December 10, 2023

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Stew Peas and Rice is a beloved Jamaican dish. For me it’s simply comfort food. Funny … even though Jamaica is  a hot, tropical country, we love our hearty stews and soups, all well-suited to colder climates. I think it has to do with the fact that we are traditionally hard-working people who need our meals to “hold us” for the day. Stew Peas and Rice is family favourite, and salted pig tails are a key ingredient. They’re what makes this recipe salty… in a good way.

You’ll notice below that salt is not on the ingredient list. That’s because there’s no need to add more salt since there’s so much in the pig tails (used as a preservative) that you have to remove some by soaking the meat overnight! If you have access to a West Indian store in your city, and if they’re worth their salt … LOL, you can get salted pig tails there. They’ll cut them into small pieces for you, just ask. If you don’t have access to a West Indian grocer, you can use ham hock as a substitute. It won’t be authentic, but still really tasty. You’ll also likely have to add some salt since it won’t be as salty as the pig tails. Serve up this stew with steamed white rice and fried plantain and you’ll have meal that will stick to your ribs … and curl your toes.
2 Salted Pig Tails, cut into 2-inch pieces (they will cut at the West Indian store)
1lb  Stewing Beef, cubed
1 cup  Dry Kidney Beans

1 Tbsp Margarine or Butter
1 small Onion, chopped
2  Tbsp each Red and Green Bell Peppers, finely chopped
2-3 slices Scotch Bonnet Pepper
2 stalks Scallion or Green Onion

2-3 sprigs Fresh Thyme (or 1 tsp Dried Thyme)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Pimento seeds (optional)

Spinners (long dumplings)
3/4 cup Flour
pinch of Salt
Add enough cold water to make soft dough
Night Before:
1. Rinse red beans in cold water and soak in 3 to 4 cups cold overnight
2. Rinse salted pig tails and soak in about 6 cups of cold water overnight
Next Day:
1. Drain water from pig tails; place in pot and cover with fresh cold water
2. Bring to a boil; boil for 3 to 5 minutes; drain water
3. Add 6 cups for fresh cold water to pot and bring to a boil; lower heat and cook about 1/2 hour
4. Add red beans (including the water they were soaked in) and stewing beef to pot
5. Cover pot and cook meat and beans on a low boil until very tender, about 1 hour (keep the liquid level the same by adding boiling water to pot as liquid evaporates)
6. In a frying pan, melt margarine (or butter) using medium heat; saute onion, scallion (white part only, chopped), and red and green bell pepper until onion is transparent, about 3 minutes
7. Add all the sauteed ingredients to pot on low boil along with remaining scallion (unchopped), sprigs of thyme, pimento (if using) and black pepper; remove scotch bonnet pepper after a few minute, or to taste
8. Make small spindle-shape dumplings (called spinners) and add to the pot; simmer stirring often until stew thickens and dumplings are cooked
9. Remove large pieces of scallion, sprigs of thyme and pimento (if using)
Serve Stew Peas hot over steamed white rice with fried plantain

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I’ve been cooking Jamaican food for my family for more than 50 years! Now I'm teaching my daughter Angela and you how to cook my treasured family recipes! I'm happy to be of service and love hearing from you so don't forget to leave a comment below.


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