Traditional Jamaican Sunday Dinner

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Jamaican Sunday Dinner, that salivatory beacon at the start of each week, that one great making-it-all-worthwhile meal. Especially for the Jamaican man who’s heart, it is said can be reached through his stomach. Let’s just say that many a woman has gotten that all-important ring from a Jamaican man because of their culinary skills preparing Sunday Dinner.

Jamaican Sunday Dinner is very serious business and is a quintessential part of Jamaican culture, dating back to the days on the plantation. It is said that this tradition was inherited from the British plantation owners who would prepare grand feasts on Sundays. It is also important to note that much like the no fuss Jamaican attitude, appetizers are no big deal and the emphasis is generally on the main course, drink and dessert.

For those of us who need a little help making that meal to impress, here is a fool proof menu of Oxtail and Broad Beans Stew with traditional Rice and Peas, a side of fried ripe plantations and blended Carrot Juice. Add a fresh salad of seasonal vegetables and trust me you will have a finger licking delicious meal.

oxtail

 Rice and Peas

The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans (short cut – 1 can of kidney beans)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • Water (enough to make 2 1/4 cups combined liquid)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 green onions, crushed
  • 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme and escallion
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • Salt to taste

The Method:

Cook red kidney beans until tender or use pre-cooked canned beans. Put cooked beans into a large saucepan or pot. Add chopped garlic. Measure all liquids, including reserved bean liquid, coconut milk, and water enough to make 2 1/4 cups. Add the 2 1/4 cups of liquid to the beans and garlic in the pot. Add rice, crushed green onion, thyme, escallion, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Oxtail and Board Beans Stew

The Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (1 kg) oxtail, jointed
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig escallion
  • 3 slices hot pepper
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. cooked broad beans or 1 can of broad beans

The Method:

Wash and season the pieces of oxtail with salt and black pepper, then satay them in oil. Add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the oxtail is tender, adding more water if necessary.

Alternatively, to speed up cooking time, after you satay the meat, place into a pressure cooker, and pour in the 4 cups of water. Cook at pressure for 25 minutes, then remove from heat, and remove the lid according to manufacturer’s directions.

Reduce the sauce to a thick gravy by increasing the heat, and then add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, escallion, and hot pepper. Stir for a few minutes then add the remaining water and the broad beans. Mix together, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the water evaporates leaving a thick gravy. Serve with rice and peas. Enough for 4 servings.

Fried Ripe Plantains

The Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe plantain
  • Salt

The Method:

Peel plantain by making 2 incisions on opposite sides of the plantain skin and then peel. Slice the plantains into 2 in the middle. Cut up both pieces of plantains into 1/4 inch slices lengthwise. Heat skillet filled with just enough oil to cover the 1/4 inch slices. Fry plantain slices until golden brown on each side. Cook each slice for about 35 seconds. Place cooked plantain in a dish layered with napkins so as to drain/soak up the oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Blended Carrot Juice

The Ingredients:

  • 1lb Carrots, Chopped
  • Milk/Water
  • Sugar /condensed milk for sweetening
  • Optional – Jamaican Red Label Wine or Dragon Stout
  • Optional – Lime Juice

The Method:

Wash and chop carrots. Blend for a few minutes and strain the juice. Add milk or water. Sweeten with sugar or condensed milk. Add Red Label Wine or Dragon Stout to taste. Add ice and enjoy. Note – if sweetening with water and sugar, add lime juice to taste for an added kick.

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