As in a nightmare wrought by Quentin Tarantino, I watched the horrors unfolding in Haiti after the earthquake. Hands tied, unable to help in any major way, I turned to my pantry, memories of the lovely Haitian women who cooked for us stepping into my mind, smiling, images of hope for Haiti’s future.
Here’s a dish that soothes and nourishes.
To Haiti … in hopes that all will be fed.
Sos Pwa Rouj (Red Beans in Sauce)
2 cups small red beans, cleaned and picked over
½ small white onion
3 T. peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put beans and half onion in a large pot with water to cover the beans by two inches. Bring to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until beans are very tender. Drain, retaining the cooking liquid. There should be about 3 cups of liquid. If there is too much liquid, boil it down. If too little, add water to reach 3 cups of liquid. Take 1 ½ cups of cooked beans, add to blender or food processor along with 1 cup of bean liquid. Purée. Stir the purée in the remaining liquid and remaining whole beans.
Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan. Add the garlic and ½ cup of the parsley and cook briefly, making sure to avoid burning the garlic. Stir in the bean mixture, season with salt and about ½ t. of ground black pepper. Heat the sauce gently, until the raw garlic tastes is no longer apparent and the sauce is like the consistency of thick buttermilk. Stir in the remaining parsley and check for seasoning. Serve over white rice with griyo and hot sauce.