If I were to write a book titled All the Things I Know Little to Nothing About, anthropology would be there somewhere.
Even so, I am going out on a limb and say that a country’s socio-economical situation must influence its culinary culture. To me it seems self-evident.
This would explain why dishes like this berenjenas guisadas con cerdo (braised pork and eggplants) and other similar ones are so popular in our country. Meat is expensive, adding vegetables to meat dishes means dishes that are filling, and don’t require as much meat.
It’s a lucky coincidence that this is exactly what doctors naggingly recommend.
Eggplants and christophines (chayote) are two of the most popular choices for this purpose. Both vegetables are abundant, inexpensive and filling.
One less common choice is West Indies gherkin, mostly because this is a vegetable that does not lend itself to mass production and can only occasionally be found in farmers markets.
I don’t mention it in the recipe, but at home we prefer this dish spicy, although the original dish does not contain spicy peppers I add it at home. If you enjoy spicy food just one Scotch bonnet pepper will put hairs on your chest. Proceed with caution.
Another addition I have made, which is not found in the original dish, is carrots. I love carrots and will use any excuse to add it to food. You can leave it out if you want.
Berenjenas guisadas con cerdo (braised pork and eggplants) is a delicious, curry-like dish that is very popular in the Dominican Rep. For this dish I used little prince eggplants, from my organic container garden. Any eggplant can be used though.
- 1 lb of pork cut into small pieces (blade chops or any cut for braising)
- 2 lb of eggplant cut into small pieces
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 large onion, cubed
- 1 large carrot, cubed
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano
- 3 cups of plum tomatoes, diced
- Season pork with a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add pork and brown.
- Add 3 tablespoons of water and simmer covered over low heat. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring and adding water by tablespoons as it becomes necessary.
- Add the carrots and simmer some more until the meat is tender.
- Let all the liquid evaporate. Add the onions, cook stirring until the onions become transparent.
- Add the eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, oregano, garlic and Scotch bonnet pepper.
- Add 3 tablespoon of water and simmer covered over low heat until the vegetables are cooked through. Stir and add water as it becomes necessary.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with white rice and salad.