Stew pigeon peas and rice is a common recipe in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. Pigeon peas is available in the tin, frozen, or fresh. The quickest cook you can get is with those in the tin; but I prefer fresh pigeon peas.
A Garden of Pigeon Peas
Pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) is widely grown in Trinidad and Tobago. I could remember well, going to the garden to pick peas with my mother and uncle.... The tall trees were laden with peas waiting to be picked. They were a beauty to look at; a sea of green, red and yellow hues that swayed in the wind in unison. The boughs drooped under the weight of firm, fat peas and still more flowers were in between, ready to produce the next crop.
The sweet fragrance of the flowers lingered in the surrounding air for a while before being carried off by the lazy breeze. The bees would be busy also, buzzing and darting here and there looking for the next nectar rush, unknowingly playing their vital part in pollinating the flowers. The garden was alive with the sound of mother nature at work......
Stew Pigeon Peas and Rice with lettuce
Picking the peas was a task in itself because the garden was on a steep incline, but I think the hardest task was to tote a full bag of peas down the hill. Of course the trees would have ants on them at times and you would be stung on your hands, but it did not matter because all you were thinking of, is to full the bags because we caught the market at the right time and the peas was fetching a good price, wholesale and retail.
Cooking with Pigeon Peas
As you can see, this peas forms an integral part in our cooking. The pigeon pea is traditionally grown in time to be harvested for Christmas or in some cases Carnival. The main reason I could see for the planting of this crop in time for the Christmas season, is that stewed pigeon peas is usually prepared for the Christmas meal as a side dish. Perhaps you could say that it is another dish that represents Christmas in Trinidad and Tobago, together with the pastelles and ginger beer etc.
Stew Pigeon Peas and Rice Recipe
This peas is also a key ingredient in our famous dish Pelau; to some, a good pelau must have pigeon peas, not red bean or black eyed peas but this could be a hot debate. From my experience it also tastes nice curried with a little coconut milk, similar to the curry lentil peas I posted a while back. Anyway here's stew pigeon peas straight from the tree and not a can. Enjoy!
STEW PIGEON PEAS AND RICE
1 lb. chicken (chopped and seasoned)
2 cups pigeon peas (fresh)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
2 leaves big leaf thyme
2 leaves chadon beni
2 sprig chive
salt to taste
Freshly picked pigeon peas is always the best. (we call this one nine-grain pigeon peas). Shell and wash the pigeon peas. Pressure cook the pigeon peas for about 20 minutes.
Chop the onion, garlic and other herbs and set aside.
In a deep pot, heat the sugar until it melts - pay attention to the colour while it is caramelizing.
When the sugar looks golden brown add the seasoned meat. Stir the meat until it is evenly coated with the sugar. Add the onion and the rest of the seasoning.
Mix thoroughly again. Add water. Leave to simmer until the meat cooks. When the meat is cooked add the pigeon peas and a little water. Mix well and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. The pigeon peas and chicken looks ready.
Serve hot over rice.
That's all for now; see you soon.
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Stew Pigeon Peas and Rice
- Shell and wash the pigeon peas. Pressure cook the pigeon peas for about 20 minutes.
- Chop the onion, garlic and other herbs and set aside. In a deep pot, caramelize the sugar. When the sugar looks golden brown add the seasoned meat.
- Stir the meat until it is evenly coated with the sugar. Add the onion and the rest of the seasoning. Mix thoroughly again.
- Add water. Leave to simmer until the meat cooks. When the meat is cooked add the pigeon peas and a little water.
- Mix well and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve hot over rice