My Jamaican Rice and Peas
Category: Side Dishes | Blog URL: http://www.sogood.tv/heather_johnston/2009/07/my-jamaican-rice-and-peas-recipe-and-thoughts.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Heather Johnston
My Jamaican Rice and Peas - Recipe and Thoughts
This dish connects my family to our Jamaican heritage and all four of my immigrant grandparents, who long ago passed on. They, along with their siblings, friends, and countless cousins who built a new life here, are on my mind and forever in my heart, The Jamaican Generation, and they are missed. The recipe is authentic to them more so than the island. I cook it because they cooked it, and because it is delicious.
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My grandfather used what he called "gungo peas" or pigeon peas, while my grandmother, who lived with us, chose black eyed peas, perhaps because they were more familiar and readily available in the US. I think Kidney beans, however, are the most popular.
Growing up we never used green onions or thyme, which grow wild on the island, but not in Hempstead NY, circa 1972. We did, however, always include coconut, often fresh, and scotch bonnet peppers, in the form of the ever-present bottle of yellow hot sauce. In general, it's a pretty fluid recipe; you can try a pinch of allspice or cloves one time, a touch of salt pork the next, maybe even some adobo.
It's a perfect dish for large family gatherings, especially with Jerk Chicken and a Red Stripe. Just like "back home" even if that's Long Island! (Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk is my favorite jarred jerk, available in most grocery stores!)