Over the years, we have lived in quite a few countries. Unfortunately, not all of these had what one would call a cuisine. Meaning a studied, traditional, varied and many times, artistic manner of preparing food. To be clearer, people whose situation and culture encourage them to eat to live, usually don’t prioritize the what and how of food preparation. And it seems that in doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the wealth of the country. Take for instance, Ethiopia and Haiti. Two fairly poor countries, but yet, both of these countries have developed fantastic cuisines based on indigenous commodities.
Haitian cuisine boasts Lambi (conch), Rice and wild mushrooms, Chiquetaille(salted cod), Harang fume(smoked herring) ,Ti malice(spicy condiment), Poulet Creole(chicken), Banane pese (fried plantain), Roasted breadfruit and Griot, to name just a few.
Our family favorite is griot and our favorite place to eat it is in Haiti, at a truck stop between Miragoane and Les Cayes.
Note: In West Africa, a Griot is a praise singer. In Haiti, griot is a dish made of pork, often served with cocktails. Although it’s not called griot, cooks in Niger make a similar dish using mutton or goat. I don’t remember what it’s called but it was also tasty.
I won’t bore you with the story of my husband’s first experience with the innocent looking, Haitian yellow scotch bonnet pepper; I’ll just say that it was priceless!
I found these Moroccan peppers at the Carrefour City(upscale 7-11). The Wednesday market is not a full market day and only caters to the everyday, basic needs of your everyday, basic French person.
The shallots and the small red onions came from the Wednesday market. While the onions are not exactly the kind you find in Africa and Haiti, they still have the strong, aromatic characteristic of those onions.
This mixture of spicy peppers, shallots, onions and fresh grapefruit juice(no sour oranges here buddy), smelled Haitian!
I would have made banane pese also but my wooden tool for that is somewhere in the garage; probably with the pressure cooker.
This recipe was inspired by the guys over at fouye recipe.com.
3lbs of pork shoulder, cut into cubes
1 cup of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice or sour orange(if you can find them)
2 small red onions, chopped
2 good sized shallots, chopped
2 long green peppers(Anaheim or Serrano), chopped
1 1/2 tsp of salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Garnish: Thinly sliced green pepper and raw onion rings
Mix together in a bowl the pork, grapefruit juice, onions, shallots, green peppers and salt. Pour mixture into a ziplock bag and massage. Refrigerate overnight.
Pour the pork mixture into a large pot and simmer at a very low flame for 1 1/2 hours. No need to add water. When the pork is cooked, drain and rinse in a colander, being sure to remove the bits and pieces of onion, pepper, etc. Allow the rinsed pork to dry on a cutting board for about 15-20 minutes.
Heat oil in a wok or black skillet and fry pork to a golden brown. Garnish with sliced green pepper and onion rings.
Beverage suggestions: What else but Prestige beer from Haiti!