BAHAMIAN PEAS N’ GRITS
Boy dis one sweet pot here! There is nothing like a pot of peas n’ grits with fry fish, plantain and coleslaw on a Saturday afternoon. Talk about heavenly! You’ll be lickin’ ya fingers all day. Oh, please excuse me – just the thought of this dish brings out the Bahamian in me.
A word of warning: over indulgence in this delicacy will result in what we call here in the islands a ‘peas n’rice’ shape (very voluptuous buttocks). Too many cultures this figure is not appealing, but to our Bahamian men it is as delightful as the dish itself.
3 cups Grits
2 0z Cooking oil
1 sml Onion, chopped
1 tsp Browning
½ tsp Thyme leaves or 2 twigs of fresh thyme
½ tsp Black pepper
Salt to taste
1-1 ½ cup Pigeon Peas (a.k.a gondules)
1 ½ cup Ripe tomatoes, canned tomatoes or 2 tbsp Tomato paste
¼ lb Salt pork, chopped in small cubes, bacon drippings or ham skin/fat and
meat . Alternative to pork vegetable cooking oil and 1 cup beef or
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat place until very hot. Carefully add ham skin/scraps and allow to cook until crispy brown. Add onion, thyme and black pepper cook until onions are tender stir frequently. Then add tomatoes (ripe, canned or paste) and browning allow to cook down for 2 – 5 minutes (with tomato paste fry to a caramelized colour). Add peas and cook for 2 minutes then add 3 cups of water and salt to taste, bring to a boil. Add grits stirring to distribute grits evenly in pot. Ensure that water is 2 inch above level of rice. Allow to boil over med-low heat with lid on until water has evaporated and is not visible above grits. Cook for 25-40 minutes
Peas n’ grits can be served as an accompaniment to many dishes such as: fry fish, steam fish, cracked conch, steam conch, steam chicken, stew beef to name a few.
This is so easy and it goes well with many breakfast dishes.
1 ½ cups Corn Grits
3 cups water
½ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Butter (optional)
Boil salted water in a pot over medium heat. Add grit and stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes; add butter, stir then cover. Remove from heat and serve hot.
Serve with Boil Fish, Stew Fish, conch, tuna salad, steam tuna, corn beef, chicken souse and the list goes on.
AUNTIE RIE’S BAHAMIAN MACARONI N’ CHEESE
One piece is never enough. And even during lunch break at school Auntie Rie’s macaroni and cheese brought in lucrative revenues to a budding entrepreneur. Yes, I sold my macaroni and anyone else’s piece I could hi-jack from their lunch bags before we left the house. A side dish to a Bahamian meal, macaroni and cheese is also a regular accompaniment for sure on Sunday and at Christmas.
1 – 8oz pkg Elbow or cut macaroni pasta
1 medium Onion, chopped small
½ med. Green Bell pepper, chopped small
2 ½ cups Cheddar cheese, sharp – grated
1 tbsp Butter or margarine
1 can Evaporated milk
1 med. Hot pepper
1 tsp Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of paprika (optional)
Boil macaroni in salted water until soft and slightly over cooked. Drain water. While hot add 1 ½ cups of cheese and all other ingredients. Mix until blended. Pour into a well-greased baking pa. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and then paprika. Bake at 300º for 30 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and serve. Allow any? Uneaten portions to cool at room temperature before storing in refrigerator.
May be served with chicken, beef, fish or eaten alone. A 1 inch square can go for as much as $1.50
BAHAMIAN CRAWFISH (LOBSTER) SALAD
In the Bahamas we use the words crawfish and lobster interchangeably, but we refer to the spinney crawfish, which has to feelers instead of claws.
3 med. Lobster Tails
1 sml Onion (diced fine)
½ Green bell pepper
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Hot pepper (diced fine)
½ med. Tomato (diced medium)
Place lobster tails (in shell) with a dash of salt into a pot of water, just covering lobster and bring to boil. Cook 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare vegetable and place in a medium bowl. Remove from heat and drain water. Fill with cold water to cool lobster. Remove lobster meat from the shell by using a large knife to break the cross bone at the sides of the shell (please be careful). Once you have broken the cross bones the thin skin will lift easily revealing the succulent meat. Separate the meat from the shell then de-vein. Cut the lobster into small chinks add to bowl of other ingredients. Add mayonnaise, salt to taste and squeeze the limejuice into the bowl. Mix until blended. Chill before serving.
