recipe for pork rinds has sour orange juice , we will show you the recipe shortly.
The best pork rinds (“chicharrones”) recipes.
The best recipes are the typical ones that make the Dominican Republic a milestone in Caribbean gastronomy . The preparations of pork rinds that we will see below are those that are made with Dominican hands. As a first recommendation, keep in mind that the quality of the ingredients will influence the result of the dish.
We will take a walk through the incredible DR to learn how pork rinds are made and what we can accompany this dish with. All ready? Alright, let’s get started!
Pork rinds with sour orange.
The flavor of sour orange gives a touch of freshness to pork rinds. Citrus tones enhance the flavor and cut through the fat so you don’t flood your palate with excess. There are versions where lemon is added once the chicharrón has been served or with slices on the plate.Let’s move on to the recipe and instructions for making pork rinds with sour orange :
- 1 kg of skin or pork rib that is fresh.
- 2 sour oranges
- Butter to taste in case of using ribs.
1. Let’s start by cutting the pork into pieces of 2 or 4 cm , depending on the thickness you want to give it. When you have cut it, proceed to wash with plenty of water, at this point we will use one of the oranges. This will kill bacteria, it also neutralizes any odors that may be present on meat or skin.
Once the pork is clean, season with oregano and salt, sometimes pink or whole salt is used. Add the remaining orange juice and let it marinate for a couple of minutes.
2. We take the pork to a cauldron where we will let it boil until it is cooked, a lot of water is not necessary. We remove from the water at the moment it softens, but you can let the water dry. In this case, the butter will not be necessary, but we must be careful so that it does not burn. It is best to lower the heat to a minimum.3. In a pan add the butter and we wait for it to be very hot before adding the pork. It is possible that the skin of the pork will drain more fat, therefore we only need a tablespoon. Through that tablespoon, the butter will begin to come out of the piece of pork that you have cooked (layer).
To finish, make sure that the salt is good, stir constantly when the pork is frying for uniform cooking. Remove from heat when golden and crisp, serve on a plate with orange or lemon slices.
Pork rinds and cherry tomatoes
This recipe is another variant of the Dominican chicharrones , what changes is that cherry tomatoes are added . In this case, the tomato is used as a garnish when serving the chicharrón, it can also be fried. To do this, we wait for the chicharrón to be almost ready and add the tomatoes cut into quarters.
- 1 kg of pork.
- 4 cherry tomatoes.
- 1 cup of orange juice.
- ½ cup of vegetable oil.
- Salt and pepper.
1. We will start by cleaning the pork using plenty of water, if you wish, you can rub sea salt on the portion that you will cook. Cut the pork into pieces of the size you want in cubes, it is advisable to do it in 2-5 cm portions.
2. In a large saucepan add the pork and pour in the orange juice and water until completely covered. Add the pepper and oregano, let it cook until the liquids have evaporated. By this time the meat and skin will have been fully cooked, be sure to bring to medium heat.
3. If the water has completely dried up, it is time to add the oil to start frying. Stir the meat so that it does not burn and each piece is well browned, wait for the preparation to be crispy. The estimated time it takes to fry the pork is 20 minutes , add the tomatoes when it is almost ready.
There is the option of cutting fresh tomatoes to accompany the chicharrones, in addition to the usual lemon slices.
4. When the chicharrón is ready, remove it from the heat and take the pieces to a container with absorbent paper. Let drain for a few minutes and bon appetit!
Traditional pork rinds.
This recipe has no accompaniment of flavors, neither orange nor tomatoes, it is a traditional preparation of the typical pork rinds . However, you can adapt this dish with the flavors you want, such as adding your favorite sauce when serving.
- 1 kg of pork layer (belly or skin).
- Water for cooking.
- Salt and pepper.
1. If you select the bacon, it is made up of skin and meat, cut the meat into strips without cutting the skin. If you prefer, cut into cubes so that the pieces are more separated, as we have indicated in the previous recipes.
Then, start seasoning with salt and pepper, if you want to macerate, take it to the fridge in a container with a lid. After about 10 minutes the meat will be ready to cook.
2. Take the bacon to a saucepan , add water until everything is covered, let it boil until it dries. Depending on the amount of pork, choose a container with enough space to make it comfortable to stir.
When the water has evaporated, lower the heat on the stove and wait for the fat to come out. At this point, you can add oregano if you like.
3. At one point in the cooking there will be more fat, be careful not to burn yourself in case it starts to splash. Wait for each of the sides to brown completely, that means the pork rinds are ready!
Recipes with “Chicharrón” in the Dominican Republic.
Chicharrón is not only a main dish, there are preparations that are made up of this Dominican delicacy. If you want to incorporate the flavor of pork rinds into typical DR dishes , keep reading and make them at home. .
Locrio of pork rinds
Locrio is one of the most endearing dishes among Dominicans , it is a recipe made up of rice. Sure to become your favorite option for lunch, it is an economical dish that everyone will love at the table.
