Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Antigua and Barbuda

Antiguan Fungi and Pepperpot

I made this dish on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 for Andy and me. I chose this dish because, according to wikipedia, it is the national dish. The dish was very good; both Andy and I enjoyed it immensely. It is very hearty with all of the starchy vegetables, and also holds heat incredibly well. I would recommend this dish for a fall or winter evening. Most of the ingredients would probably be more in season at that point. I find it a little odd that such a hearty meal is the national dish of a Caribbean island nation. It seems more likely to be the dish of a colder place.

It took me about 2-3 hours to make this dish. While there is a lot of prep. work for it (peeling, chopping, etc.), the actual process of making it is quite simple. One note though: WEAR GLOVES when chopping the habañero pepper! My hands are still burning from it and therefore, I've been too afraid to take out my contacts.

Also, due to availability of ingredients, I had to make the following substitutions:
*blackeyed peas instead of pigeon peas
*habañero pepper instead of scotch bonnet pepper
*acorn squash instead of calabaza
*yam instead of white yam

There were many variations on the recipes for both the pepperpot and the fungee. I chose the ones that I could follow the easiest.

Here is the recipe for the pepperpot, modified from the original:

Antiguan Pepperpot

Ingredients:-1 lb. corned beef brisket, cut into 1" pieces
-1.64 lb. ham, cut across lengthwise (the original recipe didn't specify an amount; this is what I used)
-8 c. water
-2 T. vegetable oil
-1 lg. onion, chopped
-4 green onions, chopped
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 habañero pepper, seeded and minced
-14 oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained
-1/4 c. tomato paste
-1 T. fresh chives, chopped
-1/2 tsp. ground thyme
-1 med. eggplant, cut into 1" pieces
-1 lb. acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
-1/2 lb. yam, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
-1/4 lb. fresh baby spinach
-16 oz can blackeyed peas, drained
-1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1) In a 4 qt. Dutch oven, bring the corned beef, ham and water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1.5 hours. Drain the meat, reserving both the meat and the cooking liquid. Coarsely chop the ham.
2) While the meat is simmering, take the time to peel and cut all of the vegetables.
3) In the same 4 qt. Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, green onions, garlic and habañero pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes.
4) Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, chives and thyme, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
5) Stir in the eggplant, squash and yam. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in meat and reserved meat cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are done, about 20 minutes.
6) Stir in the peas and spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted, about 5 minutes.
7) Season with pepper.
8) To serve, scoop 1-2 cups over fungee.


Ingredients:-4 c. water
-2 c. yellow cornmeal
-1 tsp. salt
-6 okras, sliced

1) Place water, okra and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until okras are done, about 5 minutes.
2) Remove about 2 c. liquid from pan.
3) Meanwhile, add cold water to cornmeal a little bit at a time until the cornmeal reaches a pasty batter. (I think that I ended up using about 1 c. cold water).
4) Add cornmeal mixture to okra water. Over low heat, stir continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture becomes fairly stiff. (I did this for about 7 minutes; I think I should have stirred for closer to 10). When the mixture breaks away clearly from the pan, the fungee is ready.
5) Butter a bowl. Turn the mixture into the bowl and shake it into the shape of the bowl. Turn it out onto a serving dish,
6) Serve with pepperpot.

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