This regal appetizer can be served on a bed of lettuce with a wedge of lime or on crackers as hors d’ oeuvres
BAHAMIAN CONCH SALAD
This salad is makes a wonderful appetizer. And the experience of having your conch removed from the shell right before your eye makes it taste even better.
2 med. Conch
1 sml Onion (diced)
½ med. Bell pepper
1 sml Tomato
½ cup Lemon /Lime juice
1 Sour orange or 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
1 Hot pepper
Salt to taste
Wash two skinned conchs in some of the limejuice. Dice conch into chunky bite sizes pieces. Combine all ingredients adding salt to taste. If you find the salad is too tart add a little orange juice. Mix well and allow to marinade 10 minutes before serving.
BAHAMIAN STYLE SPLIT PEAS SOUP
This recipe is other on of those that we pull out on a “Liquid Sunshine Day”. For those of you who have not heard, it never rains in the Bahamas. The sky may occasionally drop liquid sunshine.
2 cup Yellow split peas
3 Celery stalks, sliced
2 large Onions, diced
3 large Potatoes, peeled & quartered
5 cup Water
1 tsp. Thyme
2 large Carrots, peeled & sliced
1 lb. Meat – salt beef or ham can be used
Soak salt beef in water mixed with vinegar overnight. Wash peas, soak in 5 cups water overnight, drain. Add salt to water, bring to a boil. Add peas, lower heat. Simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Puree peas through sieve or blender. While peas cook, place meat into a pot. Add water to cover, about 6 cups. Bring to a boil. Add thyme & cook until done, about 1 1/2 hours, and then add celery, carrots, onion & potatoes & cook 30 minutes longer. Remove meat & vegetables from broth. Stir broth into pureed peas and simmer until thick. Add cooked meat and vegetables
BAHAMIAN CRAB SOUP
Although sunny days are a normal occurrence in the Islands of the Bahamas we also enjoy those occasional days when liquid sunshine falls, for it never rains in the Bahamas. And these liquid sunshiny days especially during the summer months are when crabs walk and soup pots come out and family comes over with bowls. Ingredients: 6 white land crabs, washed
1/4 lb Salt pork or 2 tsp. bacon fat or oil
1 large Onion, sliced
3 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 Tbsp. Flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. Thyme
3 Tbsp. Rice, uncooked
Vegetables (potatoes, cassava, yam, carrots, etc) as desired
2 quarts Water boiling
Separate crab back (top shell) from body of crab. Remove fat from crab back, being careful not to break the bitter gall(it’s a little oval sac). Discard gall and back shells. Remove fat from body shell, if any. Save fat & body shells and set aside. In coup (thick bottomed) pot fry salt pork until crispy or heat bacon fat or oil; add onion, tomato paste, flour & seasonings. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are golden brown. Crack body shells and add with claws and crab fat to cooking pot; cook and stir 1 minute. Add 2 quarts boiling water and rice; simmer 2 hours. Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and whatever you have may be added. Serve hot.
BAHAMIAN CONCH CHOWDER
4 cups Conch (ground)
¼ cup Cooking oil
¼ lb Salt pork (diced small)
1 tbsp Salt
1 med. Onion (chopped)
1 cup Tomatoes (fresh or canned)
2 tbsp Tomato paste
½ tsp Black pepper
4 qts Water
2 Bay leaves
2 cups Carrots diced
4 cups Potatoes (cubed)
1 cup Celery (diced)
½ cup Ham chopped fine
1 cup Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrin’s)
1 Hot pepper
Tenderize conch and cut into chunks. In a large pot over med. Heat add water, bay leaves, carrot, potatoes, celery and ham. In a large frying pan over med. Heat oil and cook salt pork until light brown sauté onions, green pepper until tender. Add tomatoes and cook until dissolved. Add tomato paste and stir while cooking for 5 minutes.
Transfer contents from frying pan to large pot; add conch and salt to taste, bring to a boil. Cook until for 30 – 40 minutes stirring occasionally. Add Worcestershire sauce.
Remove from heat. Allow 15 minutes before serving.