Once you nail down one basic successful technique for making rice and beans together in one pot, you can get creative with countless variations based on the ingredients you choose to sauté, boil and simmer with.
This recipe is not the traditional Jamaican “rice and peas” but it incorporates a few key ingredients used in making Jamaican jerk chicken … scotch bonnet peppers, allspice (referred to in Jamaica as pimento), black pepper, and thyme. Scotch bonnets are extremely intense, so if you’re not a lover spicy food just leave the pepper whole and make sure it does not burst. It will still infuse your liquid with a subtle flavor as it cooks down.
- 9.5″ wide bottomed Caldero pot (aluminum preferred) with low sides and a fitting lid IMUSA Cast Aluminum Caldero Dutch Oven 9.5 inches / 24cm, 3.7Qt, #5 Grey NSF Certified – GAU-80504
- medium pot for stewing meat and making broth
- small pot for hydrating beans
- wide metal or flat wooden spatula
- oven mit (for safely handling aluminum pot)
- gas stove
- 1 cup hydrated small red beans (equivalent to 1/3 cup dried small red beans)
- 1-inch thick slice of smoked turkey leg, cut crosswise with bone
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 to 1 scotch bonnet pepper (at your discretion), diced finely seeds discarded
- 1/2 cup yellow or white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon loosely chopped thyme
- 1 cup long grain rice, rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons plain tomato sauce (slightly less than 1/4 cup)
- In a small pot, bring beans to a brief boil in 4 cups boiling water to hydrate. After a few minutes, cover with a lid and set aside.
- In a medium pot bring 6 cups water to a brief boil with smoked turkey and bay leaf,. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours with the lid slightly ajar. Meat should be almost falling off the bone and water should reduce by about half.
- Drain the hydrated beans, simmer with the turkey for another 30 minutes. The beans should be soft and meat easily falling off the bone. Discard any bone or skin and bayleaf, reserve the meat and beans with a slotted spoon, and measure out 2 cups of broth and set aside. If you’re short on liquid, simply add some water to equal 2 cups.
- Meanwhile, heat oil on medium high heat and sauté scotch bonnet pepper, onion, garlic and thyme until fragrant and onions are translucent. Stir in meat, beans, black pepper and allspice and cook for about 3 minutes covered.
- Add rice, salt and stir until evenly coated with oil and seasonings.
- Turn heat to hight and add broth and tomato sauce and stir until ingredients are evenly distributed. Bring to a vigorous boil.
- When the liquid cooks down to the level of the rice and large air holes appear in the rice, give the mixture one quick stir. Place the lid on and turn the heat to the lowest flame possible. Simmer for 20 minutes, leaving the mixture untouched. Do not even open the lid out of curiosity.
- After 20 minutes turn off the heat and gently lift the rice from the bottom of the pot with a spatula in an upwards motion, just a few times. Let rice sit for another 20 minutes covered prior to serving.
Yield: 4 – 6 side servings