Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jamaican Rice with Pigeon Peas and Cocunut Milk

When one of my many brothers recently married, I was asked to assist in planning the reception menu. While I was delighted to do this, it would not be right to leave out another of my many brothers, who happens to be an absolutely amazing chef and the host for the reception party. In fact, it seemed that in the case of this particular party we needed to include absolutely everyone in the planning. For a while it felt like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and then I remembered that a lot of my life feels like that, except that we are Italian, not Greek. There are similarities.

The reception menu was truly a combined effort. I come from a large family, and everyone of us has lots of ideas, which we feel the need to express loudly and often. Do not misunderstand: this can be a very valuable tool in the right hands. With everyone donating ideas, it is not difficult to snatch up enough of them to put together a menu with an actual theme while giving everyone some say in the menu. That is exactly what happened when we put together this event. I really wish I had it on video. It would be an excellent demonstration of effective decision making amongst team members who have wildly varied ideas and only a ghost of a common theme: Hawaii.

And that, friends is how I come to offer you a recipe for Jamaican Rice with Pidgeon Peas. Hawaii is an island, Jamaica is an island, and my brother and new sister-in-law have visited both. 'Nuff said.

For many years I worked for a man from Jamaica whose wife was a wonderful cook. She made jerk chicken for my wedding a decade ago, and I always enjoyed her rice and peas. She didn't share recipes, but she did have occasion to eat my rice and peas and gave it her stamp of approval. Enjoy.

1 15 oz can pigeon peas
1 15 oz can coconut milk
2 cups long grain white rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 T olive oil
1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper, whole
(NOTE: These are the hottest peppers in the universe. Use care when handling. Do not cut them for this recipe. Do NOT touch your eyes after handling peppers. Peppers this hot can actually cause skin burns. Do not succumb to any foolish dares about popping these in your mouth. That would be very unfortunate.)

  1. Drain the liquid from the pigeon peas into a measuring cup and add the coconut milk and enough water to equal 4 cups of liquid.
  2. Place liquid in a pot with peas, onions, garlic, thyme and oil. Bring to the boil.
  3. Add rice and stir for a minute.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Place Scotch Bonnet pepper on top of rice, cover tightly and cook for about 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.
  5. Remove pepper before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Are you planning to continue this beautiful blog? This Jamaican rice dish looks great & I love anything with coconut milk.

    I'm thinking of making this dish tonight.

    Thanks for it and wishing you all the best,