The Recipes

Haitian Tostones, Lemon-Habanero Pork Ribs, Rice and Beans

As Mirielle Jean-Francois from Cap Haitien, Haiti, taught Lindsay Sterling in Hopedale, MA, Dec. 2012

Serves 6-8
Total Cooking Time: 1 1/2 days
Active Cooking Time: 1 hr 30 min

Lemon-Habanero Pork

3 cloves garlic
1 shallot, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 tsp salt
1 habanero pepper (use 1/2 for medium, and 1/4 for mild), sliced in half
small handful parsley, rough chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme.

1 lemon
3 pounds bone-in pork ribs, cut into 2 inch chunks (ask your butcher to do this)
1/2 cup olive oil + 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 white onion, sliced

Mash the first set of ingredients together in a mortar and pestle until their juices are flowing and pour the chunky mixture onto the pork. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice over your hand (to catch the seeds) and into the pork. Rub marinade and lemon all over with hands. Wash hands and then cover pork and put in fridge to marinate overnight.

Then put it in a large casserole and coat with about 1/2 cup olive oil. Broil on high with the pork on the lowest rack (otherwise as I discovered..splattering oil will light the broiler elements on fire). After about ten minutes, flip pieces over and put back in oven. After about another ten minutes, once the meat is cooked through, drain the cooking liquid from the pan, pour about 1/2 cup olive oil over meat, and top meat with sliced onion, and return to broil. When pork is crispy and brown on the outside, it's done. Serve family style on the table with tostones, tostones toppings, rice and beans.


4 green plantains
about 4 cups frying oil (peanut, vegetable, or canola)
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup water

Cut off the ends of the plantain, then make an incision through the peel but not into the flesh inside by running the tip of a paring knife along one of the ridges, flush with the flesh inside. Then wedge your fingers into the incision and pop the peel off by pulling it perpendicular to the flesh. Continue doing this around the plantain until all the skin is off, making more incisions if you need to with the knife if necessary. Use the back of your knife to scrape any remaining bits of peel off the plantain.

Cut across the plantain so you have 1"-thick cylinders. Heat 1/2 inch deep vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed saute pan. Get out a bowl of 1 cup water mixed with 1 Tbsp salt and a grease splatter guard if you have one.

Once a plantain piece dipped in the oil bubbles vigorously, the oil is hot enough. Add enough plantain pieces to loosely fill the pan and fry both sides for about 5 minutes until the pale yellow color turns darker yellow, but not brown. Put the plantains on a plate or tray lined with paper towel.

Smash the fried pieces with the bottom of a glass or a little press called a tostonera so the plantains flatten into discs. Dip the disks in the salt water and slip into the frying pan again covered with the grease splatter guard. When the frying bubbles slow down, remove the tostones with tongs or forks and place them on the towel-lined platter to dry while you prep the toppings.

Tostones Toppings

8 oz. cooked crab meat
1 stick butter
1 tsp cajun spice mix (salt, red pepper, black pepper, thyme, celery seed, paprika, garlic, onion)
sprinkle cayenne
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tomato
1/2 lemon

Heat stick of butter and remove foam (this makes clarified butter). Add cajun seasoning to the butter and pour seasoned butter into a bowl of cooked crab meat. Slice avocado into bite-sized pieces and put on a serving plate. Squeeze lemon on top and season with salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes into bite-sized triangles, put on a serving plate and season with salt.  Guests assemble their own tostones with these toppings at the table.


2 Tbsp veg. oil
1/2 yellow onion, medium dice
2 clove garlic, minced
4 cups jasmin rice
7 1/2 cups water
2 tsp salt
pad of butter

Wash rice and drain 3 times to get off some of the extra starch. Then saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add rice, stir and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add water and salt. Cook on high until water is less visible, then cover and let cook on low for 10 more minutes. Serve family style with a pad of butter to melt on top.


1 can cooked beans, any kind you like, she used large red ones
1 Maggi brand boullion cube
1/4 onion, large dice

Drain and rinse beans. Put in a small sauce pan and cover with water about an inch deeper than the beans. Add bouillon cube and bring to a boil. Stir and let simmer for about 30 minutes, adding the onion after about 15 minutes. Don't cover the beans or they will lose their color. Smash a spoonful of the beans into a paste and add back to liquid to thicken sauce if you wish.