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10 Great Christmas Dishes From Around The Caribbean

Christmas is a time for sharing and family, along with the celebration of Jesus’ Birthday. Wrong! Jesus was not born in December and you have the rest of the year to care. So that leaves food! Case in point Christmas is for Food! So when somebody comes to your house here are 10 dishes that will bring out the Caribbean feeling in Christmas.

10. Glazed Ham with Pineapples and Cherries 

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Glazed ham©Pulaw/Flickr

Ingredients

3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (14-pound) cooked and smoked cured ham, shank end
3/4 cup pineapple juice
20 tinned pineapple rings
1/2 cup maraschino cherries

How to Make it?
Preheat your oven to 175°C. Then put your oven rack in the middle of the oven. Get a bowl, and mix together the Dijon mustard, brown sugar, with the thyme. Put the ham in a large roasting pan, then rub the ham with mustard glaze. Pour some pineapple juice into the bottom of the pan then place the ham into the oven for 2 hours. Every 20 minutes brush the ham with pineapple juice. Remove the ham after 2 hours from the oven. Make sure it is tender. Using toothpicks, place pineapple rings around the ham and put a cherry in the center of each ring. Sprinkle the rings lightly with brown sugar and place the ham back in the oven uncovered until the pineapples turn a light golden brown. Remove from the oven then let it cool for 15 minutes, then serve.

 

9. Sorrel Cocktail 

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DCP_4721 ©stu_spivack/Flickr

Ingredients
2 litres water
180g dried red sorrel buds
120g ginger, sliced thin
Ice cubes
Sugar syrup, as needed
60ml lime juice
120ml rum (recommended: 151)

How to make it?
Boil some water, and add the sorrel and ginger. Let it boil for 45 minutes, then strain.  Add ice to a shaker. Add to the shaker about 60-90ml of strained juice, then sugar, a splash of lime juice, and a measure of rum. Shake well and then pour.

 

8. Arroz con Dulce

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Coconut rice pudding – Arroz con leche de coco ©Lablascovegmenu/Flickr

Ingredients
  • 2 cups medium or short grain rice
  • 5 14 oz cans coconut milk
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
How to make it?
Pour rice into a bowl and add water until it covers the rice by two-inches. Leave it there overnight. Then in a large pot combine four cans of coconut milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon sticks, cloves, salt, and ginger together, then boil them and let it simmer. Let steep for 15 minutes. After that, drain the rice and add to a large heavy bottom pot. Heat the pot over medium-low heat, then the coconut milk over low heat. Add four ladles of coconut milk, about two cups, to rice. Stir in the coconut milk with the rice. Continue to stir until the rice has absorbed most of the coconut milk. Continue this process one ladle at a time until you have used almost half of the coconut milk. Add the remaining coconut milk, stir until well combined and cover. Let it cook for a further on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. the final step involves you adding sugar and raisins, stir until well combined. Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until rice is tender, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom. (Add 1 – 2 ladles at a time if the rice begins to dry out until it becomes tender.) Add the remaining can of coconut milk to rice pudding and stir until well combined. Continue to cook uncovered until a creamy like a soft pudding develops. Pour pudding out on a serving platter and let cool at room temperature before serving. Sprinkle some cinnamon into the pudding.

7. Arroz con Gandules (Rice and Peas) 

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Arroz con Gandules ©Jose Kevo/Flickr

Ingredients

1½ cups GOYA® Medium Grain Rice

6 GOYA® Whole Cloves

1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

1 GOYA® Cinnamon Stick

1 tsp. GOYA® Salt

1 can (15.5 oz.) Coco GOYA ® Cream of Coconut

½ cup raisins

Whipped cream (optional)

Ground cinnamon (optional)

Berries (optional)

How to make it?

Get a medium bowl, add rice and enough water to cover the rice by 2 inches. Let the rice soak for an hour then drain it and set it aside. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat boil 4 cups of fresh water, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the spices then reserve water in a saucepan. Stir cream of coconut into reserved water then bring it to boil. Add the reserved rice and raisins. Lower heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, until rice is soft and liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Transfer rice pudding to large casserole dish; transfer to refrigerator to cool. To serve, scoop pudding onto serving plate. Serve with whipped cream, ground cinnamon, and berries, if desired.

