Jamaican Rice and Peas

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After yesterday’s culinary inferno, otherwise known as Fiery Roasted Jerk Potatoes, I thought I would take it down a couple notches, and Scoville units, today.   The peas here are actually red kidney beans.  This beans and rice dish is the one of Jamaica’s favorite comfort foods and is a common part of the Sunday meal.

This dish would complement hot and spicy jerk meats really well.  The Serrano peppers add flavor but not much heat since they’re simmered whole.  The creamy coconut milk also tones keeps it mild.  Cheap, easy, healthy and it tastes great.  What’s not to like?

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Yield: 6-8 side servings

Ingredients:

* 1-1/2 cup dry red kidney beans
* 2 Tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon thyme
* 1 can coconut milk
* 1-1/3 cup water (or chicken or vegetable broth)
* 2 Serrano peppers, whole
* 2 cups medium or long grained brown rice
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional

Directions:

Rinse beans and cover with several inches of water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until beans are nearly soft. Drain beans and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat bacon fat or olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft. Add the thyme, coconut milk, water or broth, and beans and simmer, covered, for ten minutes. Add the peppers and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes or until all of the moisture has been absorbed by the rice.

Season with salt and pepper and top with chopped cilantro, if desired.

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