Good Food with Evan Kleiman: Getting to Know Haitian Cuisine

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What makes the food from Haiti unique? Haitian chef and restaurant owner Georges Laguerre is on Good Food to make sure we understand everything that makes his country’s food wonderful.

Influenced by French cuisine, the food here is bright and incredibly – perhaps unbearably?! – spicy. The brightness comes from native key limes, while scotch bonnets and habanero chiles contribute the heat factor. Laguerre explains that this is true Creole cooking!

Starch comes from rice or from vegetables like the plantain, and the Haitians typically choose red beans over black. Dairy doesn’t play a major role, so sauces are typically built from the reduction of cooking juices. You’ll also find a lot of goat, chicken, and as you’d expect for island cuisine, seafood.

Laguerre also describes how everything in Haitian cuisine is marinated to infuse even more flavor. Meat is then typically “double-cooked” – it will be roasted on one day and then cooked as part of a specific preparation the next. Sauteing is also a key technique used for many dishes.

Yum! We can’t wait to try out some Haitian recipes in our kitchen – though we might have to build up to using those scotch bonnets. Do you have a favorite Haitian dish?

• To hear Evan Kleiman’s complete interview with Georges Laguerre, visit the Good Food website.

(Image: Flickr member BBC World Service licensed under Creative Commons)