Jan 19, 2015

Making Plantain Fritas

I am always impressed with how hospitable people are –worldwide.  This was the case when we were in Haiti. Haiti is an interesting destination but it is not on many travelers’ radar. There is always so much to learn and experience everywhere we go. 

In the 1700s Haiti was the glory of the French colonies and one of
the richest colonies in the world.  In 1804 Haiti became the first black independent nation. Over the years, poor leadership and other issues caused economic troubles from which Haiti has never fully recovered and the earthquake in 2010. 

I had expected beaches and I was not disappointed. One of my favorite places was Jacmel where there are not only great beaches but shops with great local artwork created out of whatever was handy. We visited a place where artists made artworks out of discarded oil drums.  In Jacmel I was especially impressed with Charlotte, a shop that displayed colorful works of art made of gourds and reeds.   

In Jacmel we stayed at La Colline Enchantee.  The lovely eco-resort is high on a hill just outside of the Jacmel.  The owner Michele Gehy was very friendly and, like all the Haitians we met, proud of their country. While we were talking about Haitian food she mentioned that
plantains are the “Haitian potato.” I told her I had tried the Plantain Fritas and would love to know how to make them because they are not only delicious but would make great hors d'oeuvres.  She said, “Do you want to know how to make them? Come with me and I will show you.”  We went into the kitchen where she proceeded to show us how to make Plantain Fritas– gratis. The Griot de Porc can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and reheated when ready to put in plantain cups and serve.

Plantain Fritas
Griot de Porc 
1 lb of pork 
Juice of 2 limes 
1 cup orange juice
2 onions thinly sliced
1 green pepper thinly sliced
4 to 6 cloves
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp thyme 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Water as needed

This can be made ahead of time. Cut the pork into small cubes (keep the fat). Make a marinade of the lime juice, orange juice, half of the onions, green pepper, cloves, garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper. Marinate pork in marinade overnight in refrigerator (or at least four hours). Put it all in a sauce pan. Boil on low heat for about 20 minutes. Add water if necessary. Drain. Add rest of onions. Saute over medium heat until brown. Put in the plantain baskets and serve. It can be spiced up according to personal taste.   

Fried  Plantain  Baskets
4 green plantains
2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt
2 lemons
2 tbs vegetable oil for frying – or as needed

Peel the plantains. Cut into pieces two inches long. Place in water with salt and juice of lemon for two hours. Remove and drain on paper towels. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook plantains for two to three minutes. Remove plantains. Drain on a paper towel. Press the fried plantain pieces in a lemon press of similar device to make the small cup-like baskets. Put them back in the salt and lemon water for a couple minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Fry in oil until crispy. Fill with Griot de Porc and serve.