NAUGHTY DAY – JAMAICAN STYLE…YEA MON!!

I believe if Santa Claus worked overtime (beyond Xmas), I would be rewarded generously for my efforts in the way of balance in my diet.

Generally, I’m a very good girl. Five to five & half days of the week I try my utmost best to have a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits/veggies, lean protein, whole grain, nuts and fish. I try to eliminate the process foods from my diet. Soda and high sugary drinks are products of the past. I’ve reached a stage where I don’t crave them at all.

Guys, the fact is that I’ve been a very good girl. Santa would be proud and actually issue me a pass for today. And because dear Saint Nick doesn’t work during this time and possibly wouldn’t care less of my guilty pleasure, (by the way, have you checked out dear Saint Nick’s structure?),I’ve decided to treat myself to something a bit high calorie and entirely delicious. Hence, on this day, I’ve decided to make a revisit to my colorful and flavorful roots. Yes, I’m taking about Jamaican style, Stew Peas and Rice.

Stew peas/rice is a staple dish in the Jamaican households. Just penning about it warms my heart tremendously. I can recall those childhood days and as an adult, the many times I had consumed this succulent dish. It was mainly cooked in the middle of the week in my home as well as the restaurants. It was and is still a huge favorite for many.If you want to consume a dish of stew peas/rice, you had to reserve and actually show up quite early as the demand is/was high.

As I became an adult and moved out on my own, my dear mom and I developed a secret pact. Whenever, she cooked stew peas/rice, she gave me that special telephone call. Many a times I would hop in my car and made my secret runs.The moment I entered the yard I could smell the aromatic flavors beckoning me to our kitchen. I would gleefully make my way by following the exotic aromas.

And as always that special pot was perched on the stove. It was always full of love. Mom cooked those red beans to a soft and smooth consistency. Those beautiful beans were mingled with fork-tender pig’s tail and bite-sized pieces of beef chunks. Tucked among them were little spinners (dumplings). I can picture my dear mom lovingly making her mark by rolling those spinners between her palms. Adjacent to the pot of goodness was always a pot of fluffy rice along with Jamaican spinach, (callaloo).

So, as I indulge in this pleasurable recollection of my culinary past, I would like to introduce or reintroduce stew peas/rice to you. Dear mom, Beryl would be proud. And, if I could dare say, Santa would give me a pass for being naughty on this day.

Ingredients:

Pig’s tail
Oxtail
Red beans
Coconut milk
Ginger
Garlic
Green onion (escallion)
Onion
Thyme
Scotch bonnet pepper
Celery
Black pepper/salt

Method:
Soaked red beans in water beforehand (overnight)to cutback on cooking time.

Extracted excess sodium from pig’s tail pieces by boiling for approximately ten minutes and rinsing with cold water.Cut in pieces by chopping at the joints.

Marinated oxtail pieces with salt/pepper/garlic.

Tossed water from beans and add fresh water along with coconut milk.

Add pig’s tail and oxtail pieces to pot with beans along with crushed garlic,ginger, all spice (pimento),and cover with water.

Allow ingredients to cook and become fork tender.

Make dough and add spinners (dumplings) to put along with diced onions, green onions, thyme, celery,scotch bonnet.Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer on low heat until stew becomes a thick consistency.

Make sure to stir at intervals to prevent sticking and burning.

Serve over a fluffy bed of rice along with plantain, and any veggie of choice.

Guys, do bear in mind that pig’s tail/oxtail pieces can be substituted for turkey,salted/unsalted  beef,chicken feet or any protein of choice.Also, cooking time could be shortened by utilizing a pressure cooker.

Happy cooking!And remember, always be good to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.Thanks for joining me on my Jamaican journey. Yea mon!!

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