Maybe you haven't heard of pepino silvestre guisado or cocombro guisado (a West Indian or burr gherkin recipe), but I don't want it to disappear as many of our grandmas' traditions. So, whether you can find it or not, you can learn something about this interesting dish.
By- Last reviewed . Published Jul 15, 2012
Why we ❤️ it
Not long ago, I arrived from my trip to a sleepy little village in the mountains by the border. From that trip to Capotillo, I returned home with a handful of pepino silvestre, sweet memories of my childhood, and a desire to reproduce a family recipe.
This humble dish combines the delightful texture and mild flavor of an unusual vegetable, with pork in a guisado I grew up with.
If you have never heard about it, let me introduce Cucumis Anguria, better known in the DR as pepino silvestre, pepino del monte, or cocombro, an obscure and poorly appreciated vegetable.
As its Spanish name suggests (wild gherkin), this vegetable grows in the wild, especially in areas of low precipitation.
Cocombro is known in English as West Indies gherkin or burr gherkin, and in other Spanish-speaking countries as badunga and cohombro. This resilient vine yields fruits about 4 to 8 cm in length.
In the DR, it isn't grown on a large scale or found in supermarkets. These I bought at the farmers' market in Dajabón.
West Indian gherkin, and cocombro guisado.
- Burr gherkins are not peeled. Traditionally, they are crushed with a meat mallet which makes the cooking time shorter, and remove the seeds.
- The seeds, while not inedible, are hard to chew and thus discarded.
About this recipe
I remember this humble dish from my grandma's and mami's kitchen.
This vegetable tastes a lot like regular cucumber, but it does not lend itself to being eaten raw. The mild flavor and interesting texture are best combined with the strong flavors of the braised pork.
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Cocombro or Pepino del Monte Guisado (Burr Gherkin)
- 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, [0.45 kg](or belly), cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon oregano , (dry, ground)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper , (freshly-cracked, or ground)
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound cocombro , (West Indian gherkin) [0.45 kg] (pepinos silvestres), clean of seeds and cut into quarters
- 1 cubanela, (cubanelle pepper or bell pepper), cut into small pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red onion, cut into strips
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1. Seasoning the meat
- Season the meat with orégano, a pinch of pepper and a teaspoon of salt.
2. Browning the meat
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a deep-bottom pot. Add the meat and cook stirring (careful with splatters of hot oil). It will release some liquid, once it has evaporated cook until it browns.Add half a cup of water and cover. Cook until the water has evaporated (be careful you don't let the meat burn).
3. Cooking the cocombro
- Add the gherkin and cook stirring until it has heated through. Add another half a cup of water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the gherkins are cooked through (you should taste them).
4. Making the sauce
- Let the liquid evaporate and add peppers, garlic, and onion. Stir and cover. Simmer for 2 minutes.Add the tomato sauce and a cup of water. Mix well and simmer until it breaks the boil.Season with salt to taste. Add the cilantro, stir, and remove from the heat and serve.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
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