Black-Eyed Pea Stew
250 g of dry black-eyed peas soaked overnight
1 small orange squash or pumpkin
1 yellow sweet pepper
1 red scotch bonnet chilli pepper (more if you like it hot!)
1 bunch of fresh Jamaican thyme
3 cloves of garlic
A cup of olive oil
1 bay leaf
A pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
A pinch of coarse black pepper (optional)
2 to 4 allspice peppercorns
A few pinches of sea salt or pink salt
- Boil the peas with a bay leaf till tender
- Warm some olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and throw some chopped onion (white or red whatever you have)
- Sautee gently
- Chop 1/3 of the thyme finely and add to the onion
- Chop fresh chilli (use gloves or be very careful, the seeds are very hot!) and add to the pot. NB If you do not know the strength of your scotch bonnet – it varies greatly – maybe just add half. You can always add more later.
- Add garlic, allspice and turmeric
- Add chopped pumpkin and chopped sweet pepper
- Mix well and sprinkle with some salt
- Cover with a heavy lid and simmer gently on a very low fire
- When the pumpkin begins to soften add the cooked beans
- Simmer some more
- Add some hot water if the stew is too thick
- Add more thyme and black pepper to taste and more seasoning if needed
- Serve with fresh coriander or parsley
The photo shows it served with jollof rice and fried plantain. It also goes well with avocado salsa.
It is the combination of thyme, scotch bonnet and pumpkin that are key to this dish. The rest of the ingredients can be varied; sometimes I add sweet potato, yam and okra. Experiment but whatever you do: don’t forget your thyme and scotch bonnet!
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Recipe from The Bonnington Café chef, Ela Ciecierska.