Jamaican Cabbage and Carrots, No Problem!
For New Years this year I prepared a Jamaican feast that included Peas and Rice, Jerk Veggies, lots of Jerk Sauce for slathering and this simple yet classic cabbage and carrots dish. Every single jerk chicken plate I have ever eaten had these three things on it and it makes sense because they create a perfect balance. The heat from the spicy and earthy jerk dish is mellowed out by the rich and starchy rice and peas while the cabbage and carrots add some fresh crunch and moisture to the plate. It is fragrant perfection.
Kookoo for Coconuts
People often ask me why I don’t cook with coconut oil more often or why I choose olive oil and grapeseed oil as my primary cooking oils. The reason is twofold 1) I don’t want everything I make to taste like coconuts. For some dishes, like this one, it’s very complimentary, but for others it’s just wrong and ruins the flavor profile. I’d rather use a neutral oil like grapeseed. 2) Coconuts are not local but olives and grapes are. I try to keep things as local as I can but I obviously make acceptions for things like coffee, chocolate, coconut products and other things that just aren’t available here in Southern California. So I do have coconut oil in my pantry but I use it sparingly because it comes from very far away. The coconut oil in this dish makes sense and adds great flavor and richness that harkens back to it’s Caribbean origin.
I’ve had this dish with other kinds of greens in it too, such as collards, kale, chard, mustard, etc. Feel free to play around with the veggies you use. The keys to this dish are the onions, peppers, garlic and spices. Oh and the coconut oil!
I’m so glad I went down this cullinary rabbit hole because it turns out these recipes are much easier than I thought and, like so many foods, they are much tastier when made at home. Give it a try and let me know in the comments what you think!
Adapted from Genius Kitchen
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 1 habanero pepper, stem, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 head of green cabbage, cored and chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced on the bias
- 1 Tablespoon allspice berries
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- In a spice mill or clean coffee grinder or a good blender, grind the allspice and black peppercorns into a powder.
- Over medium high heat, heat the coconut oil in a large dutch oven. Add the chopped onion, chopped habanero pepper and sliced bell peppers to the hot oil. Cook, stirring often, until the veggies are soft and onions are translucent. Add a pinch of salt.
- Add the minced garlic and stir for a couple minutes until fragrant. Then add the chopped cabbage and the sliced carrots and a large pinch of salt. Stir to get the veggies coated in the onion mixture. The cabbage should start to release some of it’s liquid. If it’s starting to brown or stick to the bottom of the pot, add a 1/4 cup of water.
- Add the allspice and black pepper powder to the pot, mix well and then reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid.
- Let the veggies steam until crisp tender, stirring occassionally. Taste the cabbage and adjust sat accordingly.