PERFECT JAMAICAN COMPANIONS #ACKEE/CODFISH, ETC.

If it’s the week-end, at some point,  I’ve got to go Jamaican. And, that ‘s what I did for Sunday’s brunch. I allowed a few items of left-overs (boiled banana and whole-wheat dumplings) to be a part of my delicious dish.

I warmed my soft/creamy banana and slit in halves. These I placed beside my fiber-filled Jamaican spinach (callaloo).  I could consume these wholesome greens virtually everyday.  I pan-fried the combination whole-wheat dumplings after I sliced them in halves and did a quick dry. They were crispy and quite brown and provided a hearty texture to my plate.

Now, I couldn’t leave out my country’s national dish (ackee/codfish). I have eaten same repeatedly over the years. Combined with that salty codfish which by the way had just about the right proportion of sodium within. I made sure to  rinse, boil, and soak beforehand in order to eradicate extra salt.

When the yellow and smooth tasting ackee and codfish were  intertwined, along with Jamaica’s spices like pimento (all spice), fresh thyme, and other ingredients,  culinary magic was released on my taste-buds.

Of course, no Jamaica brunch like this is quite complete without the addition of a sweet treat. Thus, I added a few pieces of fried plantain to the mix. That move certainly provided a mouth-watering balance. With nature’s butter (avocado), my brunch was ready for consumption.

A SPINACH (CALLALOO) SOUP THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HEAD FOR JAMAICA

Whenever this time of the year arrives, my palate craves comforting dishes. Moreover, when it rains, forget about it…..I’m like an ant or one of those creatures. I’ve to collect and hibernate until dry weather appears. Well, that’s what happened on Friday.

It has been ‘raining cats and dogs’ all day long. The sun has gone on a hiatus. It has been wet, cool and gray.  Without the palm trees, you would think you’re in Seattle not the sunshine state of Florida.  And for me, that means consuming a tasty and ‘stick to your rib’ kind of a meal.

As a result, I decided to visit my farmer’s market and secure all that I needed. One of items on my mental list was callaloo (Jamaican spinach). After eying and collecting my other vegetables and provisions, out of nowhere in my head I came up with an old Jamaican favorite, pepper pot soup. I think I must have cooked this dish once or twice in the past.

In Jamaica, we call this spinach dish, pepper pot soup. In other parts of the Caribbean like Trinidad, it’s called Callaloo soup. And, like the name, it also has quite a few variations on how it’s made depending on the country.

The great thing about pepper pot soup is that it’s loaded with great fibers, iron, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from all the vegetables and ground provisions. Frankly, just with these ingredients, the soup could stand on its own without the meats.

RAW CALLALOO
RAW CALLALOO (SPINACH)
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE PEPPER POT SOUP
SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE PEPPER POT SOUP

The main ingredients:

  • Callaloo (8 stalks) [Kale/collard greens could be substituted)
  • Okra – chopped (6)
  • Onion (1/2 of a large)
  • Celery (2-3 stalks)
  • Bell pepper (1/4)
  • Scotch bonnet (1 1/2) any color
  • Cured brisket (1/4 lb)
  • Pickled pig’s tail (1/2 lb)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • All spice (pimento) (1/4tsp)
  • Garlic (2 cloves
  • Thyme (3 sprigs)
  • Scallion (3 stalks)
  • Freshly crushed root ginger (1″-piece)
  • Coconut milk (1cup)
  • Sweet potato (1 med)
  • Yam (1/4lb)

Method:

  1. Excess sodium was extracted from beef/pork by rinsing thoroughly with tap water.
  2. In sauce pot, meats were covered with fresh tap water with a drizzle of house vinegar. This was brought to a boil and simmered on medium heat for approximately 6 to 10 minutes. This process was done twice.
  3. Meats were then rinsed under tap water and placed in a sturdy stock pot and covered with water and coconut milk. Crushed pimento and garlic were added.
  4. After meats were 1 1/2 hrs. into cooking diced veggies and ground provisions dumplings (spinners) were added.
  5. Then, the last 15 to 20 minutes, callaloo and spinach were added along with scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, onions, and scallions.

  6. After pepper pot soup was brought to the consistency desired, thyme (woodsy section) was fished.

    Jamaican pepper pot soup...cooking stage
    Jamaican pepper pot soup…cooking stage

    FINISHED PEPPER POT (CALLALOO) SOUP IS SERVED
    FINISHED PEPPER POT (CALLALOO) SOUP IS SERVED[yellow scotch bonnet for garnish]
    I’m happy!