Jamaican Rice and Peas

50g / 3 tbsp unsalted butter (or 2 tbsp canola or veg oil)
2 garlic cloves , finely minced
1 small onion , finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp all spice powder (sub mixed spice)
2 bay leaves , preferably fresh
1 scotch bonnet or habanero chilli – any colour (optional), keep whole (Note 1)
2 x 400g / 14oz cans red kidney beans , drained (Note 2)
1 x 400 ml / 14oz coconut milk , full fat (Note 3)
1 cup water
1 tsp cooking salt
2 cups long grain white rice (Note 4)

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan).

Sauté aromatics – Melt butter over medium-high heat in a medium or large ovenproof pot (Note 5). Cook garlic, onion, thyme, all spice, bay leaves, scotch bonnet until onion is translucent (~ 3 minutes).

Add coconut milk, water, beans and salt. Once it comes to a simmer, add rice then give it a quick stir. Once you see bubbles breaking the surface, immediately cover then transfer to oven.

Bake for 40 minutes. All liquid should be absorbed (tilt to check) though you will have some coconut cream on the surface.

Rest – Leave the pot on the counter with the lid on for 15 minutes. Then fluff and serve!

1. Chilli – This adds a subtle hint of heat and flavour into this dish. Authentic! But you can skip it, if you prefer not spicy.

Scotch bonnet is traditional but hard to find here in Sydney, so Habanero makes a great sub (sold at Coles, Woolies, some Harris Farms) else use a large red cayenne pepper or 1 birds eye chilli.

2. Beans – Black beans also works and will look similar. Other beans will work fine too.

3. Coconut milk – Not all coconut milk is created equal! Cheaper = less coconut %, more water = less coconut flavour. Aim for > 70% (I use Ayam which is 89%). Check the ingredients label.

Low fat – doesn’t have as good a coconut flavour. But it will work.

4. Rice types – Long grain works best as the grains will separate best. But you can also use basmati, jasmine and medium grain rice. Recipe will work for sushi rice (short grain rice) but the rice will be stickier (because that’s the nature of the rice). Recipe not suitable for brown rice, risotto (arborio), paella or faux rice (cauliflower, quinoa).

5. Cooking vessel – I use my 26cm / 10.5″ dutch oven. No oven proof pot? Once the liquid with the rice and beans in it comes back up to a simmer, pour everything into a baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and add 5 minutes to the bake time (to allow for the temperature to come back up in the oven).

5. STORAGE: Rice will keep for 2 days in the fridge or freezer for 3 months

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