I learned this recipe from Rose Marie Paul on the first day of the 2013 Ghetto Biennale in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. We prepared it in Lakou Eugene during a ceremonial performance for Erzulie. We served it with Diri Djon Djon
12 plump chicken legs
5 oranges, peeled with a knife leaving half the pith in tact
4 tsp rock salt
1 lb green beans, ends removed and sliced diagonally into 1″ segments
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise at a diagonal in 1/2 ” segments
12 small potatoes, peeled
Small bunch of parsley tied together with 5 large sprigs of thyme
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 40 gram packet of ‘sazon ranchero’ (similar to a Mexican taco sauce)
4 habanero chilis
1 green onion, white and green part, chopped into 1″ segments
5 cloves garlic
3/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 green bell pepper, finely sliced
2 T butter
2 small yellow onions, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
Wash chicken legs and make a diagonal slice to the bone through the thickest part of the meat. Place the chicken in a large pot. Squeeze the juice of one orange and 2 limes over the chicken, rubbing the juice into the meat. Add 2 tsp rock salt, stir to combine and leave to marinate. Reserve juice from 4 remaining oranges and 4 remaining limes in a separate container. The rinds may be added to the chicken marinade.
Boil green beans, carrots and potatoes until cooked through but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside, separating the potatoes from the beans and carrots. In a large wooden mortar and pestle, pound one habanero, green onion, garlic and chicken bouillon cube until a rough paste forms. Reserve.
Remove citrus rinds from the chicken marinade. Add enough water to reach the top of the chicken legs. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Strain chicken, discarding cooking liquid. Return the chicken to the pot. Add reserved citrus juices, parsley and thyme. Cook over medium high heat until all liquid evaporates and starts to brown on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with 2 cups of water, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add enough water to reach half way up the chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, then add a chicken bouillon cube and the sazon ranchero. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, take out the parsley and thyme sprigs, and add the reserved paste from the mortar and 2 tsp rock salt.
Remove from flame. Drain chicken, reserving cooking liquid. Heat oil in the large pot and add chicken pieces in a single layer. This may take a couple of rounds. Fry chicken until it is a deep chestnut color. After chicken has fried, remove to separate bowl. Add tomato paste to the same oil and sautee for about 3 minutes. Add green beans and carrots and sautee for 5 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid and simmer 10 minutes. Add 2 whole habanero chilis, potatoes, green bell pepper, butter and a splash of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir, mashing the habanero against the side to release flavor. Return chicken to the pot, add sliced onion and simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve with Diri Djon Djon
Sourcing carrots from the local market, we support local farmers who travel into the city bringing their produce to the dense communities who inhabit the Grand Rue.