Although it’s been almost 9 years that we have been living without him on this earth, we still remember his spirit and all the memories he left behind. These next few posts are a tribute to my grandfather and his Jamaican roots. I hope my homage to him would have made him proud.
They say when you’re pregnant you can have weird cravings. I’m 7 months deep and haven’t had any craving so far that i would consider “weird”. Just more food! However, the past month I’ve been wanting Caribbean food hard core! At first I just started naming off dish after dish. Until finally I had a plan…I picked out a few dishes that I wanted to make and hit the meat market. I grabbed oxtails, goat meat, chicken, and stew beef. I was ready to start my trip down memory lane.
First because of the cold winter months, I had to make Red Pea Soup (you can find the recipe under the “recipe” tab). This is a winter staple for me. There was enough leftover for us to freeze for another day. Now because I’ve shared my love for this soup on a precious post, I won’t drag you all through the story again…LOL.
So that brings me to today’s star of the show…oxtail!! Now this my hubby was excited about too – although he keeps nagging me about making Jamaican beef patties from scratch (not right now I’m not!). I couldn’t believe the cuts at the meat market. Normally, most grocers have little meat around the bone of the oxtail. Even though there were some pieces like that, these were nice and plump! I remember when I was young I would hear my grandfather say the names of all these foods and I would look at him like “what???” I now know that look because if I bring up West Indian food around people that don’t know about it, I get the same look! Now we’re not talking about the people that go to Jamaican bakeries and get a beef patty and occasional coco bread…they are amateurs. You need to expand your palates and try other items on the menu.
I must admit “oxtail” may not sound appealing at first listen, but does bear, venison, tripe, and many other things people eat?? Nope! Oxtail is beef. If cooked right, it is succulent and tender. We cook it in a broth that makes a delicious gravy that you can add carrots and broad beans to. The gravy is great over rice. Mmmm…yum! That Sunday afternoon I started cooking it the aroma that filled my home was priceless. The hubs came in the house and was like “OMG! It smells like Dunn’s River or Jahmske’s in here!” So those of you unfamiliar those are local Jamaican restaurants. He was hovering over the stove ready to eat before the meal was done and I was just browning the meat! I hadn’t even started it on its simmering process! It did smell good though!
As for my accompaniments to this star entree, I would make that rice & peas and cabbage! Rice & peas is a traditional Jamaican side dish and is made with coconut milk among other things. When I was young I remember my grandfather cracking open a whole coconut for the water and then grated up the meat and making his own coconut milk, but at 7 months pregnant, I don’t got time for all that LOL!! However, I’m not the canned bean kind of girl when it comes to this recipe. Many people like to use canned red kidney beans, but it takes away from the flavor and color that I’m used to. So I buy dry beans and soak them overnight. This keeps that rich color instead of looking like white rice with beans in it! As for the cabbage, I just love it with Caribbean food. Sometimes on its own and sometimes with shreds of carrots in it. Nothing beats an amazing looking plate that has amazing taste!
This food went down!!! Something that I thought would last 4 days lasted about 2 days!! It would have been nice to have some plantains on the side but I completely forgot this time. Plus there probably won’t have been room on the hubby’s plate. Who am I fooling, he would have made it fit! Haha! It was a great meal.
Stay tuned as my next stop on the “tribute to my grandfather” train brings to me a big pot of curry goat! Interested???