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Tchaka is a traditional Haitian red beans and corn casserole enhanced with smoked salt-cured pork meat. | tchakayiti.com

Tchaka, a Haitian bean and corn casserole

The secret to a successful tchaka is in the salt-cured pork meat and the simmering. Make sure to taste it often, and adjust the seasoning as needed. 

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of dried corn
  • 2 cups of red beans
  • 2 salt cured pig feet sliced
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 piment bouc
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 sour oranges juice
  • 1 juice of lime
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

Cooking the beans and corn

  1. Soak the beans and corn in water at room temperature for about 10 hours (overnight)
  2. Drain and rinse. Discard the water.
  3. Transfer the beans and corn to a pressure cooker
  4. Add the parsley, garlic, thyme, onion, bell pepper and peppercorn
  5. Cover with water
  6. Cook halfway (about 15 minutes). Don’t fully cook them, as the cooking process will continue once all the ingredients are combined.

Cooking the pig feet

  1. Soak and rinse the salted pig feet with water
  2. Transfer them to a pressure cooker
  3. Cover with water
  4. Add some thyme sprigs, parsley, garlic, peppercorn and sour orange juice
  5. Cover and cook until fork tender (about 30 to 45 minutes)
  6. Drain. Preserve the cooking water, you will use it as broth.

Combining the ingredients

  1. Brown the drained pig feet in a thick bottom pot
  2. Slowly incorporate the preserved pig feet broth
  3. Mix in the cooked corn and beans with their cooking water
  4. Add the bay leaves and whole piment bouc
  5. Season with ground pepper to taste
  6. Simmer on low for about an hour or two until your tchaka thickens
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed
  8. Finish with the juice of one lime
  9. Enjoy as is by the spoonful

Recipe Notes

The success of this recipe relies mostly on the pork meat that needs to be salt-cured for its flavor to come out. My grandmother didn't add pumpkin to her tchaka, but, some people do. If you wish to add some to yours,  puree a cooked piece and combine it with the previously cooked ingredients before simmering.