Hello friends and fellow foodies!
One thing that has caught my attention for some time now is the fact that even though Dominicans and Haitians share the island, the air and much of the culture, we know so very little about Haitian culinary culture.
I’ve had the privilege of always having at least a Haitian in all of my classes and I’ve made a point of trying to get them to share some traditional dishes.
Chenchén is a very traditional southern Dominican dish but Haitians also have their version. I had my Haitian students guide me in this endeavor. I have tried to keep the original spirit of the recipe as alive as possible, while, as usual, adding my own touch.
Haitian Chenchén is a very nutritious dish, maybe more than the Dominican version, because to the already rich corn they add beans. It’s also highly delicious. I mean, what can be bad about corn and beans?!
- 1 lb. of chenchén corn.
- 1 can of evaporated milk.
- The milk of one coconut. (Or one can of coconut milk)
- ¼ of the fiber of the coconut (if you actually used a real coconut of course)
- 4 tbsps. Butter
- 1 tsp. Anise
- Salt to taste.
Ingredients for the beans.
- ½ lb. Red beans (Haitians generally use black beans) previously tendered. (Unless you’re using canned beans, in which case you don’t need to)
- 1 red onion.
- 1 cubanela pepper.
- 1 tbsp. Garlic paste (natural)
- 1 tbsp. Tomato paste.
- 1 stalk of celery.
- Cilantro and cilantrico. (coriander)
- 1 bouillon cube (optional)
Preparing the stewed beans.
Haitians stew their beans slightly different than Dominicans. Dominicans generally use more water while Haitians like to add water only to cover the beans and keep adding as the beans consume it. Interestingly enough, the Haitian way allows for a faster cooking of the beans.
So, stir fry your ingredients, add the beans and enough water to just cover the beans and keep adding water as it needs it until tender. Once ready, set apart.
Preparing the Haitian chenchen
Now we go back to the point in which the chenchén was ready to go in the oven. That’s when you add the beans, mix and allow to continue to cook together for a few minutes.
Then put in the oven until you have the desired consistency.
Hope you enjoy your Haitian chenchén as much as we did.
A big hug from the warm Caribbean in which the island shared by Dominicans and Haitians deliciously simmers.
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