Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bahamian Peas n' Rice

I mentioned in a previous post that my family and I were spending Christmas in the Bahamas. We had an AMAZING time and it was so hard to come back to the gloomy Northwest, so I really wanted to try and bring a bit of the Bahamas to our house.  While we were in Nassau we ate at the well-known Twin Brother's restaurant. Every dish is served with Bahamian Peas n' Rice; a mixture of pigeon peas, vegetables, salt pork and rice cooked together. I wanted to recreate this dish at home, so with the help of the Bahamian Government's tourism website I made my own version, with a few variations. It didn't taste quite the same, but it was really good anyway! I think it could make a great light supper on it's own with a salad, or as a side dish to some BBQ.

The original recipe called for pigeon peas, salt pork and bacon.  I couldn't find pigeon peas, and I didn't really want fatty chunks of salt pork hanging out in my food (ew.) so I subbed canned black eyed peas w/ bacon and added some liquid smoke to make up for the lack of smoked meat flavor.  Then I sauteed my onions and peppers in olive oil rather than bacon drippings.  I'm sure the missing pork fat was why my recipe didn't taste quite the same as Twin Brothers', but it's a heck of a lot healthier without all that saturated fat, and it tasted really good anyway.  For my lightened version you'll need:

1 can black eyed peas w/ bacon, drained- DON'T RINSE!
1 chopped onion
1 chopped bell pepper
1-2 tsp. liquid smoke, play around with it.  I like mine smokey.
1 Tbs. oil
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 c. water
1 c. rice

Saute your onions and peppers in oil in a large saute pan.  Then add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT rice, mixing well.  Bring to a boil, then add rice, cover and reduce heat to low so that it barely simmers.  Let the rice cook 20 mins or so.  Don't peek!  It's done when the liquid is all absorbed.

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