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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Culinary Solidarity

A few years ago my parish sent home a Lenten calendar of recipes for the various countries that received aid from Catholic Relief Services. They were our Lenten charity that year. Most of the recipes were vegetarian (or very nearly so) and great to try on a Friday night. I like preparing different ethnic and regional cuisine, so this was right up my alley. Thinking of Haiti this week I decided to look up and prepare some traditional Haitian meals. I used my brand new handy-dandy pressure cooker to make some Red Beans and Rice or Riz et Pois. It didn't come out as well as I would have wanted, the lovely melding of flavors of good red bean and rice came to taste overwhelmingly of pepper.

Here instead is the traditional method of preparation.

Sort, rinse and soak beans. Drain beans and cook them by bringing to a boil and then reducing heat, keeping beans at a bare simmer for 1-2 hours (depending on amount you are cooking.) I like to add some chopped onion, bay leaf, chopped carrot and garlic to my beans. I add salt at the end of cooking to avoid tough beans. If your beans haven't achieved the state of soft mushy fall apart goodness, feel free to mash a few with a potato masher or fork. Do NOT blend or puree! Drain beans and reserve the cooking water (don't pour down the drain.) Melt some butter or oil in a cast iron skillet, add rice to pan and allow to cook to a golden brown. Add the amount of reserved cooking water you need to your rice (for instance making 1 C. of rice use 2 C. of water.) If you have it on hand add a bit of chopped green bell pepper to the rice. When rice is done, mix with beans and serve. For spicier beans and rice add cayenne pepper or tabasco to taste.

A few nice side dishes would be fried plaintains and maybe cornbread and salad.


  1. Cooking Haitian cuisine - what a lovely idea! I would have never thought of that one,

  2. Hey, Suzanne, I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award over at my blog. :)

  3. Thank you both! I wanted to blog more this month, particularly about Haiti, but my persistent stomach bug has prevented me. My church is launching a flotilla of supplies to Haiti soon, I will be blogging about that.