Purists may frown on me as I present, my version of “stewed peas”. Traditionally stewed peas (kidney beans stewed in a broth and with seasoning) is cooked with pigs tail. Why pigs tail? It is flavorsome, the pork fat provides the necessary flavor and offers meat at a ridiculously cheap price. Also, I think the pigs tails is a lasting legacy from Jamaica’s colonial history.
Although my local market sells pigs tails (there is a large Caribbean community and this sells well), many markets and supermarkets do not sell pigs tails so I thought I would go for the next delicious and economic cut of the old hog, a gammon joint. The gammon cooked and added with the peas (kidney or gungo) and spices served with rice make a modern take on a Jamaican classic, but nevertheless a hearty one.
1 gammon joint weighing
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp mustard
400g kidney beans, drained
400g gungo peas(use 2x tin of kidney beans if you can’t get hold of gungo peas).
1 onion, skin removed, finely diced
2 tbsp West Indian hot pepper sauce
Pinch of black pepper
3-4 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic.
Leave the gammon to soak overnight in a large saucepan, the following day drain the water and refill with fresh water. When you are ready to cook the gammon, drain the water and marinade with the honey and mustard. Pour two cups of cold water to the saucepan and boil on a low heat for 1.5 hours with the lid on. After 1.5 hours, carefully remove the gammon and place on a chopping board. Pour the excess water from the pan and only leave around ½ cup of water. Add the onion, kidney and gungo peas, hot pepper sauce, thyme and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the gammon into thin bite size pieces and add back to the pan with the peas. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
It’s traditional to serve this with rice but it also goes well with herb-drenched potatoes or a baked potato.