Saturday, 10 January 2015

Caribbean cooking 101

I am blessed and cursed to be sitting in Mrs. Douglas's office. Blessed because she is such an amazing woman and cursed because her office is right beside the tuck shop where the smells of the days lunch start around 10:00 a.m. and make you long for fried chicken!

local green seasoning
Beko and Daniel are the cooks. When I first arrived I asked them how they made such flavourful chicken. Their answer, I needed to get "local green seasoning". When I pressed as to what that was they said it was sold everywhere.

So typical Canadian, "everywhere" means the super market. I did find a "local green seaonsing" sauce by Baron's and snapped this up. It was OK, but I felt like I was missing something.

So I went back to ask. Not at the supermarket from local vendors! So you can buy local seasoning either fresh or as a puree. We do both, puree when we are having fish, fresh when we are cooking chicken.

Each vendor will have a slightly different mix depending on their garden. One thing it will always
Shadow Beni far right 
include- green onions. So Brent got a really nice green seasoning package today.  In todays batch I had thyme, basil, oregano and shadow beni. Shadow beni tastes and smells (only when cut) exactly like cilantro. Just like cilantro you only use a tiny bit otherwise it overpowers all the other herbs.

One thing about Caribbean cooking is you almost never cook chicken breasts. In fact when Brent brings them home as part of a whole chicken I struggle to remember how or what we make with them! (Quesadillas) So since I have chicken legs I thought I would show you how to make stewed chicken with local green seasoning.

Sometimes you will get a couple of seasoning peppers included in the green seasonings, and sometimes not. In Grenada you always have some on hand though. My problem is when sold, vendors don't always tell you if the peppers are scotch bonnets. I am one of those folks whose skin reacts to everything, so if I cut a scotch bonnet my hands will burn for at least a few hours if not days. So I use a plastic bag on my hands to cut all peppers even if I have been assured they are harmless.

Could be Scotch bonnets who knows?
Basically you cut everything up, and a healthy dose of crushed or chopped garlic and toss it on the chicken. You let it sit as long as possible, overnight is great, but I have yet to be that organized. Mine sat all day.

You put some oil in a skillet and brown some sugar and then start browning your chicken. Before you put the chicken in the skillet you scrape off the seasoning, but reserve it.  Once the meat is browned you add enough water to cover the chicken and the seasonings into the skillet. You let it simmer until the chicken falls off the bone. You can add curry or jerk seasoning- probably any seasoning, but it is nice not to add things that are man-made.

Sometimes when we make this we add potatoes and carrots to the skillet, but Aiden is in the mood for rice so rice it will be.

Brent  isn't too keen but I want to build a flower box just for green seasoning when I get home. If we are coming home in March my herbs will be ready for the summer. It is truly amazing just how much better things taste when they are seasoned ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment