How to make Haitian meatballs
As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of Venezuelan food. Therefore, at home the kids mostly eat traditional Haitian cuisine. I remember how tired I would grow of some variation of rice and beans, so I try to throw in some pasta or grilled vegetables on the weekly menu.
Meatballs, or boulèt, is one of my favorite dishes. Haitian food is complicated to make, so I’m going to give you the basic directions to make the meatballs and will also include what I feel are some optional steps.
Here’s what you’re going to need to get started:
Ground beef – this about 1 lb.
Bread (stale if you have it) soaked in water
Spice medley – parsley, garlic, red and green bell peppers, green onions.
You’re also going to need this contraption:
This is handmade mortar and pestle and a MUST in any self-respecting Haitian household.
First thing is to crush all the fresh spices in the mortar and pestle. Add some fine salt to your liking.
Squeeze the excess water out of the bread and set aside.
Optional: 1) Add the juice of a squeezed lemon into the spice mix for acidity. 2) After squeezing the excess water out of the bread, you can mash it in the mortar and pestle too. 3) You can rinse the ground beef in a sieve to remove some of the blood. 4) Boil a small potato, peel it and crush it to add with the spices and bread.
Add the spices and the bread to the ground beef.
I also like to to add a chopped medium-sized onion.
Mix the spices, bread and onions and this what you get.
You take the ground beef mixture with some all-purpose flour and start making the meatballs by rolling large spoonfuls between the palms of your hands (or however you like to make your meatballs round). Once the desired shape, roll them in the flour. In the meantime, heat up your oil – I like to use corn or vegetable.
When the oil is hot (it bubbles when I put the end of a wooden spoon in it), start frying the meatballs.
When they’ve browned on one side, flip them over.
As with any fried food, I like to set them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. In the interim, rinse and repeat for the remaining uncooked meatballs.
And this, is the boulèt in all its glory.
In our house, it’s usually eaten with white rice and red or black bean purée, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes I accidentally get full eating them while cooking, so it can definitely stand alone.