Monday, March 24, 2008

WE FOOD - STEW PEAS with pig’s tail

By Natasha G. Samuels

Like most kids, I was not a fan of red peas. Peas were an even greater woe to those of us who grew up on farms where peas was one of the main crops. As we consumed what we grew, peas was not only guaranteed to show up on Sundays with rice, but it also showed up during the week as peas soup or stew peas.
To me, peas were bland, nasty and served no purpose, especially given the long and mundane process that came with reaping them. The low tech method was to pick the pods from the vine by hand before they were dried on tarpaulin. Once the pods were dry, they were wrapped in the tarpaulin and the tarpaulin was then pounded with a stick to separate the peas from the pod. The peas would fall to the bottom of the tarpaulin leaving the trash from the pods on top. The older women would put a sizable amount of the peas in a large sift and with a skillful and quick upward flip of the wrist, the peas were hoisted in the air momentarily to allow the wind to sort out the remaining trash before falling back into the sift. The naked peas were then measured, bagged and brought to market for sale.
My malice with peas continued into my adult life until a sold out menu and hunger forced me to order the only remaining item, stew peas with pig’s tail. Perhaps, it was the hunger or my maturing palate but the salted pigs tail gave life and flavor to the legume.
Here is a recipe that you can try at home using a slow cooker.

½ lb salted pig’s tail (cut up)
½ cup of red peas
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic minced
2 stalks scallion
Hot pepper (whole with stem in or hot pepper sauce)
Black pepper
Flour spinners (optional)

Soak the pig’s tail and beans in cold water for at least 1-hour.
Boil the peas on the stovetop for at least 10 minutes to help break down the toxic compound – lectin phytohaemagglutinin, which is concentrated in red and white kidney beans. This toxin is known to cause severe gastric upset. Transfer the peas to a slow cooker and add the meat and enough water to cover the meat and peas. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is tender and the peas is almost disintegrating. When the meat and peas is tender, add the thyme, garlic, scallion, pepper, black pepper and spinners (optional).
Serve with white rice. Serves 2 – 3 people.


AVON said...

What about the coconut Milk?? What?

cheryl said...

Kiss teeth! A wah kinda stew pease dat? Mussi yankee style.

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