…or how to start eating vegetables
Carrot, cabbage, mirliton, eggplant, green beans…how do you get someone who hates vegetables to eat the items listed above?
By preparing a legume of course! Please note that in French, the word legume literally means vegetables.
I can already imagine the dubious look on your face after reading those lines. Don’t worry, I am not referring to just any dish. Nor am I suggesting that you simply cook those ingredients and try to shove them down the throat of vegetable haters. I could never preach that. I would be the first victim of my own words.
I have never been truly fond of vegetables. And I have yet to make peace with some of them. Boiled carrots and cooked cabbage are among those vegetables that rank high on my list of foods to avoid. I, nonetheless, manage to eat them in different forms particularly as the “legume” mentioned above. I have learned to enjoy this local dish through the years.
When I say legume, I am referring to a dish that is quite popular in our Haitian cuisine. Legume or touffe is much like a vegetable stew or ratatouille. It is often featured on the everyday menu of many locals. We prepare it primarily with vegetables to which we add meat or seafood. These vegetables can either be mirliton or eggplants or a mix of both, according to one’s preference. I myself would rather a mix of both because mirliton does not hold itself well when cooked alone.
Yes, I do like our legume. When touffe is featured on the menu, I serve myself generously. It’s actually one of the very few times you will detect an appetite for vegetables in me. I start my meal with the legume and boiled plantains as my entrée. I finish it with some more legume mixed with my rice. And when ciriques are included… se koupe dwèt!
This does not mean that I have overcome my aversion for vegetables.
I will only eat my touffe legume if all the vegetables are mashed and reduced to a puree.
I am living proof that a Haitian legume touffe can be a great strategy to get those who dislike vegetables to eat them. Try it for yourself with a loved one. You have a recipe below.
This is the base recipe for the Haitian touffe legume. Feel free to adjust it to your taste and add some meat. I find that this dish tastes better with some pork and/or cirique because the flavors are bold.
Should you choose to include meat, I recommend cooking the vegetables in the meat juice. This makes for a tasty legume in which all the flavors pair perfectly with each other.
Please also note that, since I am not fond of carrots and cabbage, I like all the vegetables to be cooked thoroughly and pureed. Some do leave them chopped, however.
Haitian touffe legume
- Piment bouc
- Vinegar or sour orange juice
- Salt & Pepper
- Bouquet Garni
- Chop the vegetables and set aside
- In a pot, cook the garlic and onion in some hot oil
- Add the eggplant, chayote, cabbage, carrot and leek and some water
- Cover and let cook
- Once the vegetables are cooked, puree them using a wooden pestle
- Put the purée back on the stove. Add salt and pepper to taste, a few drops of vinegar, the bouquet garni and whole piment bouc
- Let simmer for about 45 minutes
- Serve hot with some white rice