Food Haitian American

The New York Times Discover Griot and Piklis

Courtesy of NYTimes

It look like the New York Times have discovered Haiti’s most popular and loved Haitian dish.

According to [New York Times]“Have you ever had griot?”

My friend Roger asked me that at a dinner party he hosted this winter. Not only had I never had griot, I had never even heard the word spoken aloud. (It’s pronounced gree-oh.) Up until that evening, griot — a classic Haitian dish of pork cubes simmered in chiles and citrus, then fried — had been something I had only read about, a signifier of an exotic-sounding recipe I couldn’t quite picture.

The problem was that when I read recipes for the dish, they ran counter to all my experience with braising meat. I use the classic French technique that has you sear your meat first, then simmer it in liquid. This gives you that dark bronzed exterior and depth of flavor in the sauce, which comes from all the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan.

A Haitian griot turns this on its head. The meat is simmered in its marinade until tender, then browned afterward — usually fried in a skillet. Instead of building flavor from the pan drippings, the sauce is the pork’s cooking liquid reduced down to a shiny glaze.

The result of this braising method, I learned that night at Roger’s, is deeply flavored, crisp-edged meat with a melting center, and a sauce that’s bright and spicy from the citrus and chiles in the marinade.

Courtesy of NYTimes

Bucking Haitian tradition, Roger concocted his griot from boneless turkey legs instead of pork, and he roasted the meat in the oven at the end instead of frying it in lard or Crisco. But the condiment on the table was classic: pikliz (pick-lees), a slaw-like pickle of green cabbage, carrots, sweet bell peppers and Scotch bonnet chiles, seasoned with onion and garlic and submerged in vinegar. In Haiti, pikliz may be served with any fried foods to cut through the richness, but it also zips up a simple bowl of rice and beans.

I made sure to put together a batch of pikliz a few weeks later when I made my griot using a recipe from Roger’s brother, though I went with the traditional fatty pork shoulder instead of turkey. It may have seemed counterintuitive on paper, but the recipe worked perfectly in my kitchen, allowing me to make the braise ahead and reheat by browning the meat. The only way I changed Roger’s method was to broil rather than roast, which gave me browned meat more quickly and reduced the risk of the meat drying out.

Now that I’ve had griot, I have no problem picturing it. The problem is that I can’t get it out of my mind.- Continue Reading Here


Griot made with turkey meat, I just don’t see myself enjoying it the same as my fried chucks of pork.

Can you imagine griot being on the menu of some of your favorite restaurants?

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