 

 

6. Black Cake 

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fruit cake side view ©Dani Lurie/Flickr

Ingredients

½ lb butter (2 sticks), room temperature (I used organic salted butter), plus more for buttering pans
½ lb sugar (1 cup)
5 eggs, room temperature, whisked
4 oz raisins (packed 1/3 cup)
4 oz currants (about 1/3 cup)
4 oz prunes (about 1/3 cup)
4 oz mixed peel (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup cherry wine
1 cup red rum
½ lb flour (about 1 ½ cups)
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ½ tablespoons browning
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

 

How to make it?

Three days before baking, chop all the fruits and place in a large bowl. Pour cherry brandy and rum in then leave in a cool corner, covered, so that it can  soak up the alcohol.  The longer you leave it the better.

On baking day, pour the soaked fruit and remaining juices into a blender and blend until it is thick and chunky. Burn the sugar until it has caramelized and add hot water gradually. Let the mixture cool. Preheat oven to 275F  and cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in the lemon zest, almond essence, and vanilla. Then mix and sift the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and nutmeg together in a separate bowl. After that, gradually add the sifted ingredients to creamed mixture then mix in fruit base and browning prepared earlier. Pour batter into greased baking dishes and bake for 3 hours. When finished remove from the oven and soak the cake with the rum to your liking.

 

 

5. Coquito 

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Coquito For One © Ria Field/Flickr

Ingredients

2 cans (12 oz. each) GOYA® Evaporated Milk

1 can (15 oz.) Coco GOYA® Cream of Coconut

1 can(13.5 oz.) GOYA® Coconut Milk

½ cup GOYA®Sweetened Condensed Milk

½ cup white rum

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish, if desired

Cinnamon sticks

How to make it?

Add evaporated milk, cream of coconut, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum (optional), vanilla extract and ground cinnamon to in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is well combined. Should take 1-2 minutes. Pour coconut mixture into glass bottles then cover it. Place in a refrigerator to chill until cold.

 

4. Jug Jug 

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Photo courtesy: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/38280665558375967/

Ingredients
8 cups green or dried pigeon peas 1 cup guinea corn flour,1/2lb salt beef

1 cup guinea corn flour,1/2lb salt beef

1/2lb salt beef briskett or ham or other salted meat

1/4 fresh pork or chicken

2 tbs margarine,

2 medium onions chopped

a few blades chive

4-5 cups water

1 bunch fresh mixed herbs, thyme, marjoram, parsley, chives or shallots finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste.

How to make it?

 Boil the fresh meat in water and add peas and herbs. Cook until peas become soft, then strain, saving the stock. Mince all the meat and seasonings together. Cook the guinea corn in the stock for about 10 minutes stirring constantly, on a low heat, then add minced ingredients, stirring and cooking until the mixture reaches fairly stiff consistency. Cover and allow the ingredients to steam for 15 minutes. Before removing the heat, stir in the margarine (or butter).

 

3. GARLIC PORK/LAMB/BEEF/CHICKEN

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Pepper & Garlic Pork  (3)© Stuart Webster/Flickr

Ingredients :
3 lbs of 1-inch pork, or choice of meat. The meat must be one (1) inch thick; tender cuts are preferred
12 large cloves garlic
½ cup of fresh thyme leaves (stem reserved) or
2 tbsp. of dried Thyme
8-10 wiri-wiri peppers
1 ½ tbsp. sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cups of white distilled vinegar
2 cups of boiled water (brought to room temp.)
3-4 whole cloves
3 additional cloves of garlic, unpeeled
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

How to make it?

