Thursday, 9 February 2017

Meaty Jamaican stew peas


I am not sure if its red peas soup or the stew peas that came first. Similar to the age old question did the chicken or the egg come first. In case you are unaware stew peas is a thick version of red peas soup. They are literally the exact same thing (in my opinion), it’s just one is a thick stew served with white rice and the other is a runny soup. I always theorized that either someone left their soup on the stove too long until it became a stew and just ran with it, or someone added too much liquid that would not thicken and they just got fed up and had soup. Either way they are both Jamaican favorites and I will be making the stew in this post.

As a Jamaican stew peas is something you hate or love. It’s one of my mother’s favorite dishes. My bestie in NY also adores the dish and is constantly finding new restaurants that serve a good stew peas. Most purist will argue that stew peas without the salty pigtail can’t be good. The thing is most restaurants in an effort to serve the general public who may or may not eat pork don’t add pig tail to their stew so it a rarity to find a restaurant who does. Because of this many places use other types of meat to add the flavor to the stew, smoked turkey neck or oxtail are two of the most common additions. The first time I saw oxtail added to a stew peas was at a restaurant in New York. It was then that oxtail became my go to meat to add to my own stew peas recipes.

Generally, I make stew peas all the time, but 90 percent of those times I am making it meatless because it’s usually quicker. My recipe for meatless stew peas has seen a lot of traffic and its pretty darn good. I decided to make a yummy stew peas with some meat for those persons who feel like a stew peas is not a stew peas without meat. The key to this deliciousness is the oxtail. If you can cook a good pot of oxtail you can make a delicious stew peas. You cant just add the oxtail unseasoned, it needs to be seasoned browned and cooed down as if you were eating it on its own then you continue to make the stew. It’s a great way to combine two good recipes for an even better one.

Ingredients (printable recipe)

For the oxtail
3 lb oxtail
1 ½  teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups water
For the stew
3 can red kidney beans
2 ½ cups coconut milk
3 stalks scallion
4 sprigs thyme
1 onion chopped
4 cloves whole garlic
1 tablespoon pimento
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoon salt
4-5 pig tails cooked
1 scotch bonnet pepper
For the Dumpling
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water


For the salted pigtail
  • Place salted pig tails in a pot of water and bring to boil, cook the pig tails for about 1 hour 30 minutes changing the water ever 30-40 minutes. The aim is to remove excess salt once this is don’t set them aside soaking in some fresh water until ready for use

For the oxtail
  • Season the oxtail with salt, allspice, onion powder and black pepper. Allow this to marinate for two to three hours, overnight is even better
  • Place the coconut oil in a pot and add the oxtails saut√© on high flames continually stirring allowing the sides to brown evenly.
  • Once the oxtail has browned add 2 cups of water and cook in a pressure cooker (I recommend a pressure cooker for this so there is no water loss if you do this on the stove top the water will evaporate) oxtail varies in cooking time, you want to cook it to 85% tenderness in my electric pressure cooker that’s about 35 or so minutes of pressure cooking
  • Once its almost 100 percent tender pour the entire contents into a pot on the stove top, the oxtail and all the oxtail juices
  • allow it to come to a boil
For the stew
  • To the oxtail add the Canned beans (I don’t strain them) coconut milk, scallion, thyme, onion, garlic, allspice berries, sugar and salt. Again bring to a boil 
  • Take the pigtails and chop into 1 to ½ inch pieces and add the oxtail mixture
  • In a separate bowl combine the ingredients to make the dumplings knead into a dough and form into small dumplings.
  • Add the dumplings to the pot
  • Allow the whole thing to simmer on medium low heat until its very thick and creamy , mine took about another 1 ½ hour on the stove top before it was finished.
  • Serve with white rice

Xoxo Greedygirl

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