What do you get when you combine the religions of dozens of West African cultures with Catholic Christianity? Voodoo.
As slaves were brought from Africa in the 1500’s to the Americas, many were eventually converted and baptized in to the Catholic religion. But they were hard pressed to forsake their familiar tribal Gods and prayed to them instead of saints. Black magic, snakes, sacrifices and the occult were blended in to conventional religion.
Voodoo mixes many African cultures and at first seemed to appear in Haiti. It spread to other Caribbean islands and was even practiced widely in New Orleans and Creole society. Voodoo is a fusion of cultures, religious beliefs and the supernatural. The same holds true for Voodoo cuisine. It borrows ingredients and technique from different continents and cultures and adapts them to local environments.
Everybody has had chicken salad. A voodoo chicken salad sandwich is a mystical take on this classic sent to Earth from the Loa, the Voodoo Gods. It has a treasure of island ingredients with a sprinkle of Western flair. There may even be a sacrificial chicken involved. I got this recipe from a Voodoo priestess down on the beach. She’s a Sand Witch.
Voodoo Chicken Salad Sandwich
1 Whole Fryer Chicken
1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
1 Roasted Red Pepper, Peeled and Seeded
3 Scallions, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Smashed and Sliced
1 Small Habanero, Seeded and Chopped
1 Papaya, Peeled, Seeded and Chopped
½ Cup Fresh Orange Juice
6 Cups Mayo
Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 Red Onion, Sliced
1 Avocado, Peeled and Sliced
Pepper Jack Cheese
Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
Rub the chicken with jerk seasoning and grill. Let cool and shred chicken.
In a large food processor, combine all the ingredients up to the spinach. Pulse until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken and the mayo mixture. Mix well.
To assemble the sandwich, spread chicken salad on the roll. Top with spinach leaves, onion, avocado and cheese slices. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a few drops of limejuice.
From Togo to the Congo, millions of people use Voodoo to navigate daily life. Altars, devotional idols, music and dance are all part of it and Voodoo cuisine manages to combine the tastes of salty, sweet, sour and hot.
Rum is also a large part of tropical island life. This drink uses Voodoo Spiced Rum that is made in the Virgin Islands. It is infused with real Madagascar vanilla and laced with a hint of cloves and cinnamon. Try this drink to rid your inner self of demonic spirits.
Forbidden Island Cocktail
1 ½ Oz. Myer’s Dark Rum
1 ½ Oz. Voodoo Spiced Rum
½ Oz. Brandy
2 Oz. Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1 Oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice2 Oz. Voodoo Priestess Spice Syrup
Voodoo Priestess Spiced Syrup
1 Tbs. Nutmeg
2 Cups Pure Cane Sugar
1 Cup Boiling Water
For the spiced syrup, combine nutmeg, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until sugar has dissolved.
For the drink, combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until blended and strain into a frosted cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and lime wedge.
With Mardi Gras just around the corner, the preceding article has been a public service piece. Check out the slideshow and video.
Now go and do that voodoo that you do so well.