Cooking · Countries · Olympic Games Rio 2016

Trinidad – Roast Pork and Coucou

Trinidad and Tobago is a twin island country.  Here are a few interesting facts about the country:

  • The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 until 18 February 1797.
  • During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers, more times than any other island in the Caribbean.
  • Trinidad and Tobago (remaining separate until 1889) were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens.
  • The country Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962, becoming a republic in 1976.
  • Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country by GDP (PPP) per capita in the Americas after the United States and Canada.
  • The country’s economy is primarily industrial, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. The country’s wealth is attributed to its large reserves and exploitation of oil and natural gas.
  • Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and is the birthplace of steelpan, limbo, and the music styles of calypso, soca, parang, chutney, chutney soca, chut-kai-pang, cariso, extempo, kaiso, parang soca, pichakaree, and rapso.

The more I delve into different cuisines the history of the nation becomes apparent.  There is a culinary lineage between countries.  Creole food is evident in Benin, Trinidad and Tabago, and Jamacian food.  This traveled into New Orleans and Southern Louisiana.  There is a French culinary history to the food of Vietnam.  Culinary techniques are transported and then adapted to regions thereby producing regional cooking with themes of the country of origin.

Trinidad Roast Pork

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The pork before being wrapped in bacon and going into the oven.  This was a labor of love.

This is a great deal of work. It is not a quick meal.  The prep work takes time but it is well worth the time and effort.

  • 1 pork butt (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of onion juice (made by grating an onion and squeezing through cheesecloth)
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sage
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried chervil
  • 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh chives or 4 teaspoons of dried chives
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh tarragon or 4 teaspoons of dried tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh basil or 4 teaspoons of fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons of finely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds of bulk sausage
    • Buy a quality sausage – ask your butcher for help
  • 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped onion
  • 1 large bell pepper, preferably red, but green will do, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 6 slices of bacon
  1. Ask your butcher to bone the pork butt, but leave the rind on and do not butterfly the port butt.  Just ask for the bone to be removed.  The empty space will be where you put the stuffing.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  I suggest waiting until you are ready to put the roast into the oven to keep the temperature down.
  3. Rub the pork all over, inside and out, with lemon.
  4. Squeeze the lemon juice over and inside the pork butt.
  5. Combine the onion juice, half the garlic, and one-cup cup of the soy sauce, and massage the mixture inside and outside the meat.
  6. Combine half the sage, parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, basil, and black pepper and rub this mixture inside and outside the meat.
  7. In a mixing bowl combine the sausage, chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, rosemary, and  the remaining herbs.  Do not mix in the except the bacon and 1/4 cup of the soy sauce.
  8. Stuff the meat with the mixture.
  9. Arrange the bacon slices over the large opening.  Tie the roast like a rolled roast, using string to secure the bacon.
  10. Wrap the roast in two lengths of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  11. It must be tightly sealed.
  12. Place the roast in a baking dish containing a little water and bake 30 minutes.
  13. Reduce the oven heat to 400 degrees.
  14. Continue baking one and one-half hours.
  15. Open the foil and continue baking, one and one-half hours, basting the meat frequently with the juices in the foil and the remaining soy sauce.
  16. When cooked, the roast will be dark.  If necessary, reduce the oven heat to prevent the roast from burning, but this should not be necessary if it is basted often enough.
  17. Remove the roast from the oven an diet stand 30 minutes before slicing.
  18. Remove the string and serve the roast cut into half-inch-thick slices.
  19. If desired, the pan juices may be skimmed of fat and a sauce made by adding one chopped onion, two chopped tomatoes, and one clove of garlic finely minced.

Coucou

I like grits and I like okra but this was not a great dish.

  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 1 3/4 cups of white cornmeal
  • 1/2 pound of fresh okra
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/8 cup of butter
  1. Lightly butter a three-quart dish for molding the coucou.
  2. Place one cup of the cold water in a saucepan and gradually add the cornmeal, stirring constantly.  The texture should be like damp sand.
  3. Trim the stem ends of the okra and slice thin.
  4. Place in a saucepan with the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the salt and oregano.
  6. Cook 5 minutes.
  7. Gradually add the cornmeal mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes volcanic.
  8. Lower the flame and cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.
  9. Stir the butter and cook, stirring, ten to fifteen minutes longer.
  10. Pour the mixture into the buttered mold and press firmly.
  11. Smooth the top.
  12. To serve, unmold onto a hot serving dish and slice like cake.
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