One day, I’ll make a video to help you with the Kreyòl pronunciation of this dish.
In the meantime, to eliminate confusion, I should clarify that Haitian legim is not the same as legume, meaning beans. When we say legim, we are referring to a delicious stewed mix of vegetables that is so well-balanced and rich in flavor. The version I’m sharing with you is vegan, but I assure you, even a meat lover will enjoy it!
I particularly love legim with rice and beans [diri kole] - the national dish of Haiti. I also grew up enjoying it with boiled plantain as well as white rice and bean puree [diri blan ak sos pwa]. I’ll provide recipes for these other dishes another time.
The process of preparing legim does require several steps - each one is creating layers and layers of deep flavor. So don't jump ahead!
Also, the best time to enjoy legim is on cold nights as it retains heat really well. But any day you need comfort in a bowl - this is perfect!
½ pound eggplant, cut into thin rounds
½ pound cabbage, shredded
1/4 pound string beans, cut in half
½ pound carrots, diced
5 oz fresh spinach
½ medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves (2 chopped, 2 whole)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme
½ cup chopped parsley
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 scotch bonnet pepper (or habanero)
2 tsp dry spice blend
1½ tsp salt
Place a large pan over medium-low heat, add 3 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice). Add half of the chopped onions and sauté until tender.
Reduce heat to low, add tomato paste and dry spice, plus additional oil to keep from burning out. Stir this mixture until well blended. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves and lightly sauté. Stir in thyme and parsley. Continue stirring everything being careful not to burn garlic. Add a teaspoon of oil if the pan starts to get dry. (In this part of the process, you’ll want to monitor the bottom of the pan, continue adding small amounts of oil to prevent pan from drying out, which may burn out all the delicious layers of flavors you’re creating.)
Bring heat to a simmer, add your veggies layering them accordingly: eggplant, 2 whole cloves of garlic, remaining onions, cabbage, spinach, and scotch bonnet pepper. Keep the pepper whole, do not cut or puncture.
Add 1½ cups water and raise heat to medium.
Cook vegetables until thoroughly soft (monitor and add water as needed). Once you’ve reached this texture, REMOVE the pepper and discard*. Then mash the vegetables with a pestle or wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended, but not too mushy.
Add carrots and string beans and continue cooking for 5 min. You should still have enough liquid in the pot, but if the pan dried out, add 1/4 cup of water to steam carrots and string beans.
Next, add bell peppers. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or until all liquid is cooked out. Stir everything together until well mixed.
*If you want your dish to have heat, add back in the pepper and puncture it with a fork. Keep it in until ready to serve.
Serve with rice or boiled plantain. Bon Appetit!
p.s. if you're interested in coming to a live demo where I will prepare this dish on 7.22.18 at 10.30am, rsvp here!