Hangover-proof Sunday Supper: Carribean Style

different chillis

A few weeks back I entered a competition over on The Good Mood Food Blog (check out his new book!) and I won the Carribean Food Made Easy with Levi Roots cookbook.  Delighted was I.

I had invited my sister and my dad over for a Sunday dinner – Mum was out of town and frank sinatra only knows what Dad would have eaten if I hadn’t invited him over.  It’s funny because it’s true.

I probably should have planned this nice family gathering a little better.  You see, the night before was The Irish Web Awards, wherein Niall won Best Music Site which lead to much merriment of the alcohol-induced variety.

It’s a testament to the easiness and downright awesomeness of this recipe that my family were even fed at all.  I was a total hungover lummox during the entire cooking process.  I had forgotten breaking my measuring cup a few days earlier so I had to just use a mug for measuring, I started frying stuff before I’d chopped everything, rubbed my eye after chopping chilli, dropped my knife loads etc – yet the end result was magic.

I’ve found a new favourite easy-dinner-to-cook-for-friends recipe.  You should totally try it out.  It cooks itself.

What you need for Levi Roots’ Puerta Rican Chicken & Rice for 4

175g (6oz) of Basmati Rice

3 tbsp sunfloewr or groundnut oil (I just used olive oil, too hungover)

8 chicken pieces (a mixture of thighs and drumsticks – I ended up with ten pieces)

2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning (I didn’t have any so I used mild chilli powder instead)

salt and pepper

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

1 green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

6 allspice berries, crushed

1 1/2 tsp tumeric

2cm piece of root ginger, finely chopped

1 hot red chilli (ideally Scotch bonnet) sliced into thin rings, seeds left in if YOU’RE MENTAL (I just finely chopped my Scotch bonnet and took those seeds out yesssir)

600ml (1 pint) chicken stock

3 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

100g pitted green olives, ideally stuffed with pimento (I used those crappy ones that come in a jar, absolutely perfect for this recipe)

lime wedges, to serve

So, Dad and Niamh my sister, were due over to the flat at 6pm.  Luckily, being related to them, I knew that they would no doubt be late.  After pulling myself away from Come Dine With Me, I finally got out of bed at 5pm and headed around the corner to the wonderful Asian Food Co on Mary Street, where I knew I could get all of the ingredients I needed and an all important Ginger Beer for sustenance.

I got my chicken in Asian Food Co and it was frighteningly cheap.  I got ten pieces for €2.70.  God knows where the poor chickens came from.  Hangovers make me really selfish.

I got the lovely Scotch bonnet chillies there too.

scotch bonnet chilli

Scotch bonnet chillies – lovely and spicy and also lovely as Christmas tree decorations. Honestly!

So, here’s what you do:

Wash the rice in a large bowl, changing the water until it runs clear (I made an awful mess of this).

Heat your oil in a casserole (30cm/12in in diameter) or use a heavy based frying  pan.

Put your chicken in a bowl and rub with all-purpose seasoning (I used about a teaspoon of chilli powder here and it was grand) and season with salt and pepper.

Now brown your chicken in your casserole – don’t cook them through just start them off a bit.  Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees C/gas mark 5/375 degrees F.

Now it’s time to start off your veggies.  It would really help if you had everything organised and chopped beforehand, especially if you have a sore head.

In the same pan that you’ve been frying your chicken, fry over a medium heat your onion, peppers and garlic, until the peppers are softening.  Add the allspice, turmeric, ginger and chilli and cook for a minute, stirring.  It’ll be quite dry due to the turmeric but try not to panic as I did.  It’ll be all right.

Now you can put your chicken back into your casserole dish.  (If you don’t have a casserole dish, transfer everything, including the chicken into an oven proof baking dish, about 30 cm in diameter.  It has to be big enough to have everything on one layer.)

Add the rice and the chicken stock to your casserole/baking dish.  Pop in your thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

uncooked with stock

Yes, yes, I’m aware how vile this looks – don’t let it put you off!  This dish was bleedin’ lovely.

Pop it all in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.  That’s it.

Seriously.  That’s it.

Don’t touch it, don’t stir it around.  Nothing.  Just leave it.

About 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, add your green olives.  I forgot and just added them in at the very end and it was grand.

After 40 minutes, take it out and check that the chicken has cooked.  Pierce the thickest piece and if the juices run clear, it’s good to go.  It’ll be all nice and almost-burnt at the top too.

finished pot

Again, not a great pic.  I blame de hangover.

I got four plates, four forks, plopped the pot in the middle of the table with a big spoon and that was it.  As I’ve said before, I’m not a great fan of chicken, but this dish was really lovely – very juicy and moist, because of being cooked in all the stock.  The rice was really lovely as well, and with the squeezing of lime juice over the top, it was a perfect Sunday night dinner.  Or any night dinner for that matter.  Try this one!

finished on plate

ANY excuse for a bit of Billy Ocean and you know I’m all over it.  Here’s Carribean Queen by the man himself.  Cheesetastic!

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  1. That looks — and sounds — bleedin’ amazing.

  2. By the way, this Xmas, I’m trying out your suggestion of using a Scotch Bonnet. Let’s see what the Swedes make of that! Ha!

  3. Can I be so bold to recommend some chocolate habanero chilli….They are sweet and hot and god damn wonderful chillis…..

  4. Hey Benjamin – seriously, you and Anna have to try this one. It cost less than a tenner and it was just gorgeous. Lovely lovely stuff. Definitely try the peppers on the swedes! They’ll probably like it.

    Hey Manuel! Chocolate Habanero chilli sound intriguing! I wonder where I’d find them in Dublin? Fallon & Byrne or the food market probably….any idea?

  5. 1 hot red chilli (ideally Scotch bonnet) sliced into thin rings, seeds left in if YOU’RE MENTAL (I just finely chopped my Scotch bonnet and took those seeds out yesssir)


  6. Hah ChrisD! I don’t care if you call me a wuss, I’m not good with the chillis. I try to be but it burns!

  7. congratulations to niall, and that dish sounds fantastic. I love that there are olives plus all of the interesting spices and topped with lime juice. That’s just got to be delicious.

  8. Hi Foodhoe – the pics don’t really do it justice but it was really yum. And sooooo easy. I honestly can’t wait to make it again! Thanks for the congrats :)

  9. Looks Good. Yum.

    Even better with Billy Ocean.

  10. By the way, Billy Ocean is the under-rated equal of Michael Jackson, in my humble opinion. “Caribbean Queen” is one of those songs that came out when my mom drove a taxi, and I was always in the back listening and singing along to the radio.

  11. Did it. It’s amazing.

    • Oh yay! Just saw your reply now. So glad you guys liked it too. So easy and so yum right? Ok. I’m making it again tomorrow, post haste! Just thinking about all the lovely flavours and the easiness of it makes me impatient to be eating it again!

  12. yum yum yum! i love your use of the word grand. what a word. I live around the corner from that shop too so this means i have no excuse not to try making this dish! delissssssh.

    • Thanks! It’s a great Sunday supper, very easy to make and massively rewarding in taste :)

  13. This is a Levi Roots receipe, buy his books they are good too.
    Curried goat is another great receipe, you can’t get goat really, so mutton will be just as good.