Trinidadian Pelau

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Pelau (pronounced pay-la-w) is an easy one pot dish, popular in Trinidad and perfect for liming,  at a picnic, or even at home on a lazy day. This popular rice dish can be cooked with any type of meat or combination of meat such as chicken, beef, lamb, goat, pork, and even “wild meat” (agouti, deer etc.). This is my sister, Lover’s recipe. We make this every year for our parish’s annual International Food Day. Disclaimer: I’ve never “measured” ingredients for this recipe, since I make it so often. The measurements may need to be adjusted slightly. Trinidad and Tobago Flag

Ingredients

3-4 cups  rice
enough water to just cover the rice
1 pot spoon of sugar (large metal spoonful)
seasoning salt and black pepper
2 lbs of chicken/beef (butchered for stewing)
1/2 pound of boiled salted meat (pig tail or salted beef)
1 can of pigeon peas (drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons of  canola oil
1 tb butter
1/2 can of coconut milk or 1/2 pack coconut milk powder
1 onion diced
1/2 cup of diced carrots  and 1/2 cup of pumpkin peeled and diced
1 cup of sliced okra

Directions

Season meat with seasoned salt and pepper and put to the side. Add crushed garlic, Spanish Thyme, pimento, etc for more flavor.

Heat oil in a heavy pot. Once hot, add sugar and stir until caramelized. Be careful not to burn the sugar*.

Add seasoned meat into sugar mixture and stir meat until fully coated in browned sugar.

Cook meat until almost done or until no longer pink.

Add uncooked rice and peas to pot. Stir until coated with sugar mixture as well.

Add enough water to cover meat/rice/peas mixture. At this point you can add a whole habanero pepper, for added heat. Allow it to burst during cooking. Do not remove until you serve the pelau.

Next add onions, okra, carrots, pumpkin, salted meat, and coconut milk or powder.

Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Place top on pot and lower temperature to low. Cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes. Ass butter just before serving.

Fluff with fork. DO NOT STIR!

*Some people like their pelau dark, others like it brown or light brown. If you want it dark, be careful not to burn the sugar too much or else the pelau will taste bitter, and lose most of its flavor. I personally, prefer pelau that is not too dark. Instead of “burning” the sugar, some people buy ready-made browning. This saves time, but  be careful with the amounts of browning added.

Date Night Jambalya

This recipe for jambalya is one created by my best friend and , as a quick meal for our boyfriends, while in college. Although it is easy, it is also flavorful and can be “jazzed up” for more discerning tastes. I can’t say that this is “better than your momma’s” but if you brought this to your “momma and n’em” they’d enjoy it just the same. Recipe can be made with brown rice or without rice at all, and served over pasta.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon EVOO

1 pound skinless chicken breasts (boneless or bone in ok)

1 package andouille or smoked sausage (sliced into half-size rounds)

2 pounds fresh shrimp (heads removed and saved, deveined)

3 celery stalks

2 onions (1 cut in half, the other diced)

1 green bell pepper (diced)

1 red bell pepper (diced)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1 16 oz can/tube tomato paste

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning (such as Tony Chachere seasoning)

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups water

2 cups long grained rice (uncooked)

Directions

In large pot bring to boil 5 cups water, chicken breasts, shrimp heads, 1 onion (which was sliced in half), 3 celery stalks, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Cook until chicken appears done (10-15 minutes). Remove chicken from pot and cool on cutting board. Once cooled, shred chicken using two fork method.

Drain liquid chicken was cooked in and set aside (save in order to cook rice).

In dutch oven or heavy cooking pot add EVOO. Once heated add diced onion, diced bell peppers, and garlic and sautee over medium heat until tender.

Once vegetables are tender, add chopped sausage, cleaned shrimp, and shredded chicken to cooked vegetables. Cook until shrimp turns pink (5-10 minutes), on low.

Stir in tomato paste and all dry seasoning. Add additional cayenne pepper if not spicy enough.

Once thoroughly mixed with vegetable and meat mixture, add 4 cups of chicken/shrimp stock (which was set aside), and two cups of uncooked rice.

Bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes. Then turn all the way down to low and cover. Do NOT remove lid for 20 minutes. Once water is completely absorbed, lightly fluff rice mixture with fork. DO NOT STIR!

Serve with sweet corn bread (see recipe).

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