Feast Day of Our Lady of Altagracia

Here we are, on the down side of January. Yesterday was a big day in America. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a conservative Republican. It was hard and a little scary to see the country go so blue. Maybe I drank the Republican cool aid but the thought of American becoming a Solicits Country scares me. Yet as a woman of faith, I must trust in God and in His wisdom.

Let me clarify something about my politics. Yes, I am a card-carrying Republican. I voted for Donald Trump not because I liked him as a human being (I don’t) but because he was the candidate of my party. What I do support are many of the policies of the Republican Party. That said, what has happened recently on the right (storming the Capital in Washington) was just as wrong as what we saw over the summer from the left. Mob rule is never the way to bring about change. People seem to see the divide in this country as a race issue. I really don’t think that’s true. It’s about the differences between City Folks and Country Folks. I’m not saying one is better than the other, just different with a different set of values, priorities and dreams.

Enough about politics – this blog is all about sharing good food and positive thoughts. Now on the National Calendar front, we could talk about Granola Bar Day, New England Clam Chowder, Hugging Day or even Squirrel Appreciation Day. Hugs are so needed every day, although I’m not sure it’s allowed any more. While I love New England Clam Chowder and I am sure there are a lot of yummy recipes out there for Granola Bars, I’m not sure what to do with Squirrel Appreciation Day. So instead, I’ve turned to the Catholic Calendar.

Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Altagracia, (High Grace). A National Holiday in the Dominican Republic, it is the first of two National Holidays dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Altagracia is the patron saint of the Dominican people, said to look over them and protect them. In places outside the Dominican Republic with a large Dominican community, this day is celebrated with feasts, music and merriment.

One thing is certain, you don’t need to be Dominican or a Catholic to appreciate simple foods bursting with flavor. Happy Our Lady of High Grace Day everyone!

Lady of Altagracia Menu
Dominican Chicken, Beans and Rice
Pudin de Pan – Flan Bread Pudding

Dominican Chicken, Beans and Rice
Dominican Chicken
3 lb Chicken Fryer
1/2 large Yellow Onion
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 bunch Cilantro
3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
10 Garlic Cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons Chicken Bouillon Granules
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
4 cups water

Cut chicken into 8 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, 2 wings). Discard back or save for homemade chicken bone stock. Remove skin and fat from the chicken pieces and rinse under cold water.  Dry with paper towels.

Peel and chop onion, set aside. Core, seed and chop bell pepper, set aside. Rinse cilantro, roughly chop including stems. Set aside.

Peel garlic, press into a large bowl. Add onion, bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce and bouillon. Mix well. Add chicken, let marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan with a lid, such as a dutch oven, and add the brown sugar.  Let the sugar burn.  Add the chicken pieces to the pan, reserving the marinade.  Brown the chicken pieces on all sides.

Add 4 cups of water to the marinade in the bowl. Add the marinade liquid to the pot by large spoonful to keep the chicken from sticking to the bottom.  When the chicken is cooked through, add the remaining marinade.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Add more water to the pot if the chicken starts to stick during this time.

Serve over hot rice with a side of Dominican Beans.

Dominican Pinto Beans
1/2 large Yellow Onion
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 bunch Cilantro
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
10 Garlic Cloves
2 (15 oz) cans Pinto Beans with liquid
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Chicken Bouillon Granules

Chop remaining yellow onion, bell pepper and cilantro including stems. Set aside.

In a large saucepan heat the oil. Peel and press garlic cloves directly into the hot oil and quickly brown.  Add onion, bell pepper and cilantro. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and chicken bouillon.  Cook until well combined.

Add the beans to the mixture and add enough liquid to make it saucy. Simmer for 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust salt before serving. Serve over white rice with Dominican Chicken.

Instant Pot White Rice
1-1/2 cups White Rice
1-1/2 cups Water
1 tablespoons Butter
Salt to taste

Rinse rice under cold water for 5 minutes. Place in the Instant Pot along with water and butter. Season with a little salt. Place lid on pressure cooker, select White Rice Setting and cook for 12 minutes.

Let pot release pressure naturally. When ready to serve, fluff and enjoy.

To serve, ladle some rice down the middle of individual bowls. Pile chicken on one side, beans on the other with plenty of liquid. Simple, satisfying and delicious.

Pudin de Pan – Raisin Bread Pudding
1 cup Sugar for caramelizing
6 cups Day-old Bread
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 Eggs
1/2 cup Raisins
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Boil a kettle of water for the bath, keep at a simmering boil until ready to use.

In an aluminum bread pan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully tilt the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside to cool.

Cut the leftover bread into cubes and place into a large mixing bowl, set aside.

In a blender beat the evaporated milk, condensed milk, 4 eggs, vanilla extract and cinnamon powder.

Pour milk mixture over the bread cubes, add the raisins and stir. Let sit for a few minutes for the bread to absorb some of the liquid. If it appears too dry add milk, if it’s too wet, add bread.

Place mixture into the bread pan. Place the bread pan into a larger rectangular pan that is at least 2 inches deep. Place both pans into the oven. Fill larger pan about half way with hot water to create a bath.

Bake for approximately 90 minutes, until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pudding

Let cool, then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

To serve, use a knife to separate the sides of the pudding from the pan. Invert onto a serving plate, allowing caramel syrup to ooze over the bread pudding.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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