- 4 cups of rice.
- 8 cups of water.
- 1 crushed or ground garlic.
- 1 kg of pork rinds.
- 1 large onion.
- 1 chili.
- 1 coriander branch.
- Leek to taste
- Salt and pepper.
1. In a large skillet add the pork rinds , they can be ready ahead of time or made following the instructions above.
2. In the same pan, fry the onion, garlic, chili pepper and leek, when they are transparent, add the rice. Sauté until the rice turns white, add the water and season with salt and pepper. Add the coriander when the water begins to boil.
3. Go stirring while the ingredients boil, it is not necessary to do it many times, it is about preventing it from sticking. When the rice dries, lower the heat and cover, wait until all the water has evaporated and turn off. The chicharrones locrio is ready to be brought to the table!
Mofongo with pork rinds
Mofongo is a typical Dominican dish loaded with Caribbean flavor, it is a plantain-based recipe. We will witness an adaptation of this dish with the flavor of pork rinds. Let’s not wait any longer! Let’s see the recipe:
- 3 medium green bananas.
- ¼ of pork rinds.
- 2 cloves of garlic.
- Olive oil.
- Plenty of vegetable oil for frying.
1. The bananas : start by peeling them and cutting them lengthwise into slices, take them to a container with plenty of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and soak the plantains for about 15 minutes.
After this time, take them out and let them drain on absorbent paper, wait for them to dry. If they stay very wet, it is likely that you will burn yourself with the oil, we do not want that to happen.
2. The oil : let it heat up well in a pan, then add the plantains until they are cooked. It is important that the plantains are not toasted, keep an eye on the oil and lower the flame if necessary.
When they are cooked, take them out and let them drain on absorbent paper to remove any excess oil.
3. The mofongo : in a mortar crush the garlic with the olive oil, remove the garlic to crush the plantains. The next thing is to add the garlic and the pork rinds to continue grinding in the mortar, you can use a bowl. In this case, help yourself with a kitchen stone or something that helps you grind the mixture without any problems.The consistency will be firm, it is not necessary to have a fine texture, traditionally it is served in the form of a ball. Help yourself with a container to compact the mofongo and then serve. Enjoy!
Dominican buns with pork rinds
- 1 kg of cassava cut into pieces and washed.
- 2 tablespoons of butter.
- ½ kg of pork rinds.
- 2 egg yolks.
- 8 teaspoons of baking powder.
- 1 pinch of toasted anise.
- 1 pinch of salt and another of sugar.
The procedure that we will present to you is a simpler version of the traditional preparation, but the result is still delicious:
1. In a pot with plenty of water, place the cassava pieces to cook, let it boil until softened. When the cassava is soft, remove it from the water to grind and achieve a silky and homogeneous puree.2. Go adding the ingredients starting with the butter, then the chicharrón, the yolks, the baking soda and the other seasonings. Mix until you get a thick dough , make long buns to give it the shape of a bread roll and fry in hot oil. When they are golden, remove from the oil and let it drain and then serve them and ¡buon appetito!
Ideas to accompany the Dominican-style pork rinds
When you have decided on one of the recipes that we have brought, complete your plate with some outline that we will mention:
1. Dominican white rice
White rice is an excellent accompaniment to Dominican-style pork rinds , as well as being delicious. Preparing it is very simple, measure 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice, fry the rice with vegetable oil.
Add the 2 cups of water when the rice has turned white, mix well and add salt to taste. Let it boil and wait for it to dry, lower the heat on the stove and cover the rice. It will be ready to serve in no time.
Although we have presented the recipe for mofongo with pork rinds , there is the option of doing it as a side dish on this dish. It is done following the previous indications, but in this case, we will omit to incorporate the chicharrón, since this will be the star.
Serve the pork rinds with the green plantain mofongo and enjoy.
3. Fried plantains
Tostones are traditional in the Dominican Republic , their preparation consists of cutting slices of green plantains that are then fried. We begin by cooking banana pieces with a thickness of 1-2 centimeters in the oil, before they brown, we remove them.
Then, they are crushed to fry again, achieving the crunch that will be the perfect accompaniment for the pork rinds.
4. Dominican salty arepa
Another typical DR recipe is salty corn arepas , made by mixing 1 ½ cups of flour and baking powder. In a pan we heat 1 cup of milk with sugar and salt, add the flour and mix adding 2 eggs.With a spoon we are distributing portions of the mixture in a frying pan or griddle to cook the arepas until golden brown. Serve very hot with your chicharrones , you will love this combination.
The gastronomy of the incredible Dominican Republic is one of its attractions, its flavors are vibrant and steeped in tradition. On your next visit to this paradisiacal Caribbean land , we invite you to explore its culture and food. Take these recipes to your table and if you are in a restaurant in the DR, you will already have knowledge about your dish.