Wednesday 24 January 2018

Clodagh McKenna on the recipes inspired by her trip to Haiti

Clodagh McKenna at the farmers market in Port au Prince today
Clodagh McKenna at the farmers market in Port au Prince today "with these fabulous women who sell the fruits from the local farmers"
Creole chicken by Clodagh McKenna
Clodagh McKenna

Chef Clodagh McKenna shares the flavoursome local recipes that she learned on her trip to Haiti

Creole Chicken with Djon Djon Rice

Djon djon are a Haitian mushroom; you can substitute them with wild mushrooms.

Serves 6

Creole chicken by Clodagh McKenna


12 boneless/skin on chicken thighs

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

Clodagh McKenna at an orphanage in Île-à-Vache
Clodagh McKenna at an orphanage in Île-à-Vache

1 Scotch bonnet chilli, left whole

For the marinade:

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tbsp fresh flat parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp of olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the djon djon rice:

250ml water

100g djon djon (dried black mushrooms)

1 tbsp oil

1 clove of garlic

2 shallots, finely chopped

½ green pepper, diced

50g pigeon peas (or black-eyed peas)

1 clove

1 sprig thyme

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 hot pepper, whole

100ml chicken stock

200g rice

50g butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Clean the chicken using the Haitian meat cleaning method: with lemon or sour orange juice and vinegar. Rinse in cold water.

Make the marinade by mixing together the crushed garlic, parsley, thyme, lime juice, olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt. Rub the marinade all over the chicken, leave to marinate for a couple of hours, or if possible overnight.

Once the chicken has marinated pop it into a large zip lock bag. Place a large saucepan filled halfway with water over a high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer. Place the chicken into the saucepan and leave to simmer for 45 minutes.

After the 45 minutes, remove the chicken from the saucepan and the bag and set aside. Place a sauté pan or skillet to a medium heat, and once hot brown the chicken on both sides. Add a half cup of water to the saucepan along with the tomato paste, scallions, pepper and chilli. Stew the chicken on a medium-high heat for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until it is ready to serve.

Meanwhile, soak the djon djon or other mushrooms in 250ml hot water for 30 minutes. Pass through a blender, then strain through a fine strainer. Keep the water and discard the residue.

In a saucepan, pour in the oil, garlic, shallots, pepper and pigeon peas (black-eyed peas). Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the black water from the djon djon and clove, thyme, a pinch of cayenne, hot pepper and stock.

When the water begins to boil, add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Cook uncovered until the total absorption of water. Add the butter. Finish cooking over low heat, covered, for 15 minutes. Serve with the creole chicken.


Garlic Prawns with Mango Sambal

iw haitian prawns (Read-Only).jpg
Garlic Prawns with Mango Sambal

Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ orange

1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Splash rum (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 prawns, peeled and deveined (3 each per serving)

For the mango sambal:

50g cashew nuts (oiled, salted and roasted)

1 dsp fresh coriander, chopped

1 dsp fresh mint, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp fish sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp hot pepper sauce

1 mango, julienned (cut into thin matchsticks)

ß carrot, julienned

ß red pepper, diced

¼ red onion, diced


In a glass dish, mix together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, basil, parsley, rum and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns, and stir to coat. Cover, and let marinate for 1 hour. To make the sambal, in a skillet or oven roast the cashews over a medium heat until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes; set aside. In bowl, whisk together the fresh coriander, mint, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, oil and hot pepper sauce. Add the mango, carrot, red pepper and onion and toss to coat. Heat the grill to high heat. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until pink. Serve with the mango sambal.


Irish Independent

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