Haitian Legume is a vegetable stew, usually consisting of a protein, eggplant, cabbage, chayote, and any combination of other vegetables desired including watercress, green beans and even cucumbers. It is very popular in Haiti, where the dish originates.
The meat is cooked first. The vegetables are cooked separately until soft, mashed, then combined with the meat.
Beef, goat and crabs are the most popular proteins used. Pork and other seafood are also used and it is not unusual to mix different proteins in one dish. The vegetarian versions simply omit the meat.
Some variations are made with Epis, a Haitian spice mix. Haitian legume is usually served with white rice.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The exact origin of this dish is unknown but it’s a very significant dish in Haitian cuisine. Legume means vegetables. Haitian legume can be made with any vegetables the cook desires, has on hand or can afford. It can be made cheaply without loosing out on flavor. This is a daily meal in many Haitian households but it is still special enough to prepare for important occasions.
Haitian Legume Recipe
- Haitian seasoned beef - 2lbs
- Olive or vegetable oil - 2 tbsp
- Tomato paste - 3 tbsp
- Water - 2 cups
- Chicken stock cube - 1
- Water – 1 cup
- Eggplants, peeled – 2
- Cabbage – ¾
- Watercress - 1 packet
- Carrots - 2
- Shallots - 3
- Onion - 1
- Scotch bonnet hot pepper - 1 whole
- Lime (juice only) - ½
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Cloves - 4
- Garlic clove - 2
- Chicken stock cubes - 2
- Clove powder - ¼ tsp
- Olive oil - 4 tbsp
- Place the two tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium-low heat.
- Place the pieces of marinated meat in the pot and cover.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the water in the meat has almost completely evaporated. The meat is ready to brown.
- Brown the meat with tomato paste over medium heat. Be careful not to overcook it; the goal here is just to give it some color and make it more appealing to the eye.
- Add 2 cups of water, 1 chicken stock cube and simmer for 5 minutes.
- While the meat cooks, also cook the vegetables.
- Cut all the vegetables into pieces, except the carrots.
- In another pot, add a cup of water with 1 chicken stock cube.
- Put all the cut vegetables in the pot with the whole carrots.
- Cover and cook over medium low heat for approximately 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, start checking for doneness. The vegetables should be soft enough to mash.
- Remove from the heat.
- Start by removing the carrots, cut them into slices and put the pieces in the meat.
- Using a ladle with holes, remove the vegetables from their water and mash them well.
- Add the mashed vegetables to the meat (be careful not to burst the hot pepper) and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the meat is at the desired consistency.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 401Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 287mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 28g