Wipe the meat clean with a damp cloth or paper towel. Make little gashes into the meat on both sides with a knife. Grind the garlic, thyme, and wiri-wiri peppers in a food processor/mortar and pestle, then pour the seasoning rub in a small bowl. Using a butter knife or your fingers, spread a generous amount to fill the small gashes in the meat. Salt and pepper both sides, reserving ½ tsp salt. Rub any left-over seasoning mixture on meat slices. Using a wide-mouthed glass jar, start by layering pieces of seasoned meat, stacking until all meat has been placed in the jar. Combine vinegar and water, and pour cautiously into the jar of layered meat until meat is covered by two inches. Gently shake the jar to distribute meat evenly, and place thyme stems and cloves in the jar. Add three cloves of unpeeled garlic, as part of the garnish, and the peppercorns. Place additional sprigs of thyme on top of the jar, or slide it down the sides. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and seal jar tightly. Store in a cool dark place (The refrigerator is not an option), let it rest for 3-5 days. After the curing period, drain meat on a rack, and discard liquid. Do not allow seasoning in the gashes to fall out. In a skillet, pour 3 tbsp. Canola oil. Pan-fry on medium heat, until nicely browned for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and serve.

 

 

2. Black English Pudding

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I had this for my tea ©Smabs Sputzer/Flickr

Ingredients

2 bottle blood (26 ozs.each)

  • 1 lb onions, finely chopped, minced
  • 1 head garlic, finely crushed
  • 1 fresh hot pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions or chives
  • ½ lb fat or 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoon salt
  • 1 dessert spoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 slice soaked bread (squeezed dry)
  • 6 yards sausage casing

How to make it?

Chop onions, peppers, garlic, chives, thyme. Chop fat very fine until it is almost a pulp. In a skillet over medium heat, melt fat or heat oil. The sauté seasonings for a couple minutes they must not be overcooked. Then remove from heat and add all other ingredients except blood. Mix well and allow it to stand until cold. Then add blood. Mix them together.

Using a big funnel, fill sausage casing to form sausages by tying end with string and every six inches or so, tying casing with a piece of string. When you have formed 6-8 sausages, again secure end with a piece of string and cut away and continue forming the sausages. Do this until all the filling is used up. Then set aside.

Line a large pan with a clean towel. Add water to about half way and place over medium heat. When water is warm, add the pudding, lower heat and allow it to cook slowly. Never allow it to boil because the pudding will burst. Check pan often and as soon as the blood is hardened; the black pudding is ready to be served. To check, prick with a pin.

 

 

1. Coconut Bread

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Coconut Bread ©Neil Conway/Flickr

Ingredients:
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh shredded coconut

How to make it?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an eight by four-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and then add the milk, vanilla, and mix until smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and coconut. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients in the large bowl and stir just until combined. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for five to ten minutes, remove loaf from pan, and let it cool.

 

Bonus Recipe:

Pastelle

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Ingredients

1 lb. minced beef
2 onions, finely chopped
1 bunch chive
1 bunch big leaf thyme
1 hot pepper to taste, finely chopped
1 pimento pepper, finely chopped
1 stalk celery
2 cloves garlic
20 leaves chadon beni
1 bunch fine leaf thyme
salt to taste
¼ cup roucou (or ketchup)
2 tbsp. capers (optional)
2 tbsp. raisins (optional)
8 olives chopped finely (optional)
Dough

2 cups yellow cornmeal (very fine)
3 cups lukewarm water
4 tbsp. vegetable oil or coconut oil
¼ lb. butter
1¼ tsp. salt

Wrapping

2 -3 large fig (banana) leaves

String to tie

Season your minced meat. Stew the seasoned meat for 15 minutes. Then add roucou or ketchup. Remove from heat and set aside. Then combine cornmeal, water, salt, and butter to make a soft pliable dough. Divide the dough into small balls. Cover them with a damp cloth to prevent drying. Strip the fig leaves from the midrib. Place the leaf over a low fire on the stove. When you notice the colour of the leaf changing move the leaf along the fire. Do not burn the leaf. When done wipe the leaves clean. Grind the green seasoning and mince the meat again. Mix the seasoning and the meat then add salt to taste, then allow to cool. Dip the balls in the oil and place on an oiled fig leaf. Place another oiled leaf  on the other side then press. Use your hands to flatten the dough. Spoon out about 2 tbsp of meat placing it in the centre of the dough. Fold the fig leaf and tie into a neat package using the string. Place in a pot of water and boil for 15-20 minutes. After it is completed, drain the water, and there you go, Pastelle! You should freeze them, if it’s not going to be eaten soon.

 

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