Haiti. We've certainly been hearing a lot about them lately. I admit, until recently, I didn't know much about Haiti. I know Port-Au-Prince was the capital and they spoke French. That's about it.
So when Joanne announced that we were heading to Haiti for the Regional Recipes tour, I figured I ought to do some research.
I knew they were poor but it turns out they are the poorest country in the America's.
It is also where Columbus landed in 1492 and claimed it for Spain.
Around 1700, the French were in control.
In 1804, the Haitians won their Independence and became the first African American republic in the New World.
About 200 years ago, they were the richest French colony, due to sugar, coffee and indigo production. This was possible because they had tons of slaves.
Wyclef Jean is from Haiti.
They tend to have a lot of earthquakes. The recent one killed anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 people. Sadly, they don't even know for sure how many died.
Haitian food tends to get lumped together with Caribbean Cuisine but does have a unique flavor based on Creole and French cooking styles.
Haitians tend to use a lot of peppers in their dishes and they are well seasoned, known to be moderately spicy. Not to mild but not too spicy. Just the way I like it.
So I'm flipping through my recent issue of the Cooking Light magazine while watching Parenthood on my computer (multi-tasking, you know). And out pops an article about Haitian Cuisine with a heartwarming story about a woman talking about the Haitian foods she grew up with and how she still feeds her children and grandchildren the food that she grew up with.
It was there I found the recipe for Haitian Chicken Pate Puffs. Apparently these Pate Puffs are a family favorite appetizer and are made at almost all family gatherings.
I also had been hanging on to a Caribbean Black Bean Soup recipe that I've been meaning to make for a long time. I LOVE black bean soup and this one proved to be awesome!
I love how the soup is very thick and chunky. Just the way I like it. You certainly could thin it out if you'd like more broth. This was spicy but it didn't knock your socks off. Actually, it did knock one of them off.
It's the addition of the orange juice that gives it the Caribbean flair. It's nice. You can taste it but unless you know it's OJ, you don't know what the flavor is. It pairs beautifully with the spices.
I had never used puff pastry before. I was initially pretty clueless as to how to do it and was wondering if they would turn out as pretty as the picture shown in the magazine. (Ha, is ANYTHING ever as pretty as the magazine?).
They really weren't that difficult. I do recommend that you get all the ingredients out and ready to go to make the filling. That worked well for me and it came together pretty fast with everything all prepped.
I did make some changes. It asked for raw ground chicken, I had some cooked chicken that was from the soup so I just used that. I finely chopped it and it seemed fine. My grocery store also was out of habaneros. Grrrr. So I used a jalapeno. I have heard that the flavor of the habanero is better though and I would have liked to try that.
If you notice, my title doesn't call them Pate Puffs while that is what the magazine calls them. That's right. I didn't choose to "pate" my filling. I felt I would like the consistency of the filling better without throwing it in the food processor. The only benefit of the food processor would be that it would be more gloppy and I think that I would have been able to get slightly more filling inside. When it was crumbly, it was too hard to press the sides if there was too much filling.
These were excellent. Really. I would recommend them as an appetizer anytime. In fact, I WILL be making them again for an appetizer party of some sort. I won't be making them for a normal dinner however as they are 137 calories a piece and I ate WAY too many of them.
I think I ate 4 of them for dinner.
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. molasses
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice (I went a little heavy on this and liked it)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt
Saute onion, splenda, molasses, chili powder, cumin, and coriander for about 2 -3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, orange juice, tomato paste and stir until well blended. Stir in chicken, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for about an hour or more if you want. Add black beans and cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in salt and cilantro or garnish bowls with cilantro.
Haitian Chicken Puffs
1 habanero pepper, finely diced (I used a jalapeno as it was all I had)
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, finely diced
2 tsp. garlic, minced
6 oz. chicken, cooked and finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
1/4 cup carrot, shredded
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. green onion, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped (I used about 1/4 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 - 17 oz. pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm)
1 tbsp. water
Coat pan with cooking spray. Add habanero pepper, onion and garlic to pan. Saute 3 minutes. Add chicken, cook 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add carrot, cook 2 minutes, add tomato paste, cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add lime juice and vinegar, scraping pan to loosen the browned bits on bottom of pan. Add green onions, parsley and seasonings. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
If you want this to be a pate mixture, you can place cooled chicken mixture into a food processor and mix until almost smooth. I didn't do this.
Preheat oven to 400. The puff pastry I used came in 2 sheets and I cut them each into 9 squares. Combine egg and water, stirring with a whisk. Brush egg mixture along the edges of pastry squares, spoon about a tablespoon of filling in center of each pastry square. Fold each pastry square in half, press edges closed with tines of fork. Brush top with egg wash, arrange 1 inch apart on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
Total calories for Black Bean Soup = 1846 calories
I didn't measure how many cups were in this but we got about 8 medium sized bowls from it.
8 servings = 231 calories per serving
Total calories for Haitian Chicken Puffs = 2464 calories
18 servings = 137 calories per Puff
1 servings Black Bean Soup + 4 Haitian Chicken Puffs = 779 calorie dinner
Calories calculated from calorieking.com. Some numbers are rounded and approximate.Information about Haiti from Wikipedia and Foodbycountry.com