COCONUT JERK PEAS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA
The apartment I grew up in was on an adorable street in Mid-City, New Orleans. I was blessed with the most beautiful neighborhood, and the entire block would frequently host spontaneous cookouts on weekends. My neighbor came originally from Trinidad, and his jerk peas were considered a legend in the neighborhood because there was never enough of the delicious jerk peas. We would linger around the boiling pot until the peas were ready to consume, then disappear in the blink of an eye. He never shared the recipe for the jerk peas (I am not blaming him); however, I do know that the peas were soaked in a broth made from coconut milk with a total fat content and a healthy dose of Jerk seasoning. I’m probably unable to recreate the famous peas, but these coconut jerk peas are the closest I could achieve!
SEASON YOUR JERK PEAS TO TASTE
The only thing you need to be aware of is that the Jerk seasoning can vary significantly between brands, and you should adjust the seasoning to suit your personal preferences. It is possible to add it before cooking the peas and then spice up the entire pot afterward with additional if required.
I’ve attached a picture from the one I purchased from Whole Foods. You may also see it in the bulk bins. The spice blend is made up of many ingredients and specific elements that I don’t keep in my pantry; therefore, it’s one blend I find more convenient and sensible to purchase pre-mixed. If you would like to make the spice mix yourself, A quick Google search offers a variety of recipes.
The greatest thing about these beans is that they’re straightforward to make. They can be made in the afternoon on Sundays while taking a break or working on other chores and then be prepared for lunch the following week.
COCONUT JERK PEAS
One tablespoon olive oil ($0.13)
One yellow onion ($0.32)
Two cloves of garlic ($0.16)
One lb. frozen peas with black eyes with afro or purple peas hulls ($1.99)
1 cup of water ($0.00)
1-2 Tbsp jerk seasoning* ($0.60)
1 14oz. bottle of coconut milk ($2.19)
1/4 tsp salt or as desired ($0.02)
4 cups cooked rice ($0.75)
2 cups of chopped pineapple* ($0.67)
1/4 onion red ($0.17)
One lime ($0.34)
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.21)
1/2 tsp salt or according to your preference ($0.05)
3-4 green onions, cut ($0.20)
Slice the onion into pieces and chop the garlic. Combine them in the medium sauce pot with olive oil, and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions become soft but translucent.
Add the peas into the pot with water and one tablespoon of the jerk seasoning. Mix well. Cover the pot, turn up the temperature to medium-high, and let it reach a boil. When it has reached a boiling point, lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes or until the peas are tender.
While the peas are cooking, cook the pineapple salsa, and cut the pineapple into small pieces. Finely chop the onion red. Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems, then give them an abrasive chop. Mix the pineapple, onion, cilantro, juice from half the lime, and salt in the bowl. Mix to combine before tasting, and modify the lime or salt as required. Put the salsa aside.
Once the peas have become soft, turn the heat low and include the coconut milk. Stir it in and heat up. Mash some peas against the pot’s edge to thicken the mix. Test the peas by tasting them and adding jerk seasoning and salt until they’re well-spiced. The peas need to be well-seasoned because when they are poured over regular rice, it’s likely that the flavoring may appear to be diluted.
To serve, put the prepared rice into a bowl. Add around 1 cup of Jerk Peas along with the coconut broth. Add 1/2 cup of pineapple salsa and sprinkle with sliced green onions. Enjoy!