Kelsy Camilo, CHN Nutritionist:
“I love how serious my family takes making Habichuelas con Dulce, each year during Lent. It’s always their first order of business. To them it’s never just about food. It is tradition, respect, love, pride, and harmony. There is always enough to feed a village, don’t ever hesitate to ask for more in a Dominican household!”
What is Habichuelas con Dulce?
In the Dominican Republic, Habichuelas con Dulce, is a traditional sweet dish enjoyed for Lent and Easter. However, it can be eaten throughout the year! Translating to “Sweet Beans”, it should be no surprise that its primary ingredient is red beans. Additional ingredients like batata (Dominican sweet potato) and milk help cultivate its thick and creamy texture. Habichuelas con Dulce is usually topped with milk cookies that have an engraved cross on them. The cross can be seen as an ode to the strong Catholic beliefs in Dominican culture. Habichuelas con Dulce can be eaten as a meal, snack, or dessert. It is usually eaten warm, but can also be cold or frozen-reminiscent to ice cream. Con dulce is typically made in big batches in a caldero (cauldron.) It is customary to offer to family and friends or store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- 5 Bags of Dominican Red Beans
- 3 batatas, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup Raisins
- 1 cup of Whole Milk
- 5 cups of Evaporated Milk
- 1 can Sweet Condensed Milk
- 2 cups of Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 tbsp each Ground Cloves & Cinnamon
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tbsp Cloves
How to make Habichuelas con Dulce:
- Soften beans in 8 cups water. Once softened, blend with 1 cup of whole milk.
- Use a fine-mesh colander to strain beans mixture.
- Pour the strained beans into a caldero and then pour evaporated milk, condensed milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir regularly for about 5 minutes
- Add the batatas and set your heat to low medium, stirring regularly for about 20-25 minutes
- Add the raisins and simmer for 10 minutes
- Serve and top portion with as many milk cookies as you’d like!