For those of you living in Edmonton and area, you are probably basking in the unseasonable warmth of the delightful weather we are having. It feels as though spring has sprung at the end of January here, with sunshine and slush adorning the streets. If you’re like me, this nice spell has certainly lifted your spirits.
Unfortunately, we know in our Canadian hearts that this weather bliss will be short-lived. With February upon us, another bone-chilling eyelash-frosting cold snap is well on its way.
So I want to take advantage of this false spring by looking forward to the summer – and the best way to look forward to the summer is to look back at last summer! In the name of sunshine and good times, this week we are going to look back to a wonderful Jamaican barbecue that we had at my cabin last summer.
To me, the lake is summer. Boat rides, sunshine, camp fires, sing-alongs, and laughs with family and good friends are always punctuated by the elaborate and fantastic barbecues we all share together. Doesn’t that sound nice?
One of my favourite meals we had last year was a Jamaican themed barbecue. What is always great at the cabin is how everyone participates. We planned a somewhat ambitious Jamaican feast. My mom took care of the classic coleslaw, and I made the peas and rice (this week’s recipe!) I helped Steven with the Jamaican jerk marinade, and he took the helm barbecuing the pork and pineapple. Steve’ s buddies, Colin and Joachim, who are frequent fliers out at the cabin, took on the task of making festival dumplings(Love the name, eh?) The two of them diligently stood over the hot stove deep-frying delicious little balls of dough, not complaining for a second about being assigned the messy task that no one else really wants to do – thanks boys! It’s always a blast when everyone chips in for dinner, which turns cooking from a chore to a fun group activity.
So this week’s recipe is the side that I made, peas and rice (aka rice and peas.) My understanding is that peas and rice is a traditional Sunday lunch in Jamaica. Surprisingly, this dish contains no peas at all. I’m sure all kinds of beans or legumes could be used, but I have chosen kidney beans for my recipe. (The rice and beans combine to form a complete protein making this a great vegetarian option too– Yeah!)
I simply love this recipe – the nice flavours of all spice, coconut milk and the scotch bonnet pepper are oh so delicious. Yes, we did make it for our Jamaican themed barbecue, but I like to make this as a side for any barbecue or occasion for that matter, as an alternative to your regular boring rice!
– If you can’t find a scotch bonnet pepper, I would suggest a jalapeno or habanero.
– Try substituting brown rice for white
Spice/herb of the week:
What do pumpkin pie and Jamaican jerk marinade have in common? Answer – All spice! You never know when a recipe will call for this strange but delicious spice.
So with the weather all nice, maybe take the opportunity to fire up your grill and serve some peas and rice on the side. Here’s to looking back at the last summer and looking forward to the next! Come on guys, we can get through the winter!
Click here to view printable Word version of recipe:
Peas and Rice
Peas and Rice
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
Water (approx.. 2 and 1/4 cups)
Total liquid, coconut milk + water should equal 4 cups
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion or 2-3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cups long grain white rice (alternatively use brown, see bottom)
½ tsp ground all spice
1 scotch bonnet pepper – left whole
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat large pot. Add garlic and chopped onion and saute for a few minutes.
2. Add liquid, rice and all other ingredients, and bring to a boil.
3. Turn heat to medium-low, and cook covered until all water is absorbed (about 15 to 20 min).
5. Fluff with fork before serving.
*If you choose brown rice instead of white rice, add an extra 1 cup water and cook 35-40 minutes