Eat a Meal of Solidarity: Haiti’s Sos Pwa Rouj

Red Beans (Pwa Rouj)

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)
Serves 8

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.

13 thoughts on “Eat a Meal of Solidarity: Haiti’s Sos Pwa Rouj

  1. This recipe post was both sensitive and appropriate. People who write unfounded, mean-spirited and silly comments hardly ever do so transparently, so as to avoid an actual conversation. Thanks for the recipe–I hope to make it soon.

  2. Great post Cynthia. At the core, food is our common language.
    I’m also writing because we have made you our featured Food Blog of the Day on Foodista. Your blog for Eat a Meal of Solidarity: Haiti’s Sos Pwa Rouj will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours. I’m very happy to be posting your blog.

    Since you are now a part of the Foodista Featured Blogger of The Day Community, we’ve created a special badge for you to display proudly on your blog sidebar.

    We are really enjoying your blog and look forward to seeing your recipes, tips and techniques on Foodista! I especially love all your history and well researched facts in everything you write.

    If you would not like to be recognized on Foodista please let me know and I will remove your blog from our queue.


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    Foodista- The Cooking Encyclopedia everyone can edit!

  3. About solidarity: “It might be one of the world’s poorest areas, besieged by its neighbour Israel, but Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have been donating what little they have to help those struck by the earthquake in Haiti. Among the donations collected by a Red Cross representative: toys, toiletries and sweets – small luxuries that Gazans know only too well can brighten spirits in the face of devastation. Some also gave money.”

  4. Dear Cynthia, in my country there is the custom to prepare food for the grieving family for several days, as a sign of respect, compassion and care. Your post is like an act of respect, compassion and care.
    And yes, at times like these, knowing better the Haitian food culture moves us to remember and help the people of Haiti. Food can bind us together after all.

  5. I am very touched to learn that you will be cooking this dish for your neighbors, Susan. The news out of Haiti continues to dismay me terribly. I will be keeping yur neighbors in mind, as well as all Haitians — many of those whom we know personally have lost several loved ones.

  6. I love your post. I’m making it to take to the grieving Haitian family downstairs from me. They just moved in, I mean just last week. They are at wit’s end & they are not eating. They did eat a cake I took, & this won’t be nearly what they had in mind from home but you’ve helped me enormously to be respectful to them. Thank you so much for this.


  7. Wonderful post, as there are few better ways than to appreciate another culture than through its food. At a time we should remain mindful of the horrific events in Haiti, this is a most appropriate way to appreciate the culture that is suffering so. While I have made numerous charitable donations in the wake of the tragedy, I’ll hope to be joining you shortly in preparing this dish.

    As to the critic of your post… forest for the trees, buddy.

  8. I find your post respectful and appropriate. I join you in feeling frustrated and helpless, wanting to think of something positive about Haiti and hoping for a better future.

  9. You obviously know not that I spent three years in Haiti working in humanitarian aid and in a previous post that ran for several days last week I urged people to donate what they can to the charity of their choice. AND we work with a university that had a team on the ground when the earthquake struck. I notice you do not even have a Web page where I can see what you are doing, so don’t be so quick to judge. Eating with people is a form of community and my blog is not just about recipes. I will leave this post because most thinking people will realize that they are lucky to eat and maybe in the act of eating will be moved to remember (and help) the suffering people of Haiti, whom I know and you do not.

  10. I’m sure you mean well and I respect your apparent expertise on Haitian food. But this posting strikes me as a shockingly inappropriate while everyone is focused on the recent earthquake and the tragic news that the suffering and deprivation will continue perhaps indefinitely. You should seriously consider taking this down until you can perhaps devise a way to turn your recipes and energy into some fundraising effort.

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