Commemorating Haitian Heritage Month through Culinary Arts: Part I
In Celebration of Haitian Heritage Month, Caribbean Essence is taking the opportunity to highlight some Haitian Chefs making strides in the culinary industry celebrating their heritage and roots through their cuisine. Haiti’s principal ambassadors are its cuisine and its art, each has its own history and it’s always a pleasure to highlight those who use their talents, and platforms to help share those stories and our beautiful culture.
The two chefs highlighted are Cherven Desauguste and Natacha Gomez are doing just that. They each share a recipe that is sure to satisfy your Haitian or Caribbean cravings or introduce you to a new favorite dish.
Chef Cherven Desauguste
From Grandma's home kitchens in Haiti, to fine-dining, Cherven Desauguste is the owner and Executive Chef of Mesob Restaurant located in Kansas City Missouri. Chef Cherven develops dishes that delight your senses. He subtly builds and balances bold flavors so that each bite is worth savoring. Using his talent and artistic flair, he plates meals that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Chef Cherven’s modification for success is defined by three Ds: Discipline, Dedication, and Determination.
½ pound eggplant, cut into thin rounds
½ pound cabbage, shredded
1/4 pound lima beans
½ pound carrots,
2 lb. ripe papaya
2 whole chayote squash peeled cut thin slices
10 oz. fresh spinach
½ medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves (2 chopped, 2 whole)
1 medium onion, chopped
8 sprigs of thyme
1 parsley brush
3 tbsp. tomato paste
2 scotch bonnet pepper (or habanero)
1 cup of water
1½ tsp salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chicken powder
1 oz olive oil
Place a large pan over medium-low heat, add 3 tbsp. olive oil. Sauté half of the chopped onions for about 5 minutes or until tender.
Reduce heat to low, stir in tomato paste. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves and lightly sauté. Stir in thyme and parsley. Continue stirring for 3 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic. Add a teaspoon of oil if the pan starts to get dry. (In this part of the process, you’ll want to monitor the bottom of the pan, continue adding small amounts of oil to prevent the pan from drying out, which may burn out all the delicious layers of flavors you’re creating.)
Bring heat to a simmer, add your veggies layering them accordingly: eggplant, 2 whole cloves of garlic, remaining onions, cabbage, spinach, papaya, chayote squash and scotch bonnet pepper. Keep the pepper whole, do not cut or puncture.
Add 1½ cups water and raise heat to medium. Cover pot and cook for 40 minutes. You want to cook the vegetables until thoroughly soft (continue to monitor and add water as needed). After the vegetables have cooked and are tender, REMOVE the pepper and discard*.
Mash the vegetables with a pestle or wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended, but not too mushy. Add carrots and beans, cover and continue cooking for 5 min. then add bouquet garni thyme and parsley. You should still have enough liquid in the pot, but if the pan dried out, add 1/4 cup of water to steam carrots and lima beans.
Next, add bell peppers. Cover and bring heat to a simmer for 10 minutes or until all liquid is cooked out. Stir everything together until well mixed.
*If you want your dish to have heat, add back in the pepper and puncture it with a fork. Keep it in until ready to serve.
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