Here’s a dish my mom would make the odd Sunday when Callaloo wasn’t on the menu, as part of the Grand Caribbean Sunday Lunch. Paired with stewed , grilled or oven roasted meats, macaroni pie, boiled sweet potato and plantain and there was always a salad of some sort on the side. Even if it was just watercress harvested from the village streams that morning or sliced cucumbers from our kitchen garden at the back of the house.
2 cups dried red kidney beans8-9 cups water4-6 cloves garlic (smashed)5 sprigs thyme1 wiri wiri pepper (any spicy pepper will work)3/4 teaspoon salt1 medium onion (diced)1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil1 heaping tablespoon golden brown sugar1 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning1 cup diced carrots2 cups diced pumpkin1 stalk celery (diced)2 scallions (chopped)1 tablespoon dehydrated Pimento peppers (optional)2 tablespoon tomato puree paste2 tablespoon Maple Syrup (pure)1 medium tomato (diced)2-3 tablespoon coconut cream1 teaspoon black pepper divided1 heaping tablespoon vegetable stock powder1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce2 tablespoon chopped shado beni (culantro)
Note: I used a Wiri Wiri pepper to give these beans a bit of a kick, Scotch Bonnet, Habanero or any of your fav spicy pepper will work, in amounts you can tolerate. Or feel free to leave it out if spicy is not your thing.
In a deep pot, soak the washed red beans in cool water for about 2 hours. Then place the pot on a medium flame to bring to a boil. As the water comes to temperature, add garlic, thyme, onion and one of the wiri wiri pepper. Give it a stir, then add the salt and black pepper. I started with about 7 cups of water but I did end up adding another 2 cups or so as they simmered.
As the beans cook, it’s a great time to prep the other ingredients.
As it comes to a boil, turn it down to as low and it can go and allow it to simmer until the beans are tender.
One hour and fifteen minutes later it’s time to take the pot off the burner as the beans will be tender. Set this aside and get another wide heavy pot on a medium/high flame.
Add the oil followed by the sugar. You would have seen me do this when I ‘brown stew’. Watch the video below if this becomes confusing. The sugar will melt, go frothy, then deep amber in color. Here is where (be VERY careful) you’ll add the cooked beans to the pot. BE VERY CAREFUL as you’re adding liquid to caramelized sugar and it can jump back at you. If the sugar goes BLACK.. STOP. Allow the pot to cool, wash, dry and start back.
Vent you kitchen as it can become a bit smoky. After all the beans (and liquid) is added, it’s time to add the other ingredients (except the shado beni).
Couple noteworthy points, mom would never add Maple Syrup, Vegetable Stock powder nor Tomato Paste (she would add a tablespoon of tomato ketchup). These additions are just my way of adding my own personality to the dish.
Bring it up to a boil and allow it to cook for a further 30 minutes. Test to make sure everything is tender and the salt is to your liking. While I didn’t add a lot of salt, I knew the vegetable stock I used had a sodium element to it. Adjust accordingly.
If it’s too runny, use your spoon to crush the pumpkin and some of the beans. BUT do keep in mind that this will THICKEN as it cools down. Leftovers can be put into freezer containers or vacuum sealed and kept in the freezer for months. Thaw, add a tiny bit of water and reheat on the stove. If you used a vacuum sealed bag, place in boiling water.
Top with the chopped Shado Beni as you turn off the stove and stir.
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