A Caribbean Christmas – Part II

lambi-haiti-dish
Stewed Lambi.
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lambi-haiti-dish
Stewed Lambi.

By Minna LaFortune

News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Weds. Dec. 23, 2015:  Christmas is finally here and as I wrote in my last article, for Caribbean nationals, it is excitement and merriment until New Years Day in the homes of all Caribbean Nationals who celebrate the holidays!

The excitement and merriment starts increasing on Christmas Eve! This is of course after the multitude of office parties and surprise get togethers, church services and Christmas cantatas and plays,

The special dishes that you will find in  homes will be the tastiest and most delicious you will find anywhere in the world! The biggest feast and merriment will begin on Christmas Eve into Christmas and New Years Day!

For Spanish and French Caribbean nationals, including those living in the Diaspora – Puerto Ricans and Dominicans mostly, they will be feasting on pickled bananas, yuca, tamales, pernill , Coquito, Plain Cakes and beers while the Haitians will partake of  Black rice, Red rice& Peas, griot, lambi (stewed Conch), Creamy potato and red beets salad, baked ham with pineapple and cherries, Lasagna, Creme, Haitian Rum and Haitian Cake.

It should be noted, because of the fact that there are so many Caribbean nationals that have intermarried in the Diaspora, each major meal will reflect the mixed influences. For example, you will find influences of Haitian cuisine in my menus.

Among the English-speaking Caribbean for the most part, the large feastings will include Christmas Souse, Black pudding, honey Baked ham with Pineapple and cherries,  escoveitched fish, special Breads like sweet breads and of course black cake, eggnog and rum punch. Parties and every get together will undoubtedly continue into Christmas morning , which will be greeted with a large breakfast  consisting of Johnny cakes,  bakes, liver with onions, kidney with bacon , scrambled eggs, bacon, corn flakes and milk, slices of ham, steak and onions,  calaloo and cod fish, hard dough bread, hominy corn  porridge , Ackee  and Saltfish, salted mackerel with green bananas and roast breadfruit, fried sweet plantains, boiled yellow yam, boiled dumplings and Steam fish and pepper pot washed down with chocolate tea, coffee, English tea, Milo, Ovaltine or Horlicks. Breakfast menus will invariable continue into lunch.

Dinner will usually consists of the following dishes: Roast beef, potato salad, rice and peas, curried goat, stewed fowl, jerk chicken, jerk pork, pot roast pork shoulder, roast turkey, green salad, macaroni pie, yellow  Yam balls, potato au gratin.

For my personal festivities on Christmas Eve, my Dinner menu is as follows:

Spicy Fish Tea

Cubed honey baked ham

Carrots , Cabbage and Lettuce Salad with mint dressing

Baked chicken legs stuffed with bacon and breadcrumbs

Haitian  Pork Griot

Roasted leg of Goat with Scotch Bonnet /red onions

Jelly Black Rice with cashew and baby Lima Beans

Dessert

Black Cake with creamy rum sauce

Blue mountain  Demi Tass Coffee

Rum Punch/ Port Wine/ Eggnog/Sorrell

Christmas Morning Breakfast Menu

Spicy Shad with sautéed grape tomatoes and sweet peppers

Firm young Green Bananas

Sautéed onions and goat liver

Fried dumplings

Roast Breadfruit boats stuffed with Ackee and Salfish

Fried Sweet Plantains

Steam Okra/ Pack Choy with garlic and olive oil

Steam Doctor Fish Jamaican hard dough bread

Coco tea/ mint tea/ coffee/Milo/Lemonade

Christmas Dinner Menu

Pepper Pot Soup

Five Spice Parsley, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas salad with honey mustard dressing

Pot Roasted Pork Shoulder

Spicy Fricassee of Rooster Or (Coq au Vin)

Roast Beef and vegetables (Carrots, Celerey, Brussels sprouts)

Lambi (Stewed Conch) in tomato sauce

Green Pigeon Rice and Peas

Hot Sweet Yellow Yam Cakes/ butter

Creamy Potato with beets salad

Honey Baked Ham

Dessert

Mango Ice Cream, Pineapple Upside down Cake, Black Cake , cassava pone

Blue Mountain coffee

Sorrel, Rum punch, Port Wine, Fruit Punch

I will now share my recipe for Hot Sweet Yellow Yam Cakes and Lombi(Stewed Conch):

Hot Sweet Yellow Yam Cakes

yamcakes-jamaica

Ingredients:

2 pounds of Fresh yellow yam

3 whole Eggs beaten

10 oz of melted salted butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white ground pepper

3/4 cup Condensed Milk

1/2 Heavy Cream

1/4 Tsp nutmeg

1 medium  white onion chopped

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheet with butter.

Peel and boil yellow yam until cooked.

Remove from water

Heat drain and add 8oz melted butter, nutmeg  and cream.

Crush yam and ingredients until creamy.

Allow to cool at room temperature.

Add condense milk and eggs.

Mix thoroughly.

Form mixture into ball, press slightly between palm.

If mixture is too wet add a little flour to make it manageable.

Place cakes on a greased cookie baking sheet.

Brush with melted butter.

Bake for 30-40 mins. until golden brown.

Makes 8-10 cakes

Serve hot with butter!

Lambi (Stewed Conch)

Ingredients:

1 (5lb) box of conch (lambi)

1 lime and sour orange, juiced

1 tsp of garlic powder

1/2 tsp of thyme

1 tsp of black pepper

1 scotch bonnet pepper

1 tbsp of Adobo seasoning salt

1 Maggi chicken bouillon cube

1 tsp of baking soda

1/2 cup of olive oil

1 cup tomato paste

4 large onions, diced

6 small shallots diced

1 gallon of boiling water

1 sprig of thyme

Method

Using a meat mallet, pound the conch until tenderized.

Clean the meat thoroughly with the lime and/or sour orange juice.

Season well.

Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Using a pressure cooker, place the meat and half of the  tomato paste, shallots, onions and  oil into the cooker and allow the conch meat and seasonings  to cook for  30-45 minutes.

Do not burn.

Add hot water to provide moisture as needed.

After 30-40 minutes, add  1 gallon boiling water, covering meat and close cover securely with regulator in place.

Cook for an hour until the meat is tender.

Lower the fire and add the rest of the onions and shallots, tomato paste and pepper to taste. Stir the meat and combine all ingredients.

Add thyme minutes before it is finished.

Serves 6-8

Eat, Drink, Pray, together and have a Merry, Merry Caribbean Christmas and  a Happy Kwanza!

 

minna-la-fortune
EDITOR’S NOTE: Minna LaFortune is a trained Caribbean caterer and also president, Society for the Advancement of the Caribbean Diaspora (SACD). Check out her food group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/bestfoodscaribbean/

 

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