Fri, 13 July, 2018
Haitian pork chops are cooked twice and they are 'pork bits' more than chops. Griot, pronounced ‘gree-oh’, is a much loved Haitian dish, served with sauce made from cooking juices, Haitian pickles and rice.
Twice cooked pork or pork griot, Haitian meat dish, is truly fantastic as well as unusual - meat is expected to be seared first and roasted, baked, braised afterwards. Griot defies the tradition, baked for a spell in the oven first and jumping into a frying pan only last thing. Cut in oversized dice it is slow cooked in the oven with the hottest chilies and, uncommonly, four kinds of acid. It’s then drained and fried crisp in a pan while the strained cooking liquid makes gravy to die for. It’s better than the best pulled pork and completely worth the additional frying pan washing up.
The best cut for it in my experience is pork shoulder which is not too lean but with no gristly or tendony bits.I have tried pork tenderloin and would not advise you to do so unless your taste is for EXTREMELY dry and lean meat, albeit full of flavour. Pork belly can be griot-ted too and will probably resemble those crispy squares served at Chinese dim sum - always fascinating how remote cuisines reach out to one another.
This is also the dish to overcome anyone’s innate aversion to reheated food, and I know many suffer from that phobia. Leftovers, scraps, slop, dregs – these are not complementary words. Opposite of ‘freshly cooked’, it’s been standing around and then reheated. Day-old; stale; refried: if you read those words in a restaurants’ reviews you stay well clear. And yet if the reheating process is done on purpose, the results can be amazing: triple cooked chips for one, arancini balls for another. Some dishes gain flavour when reheated, like cassoulet or chilli; and try and find me tastier morsels than refried beans or pasta fritta.
The griot is probably as versatile as any casserole and you could experiment with different flavours created every time you cook it, by adding mushrooms instead of chilli, carrots instead of peppers etc. The acid, I’m guessing, is a constant ingredient so it keeps the meat from disintegrating in the long cooking process. I trust Melissa Clark’s recipes so did not veer from her instructions on NYTimes Cooking. But next time I’ll certainly freewheel. Because there will be many next times for sure.
pork griotServings: 4Time: 3 hours plus overnight marinating
- 1 small Scotch bonnet or 4-5 birds eye chilies
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped, keep the other half for garnish
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 60ml (1/4 cup) cider vinegar
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ kg (3 pounds) pork shoulder, not too lean, cut into 4cm (1 1/2-inch) dice
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
1. If using the Scotch bonnet chilli, wear gloves; it’s deadly. De-seed it and chop a quarter of it finely; leave the other quarters intact. If using birds eye chilies, chop 2 of them finely and pierce the others keeping them whole.
2. Place the chilies, onion, peppers, herbs and garlic in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar, juices and Worcester sauce. Add the diced pork and stir well. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
3. The next day take it out and bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Over high heat bring the casserole up to a simmer, transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours. Stir the meat occasionally. The liquid shouldn’t all evaporate but top up with a little water if it should threaten to do so.
4. If you have time, let the pot stand in the switched off oven for half an hour or so. Remove the meat onto a plate with a slotted spoon and strain the sauce into a small saucepan. Bring it to the boil and reduce to thicken, for about 10 minutes, depending how much liquid there was.
5. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Shake the meat chunks off remaining liquid and any herbs clinging to them, and fry on all sides until crisp and browned. Remove onto serving plates using tongs, garnish with extra parsley and drizzle with the sauce. Serve with pickles, plain rice or warmed up tortillas or flatbreads.