Rice & Peas, a dish brought to the Western Caribbean by enslaved West Africans from Ghana and the Ivory Coast, is a mainstay in The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and many other English-speaking Caribbean islands. It is also delicious—especially served with some of our Shrimp Without Grits.
Really simple to make, it starts, as many Caribbean dishes do, with a sofrito made from red and green bell peppers, onion and celery. To cut down on time, we used canned dark red kidney beans, but they worked just fine!
Shopping List & Prep
1 small red pepper, diced (about 1/2 C)
1 small green bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 C)
1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/4 C)
1 small yellow or white onion, diced (about 1/2 C)
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 TSBP)
2" piece ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 TBSP)
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chili, cut in half, stemmed and seeded
3 sprigs fresh thyme
15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans (unsalted), rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
3 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 C jasmine or other long grained rice (uncooked)
Rinse rice in cold water until water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven with lid, heat oil over medium heat.
When the oil shimmers, add onions, green and red bell pepper, celery and salt.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes more minutes, until garlic releases its fragrance.
Stir in rice until well combined with pepper mixture. Next, stir in beans, then coconut milk, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, chili, 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer.
Check rice at 20 minutes. Add water, if needed.
Continue cooking, covered, until rice is cooked through, 10-20 more minutes. (We used brown jasmine rice and it took a full hour for liquids to absorb and the rice to cook through.)
Remove bay leaves , thyme stalks and chili pieces, salt and pepper to taste.