Red Beans and Rice Did Hit Ya!
After traveling to Jamaica for the second time, I’ve fallen in love with Jamaican cuisine. This trip was to the southern side on 7 Mile Beach in Negril, Westmoreland. If you’ve not been to Jamaica you’ve not experienced truly unique cooking.
Jerk is the style of cooking and its mostly all based on Pimento wood and leaves for a natural all-spice you just can’t replicate anywhere else. Though this post is not about “jerk”, I want to at least inform you of my inspiration. This post is about Jamaican Peas and Rice. You’ll find many renditions. Here’s my version…
Most Jamaican cooking utilizes Scotch Bonnet Peppers. These are uncommon in U.S. grocery stores so you may substitue with Habaneros.
- 2 Tablespoons of coconut or vegetable oil
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 Habanero pepper, minced
- 2 shallots or 1 small white onion, minced
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 1 can coconut milk (usually in asian cooking isle)
- 2 cups chix stock or water
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 ½ cup long grain white or Jasmine rice
- Sea salt, black pepper, allspice
- fresh lime
STEP 1 – Sear your dry rice on medium heat in a sauce pan with the oil for about 5 minutes or until your rice seems translucent. This is a method I use to infuse flavor into the rice with the following steps and to speed cooking time.
STEP 2 – Add your minced garlic, habanero pepper and onion, thyme, and a pinch of pepper, salt, and allspice to the mixture, stirring and turning often so it blends nicely and does not brown.
STEP 3 – Once the mixture is well blended and intoxicating your guests, add the chicken stock and water and stir thouroughly. You’ll want to let this boil for about 2 minutes while until the rice just begins to soften.
STEP 4 – Add your can of Coconut Milk to the mixture as well as the Kidney Beans. Stir well, then let simmer.
Depending how much you add-lib this recipe or increase the amounts, you’ll just have to watch it until the rice is fluffy. This recipe if followed closely should reduce the liquid to a perfect dish.
STEP 5 – Cut your lime in half or thirds, depending how much you’d like to use. The lime is really a key element in this recipe.
If you can find “key limes” or they are in season, grab a bag of those. They have a little bit sweeter taste but they are also great for a garnish on top because of their small size. For this demonstration, I simply used a small regular lime. My wife has nicely presented it for us 🙂
*** Squeeze the Lime over the plated Rice ***
FINAL STEP – Serve a succulent intoxicating dish to your guests. You can serve this rice with pork chops, chicken fish or really just by itself. If you serve it alone in a bowl, I would recommend finding Spurtree Jamaican Jerk Sauce by the bottle. Its heaven and its as close as you get to “Granny’s Sauce” on the island. In Minneapolis, You can find it at Kitchen Window in Calhoun Square in Uptown.
You’ll notice this dish to be quickly addictive. The blend of peppers and aromatics cooked in the coconut milk mixture will leave the rice fluffy and coated so that it nicely separates. Perfect to mix with jerk sauce or any other scotch bonnet pepper sauce. The lime on top is just decadently perfect.
The Jamaican Inspiration
Here’s the place that inspired me to perfect this recipe – in west Negril, that I visited October of 2012 during my destination wedding/honeymoon. 3 Dives Jerk Centre.
They don’t have a website, you won’t find their great grandmother’s recipes online. The restaurant (like much of this impoverished country) is a run down shack that barely stands and the bathroom is a hole in the woods just far enough away, however they’re on the worlds list of top 10 jerk restaurants. “The Amazing Race” had their contestants work in this kitchen and cook the food in 2005.
These are the jerk smokers outside (below). They serve jerked chicken, lobster and other delicacies all day. If you come at noon, they’ll tell you to come back in an hour and a half when the Pimento coals are ready, then you’ll wait another 45 minutes for your food. But nobody is complaining…
This place has the BEST beans and rice you’ll find and my recipe is modeled as closely as I can get it to 3 Dives. I traveled deep into the Caribbean and then ventured into West Negril for YOU. So enjoy this savory dish. If you get a chance to visit this place, walk out the back and check out their gorgeous view. (Photo below)
Pair it with a Red Stripe…