Caribbean Rice and Peas

It’s cold and rainy this week so I needed a little kitchen trip to the tropics that would still be warm and yummy to combat the weather.  I decided to make Caribbean Rice and Peas.  I needed to use the last bunch of collards and the last of the smoked turkey legs so it seemed like a good fit.

Since this is a new recipe for me I tried to minimize the substitutions.  The recipe calls for smoked kielbasa, but since I had smoked turkey I just used that.  Also, I left out the jalapeno because I didn’t have one.  I made my own jerk seasoning and it has plenty of salt and thyme in it so I left out the additional seasonings as well.  I cooked the black eyed peas in chicken stock in stead of water for a little added flavor.  If you wanted to make this a vegetarian dish you could cook the peas in vegetable stock and add a little liquid smoke in lieu of a smoked meat. Using white rice would cut the cooking time considerably. Remember to also reduce the liquid if you use white rice.

If you decide to make your own jerk seasoning the recipe linked above is a good one.  Notice that it makes 26 cups.  I can’t imagine that you’ll need that much.  All of the measurements are in cups so I just substituted a teaspoon for the cup measurement.  I still ended up with more than plenty.

This dish is really good and very filling.  I only made a half recipe which turned out to be a good thing.  The plan was to make a half recipe so there wouldn’t be so many  leftovers in case it wasn’t good.  I also find that for many things I only enjoy the leftovers once or twice so reducing the amount I make means I don’t throw any away.  Well, true confession time.  I dished out a bowl and ate dinner.  Very yummy.  Then I ran down to the neighbor’s house to drop off some collards without realizing that the stove was still on low.  Long story short, I got caught up in a conversation and by the time I got home the house was filled with smoke and my leftovers were charred beyond recognition.  Fortunately no damage done.  I think I’m even going to be able to salvage my best stock pot with a little steel wool and some effort.

Good? Yes, as a main or a side dish
Easy? Yes, just some chopping
Good for company? Definitely. Do a whole Caribbean themed dinner!
Special shopping? Nope

Caribbean Rice and Peas

Ingredients

10 ounces frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces turkey kielbasa (or other smoked sausage), thinly sliced
1 large bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
2 small ribs celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 teaspoons jerk seasoning
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
2 bay leaves
4 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens

Directions

Combine the black-eyed peas, 3 cups water and a pinch of salt in a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the kielbasa and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the scallion whites, celery, garlic, jalapeno, jerk seasoning and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables brown, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste turns brick red, about 2 more minutes. Add the rice, bay leaves and the black-eyed peas with their liquid to the skillet and bring to a boil; do not stir.

Add the collards; cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer undisturbed until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 50 minutes; set aside for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves.

Just before serving, add the scallion greens and fluff with a fork.

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