The Savory Haitian Dish Top Chef Star Gregory Gourdet Always Brings To A Potluck

Potluck dinners are arguably the best invention in the concept of get-together food sharing. The hosting family doesn't bear the full cost of entertaining or wear themselves out cooking multiple dishes for a group. Invitees can experience a variety of foods that are ordinarily off their culinary radar. Everyone gets to relax, catch up on life's twists and turns, and hopefully go home with a few new recipes.

The term potluck likely ties to the Middle Ages when unexpected guests got "the luck of the pot," meaning whatever food was available. Fortunately, that luck factor still pays off in today's potluck dinners, especially if one of your guests happens to be "Top Chef" celebrity Gregory Gourdet. He's the cookbook author of "Everyone's Table", a fitting name when applied to community eating at a shared table. Courtesy of an interview shared by Thrillist in 2022, we get some intel on the dish that Gourdet personally brings to potluck dinners.

Given Gourdet's Haitian heritage and the fact that his parents immigrated to America, it's hardly surprising this now-renowned chef would have a repertoire of Haitian recipes up his culinary sleeves. For potlucks, that special something brought to the table is typically a savory dish known as poule nan sos, a Haitian Creole term meaning "chicken in sauce," specifically a Creole sauce. Luckily for the world, the recipe appears in his book. Gourdet calls the poule nan sas dish warm, comforting, cultural, and interesting, while also noting its casual and communal nature.

What's in a poule nan sas dish

Poule nan sas is a quintessential Haitian dish, embodying many of the flavors, spices, and ingredients defining the country's cuisine. It's a stewy braised chicken dish that involves marination of dark-meat chicken in a mixture of ingredients such as aromatic thyme leaves, garlic cloves, sliced onions, sweet and spicy chiles, and juice from three citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, and limes. The infused chicken then joins a tomato-based stew with yellow and red bell pepper slices.

The whole shebang, including the original marinade, simmers in the oven for about an hour, eventually morphing into the rich, hearty, and spicy poule nan sas dish that is loved across its Caribbean home nation. Fortunate home chefs can now recreate the magic, thanks to insights from chef Gourdet, owner of Portland-based Kann restaurant, and his warm embrace of the communal food spirit.

As for bringing this uniquely cultural dish to potluck dinners, it stands perfectly well on its own saucy, spicy merit. But it's also tasty when served with mashed potatoes or plantains, or dished over rice. It's worth noting that some Haitian cooks fry the chicken pieces before mixing with the sauce, which adds a crispier textural component — but it's much more common to go stewy all the way. The traditional method is easier to incorporate into a potluck-style meal, and it holds up well to reheating, which is often necessary with communal eating.