Scotch bonnet chilis

J is for Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup

 

Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup - ingredients

So I admit that there’s only a small ingredient in this recipe beginning with J (Jerk sauce). However the recipe this week is particularly appealing for several reasons: it’s hearty and warming, requires minimal effort AND there is only one pan for washing up. You can’t ask for better than that. It’s also vegetarian friendly.

Scotch bonnet chilis Yellow split lentils Sweet potatoes - chopped

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli
  • 125g yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme, plus extra to sprinkle (dried will suffice if thats all you have in).
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 260g sweetcorn
  • 1 can (160ml) coconut cream
  • 400g sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 1cm diced pieces
  • 2 tsp  Jerk paste

Recipe:

  1. In a large saucepan gently fry the chopped onion for 5 minutes or so to soften. Add a pinch of salt to reduce the chances of it burning. Add the chopped garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Make a slit in the chilli (to allow some of the heat and flavour to escape) and add to the pan with the split peas, thyme and stock. Be careful to wash your hands after handling the Scotch Bonnet – it’s hot!
  3. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover and cook very gently for 35 minutes or until the peas are very tender (you should be able to mash them against the side of the pan).
  4. Lift out the chilli and discard. Blend the soup using a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth.
  5. Reserve 2 tbsp of the coconut cream and then add the rest to the pan with the sweetcorn, sweet potato and jerk paste. Cook over a low-medium, covered with a lid, for a further 20 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.
  6. To serve, ladle into bowls, drizzle with the reserved coconut and scatter with extra thyme.

Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup

 

Jamaican corn and sweet potato soup

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Roast Duck - serving

D – mid-week roast Duck

It is true, roasting meat does take a long time to do, but I promise this dish takes literally minutes of preparation and then you can leave it to do its thing until it’s ready to eat (if you don’t mind the waiting). I had a couple of friends (“handy volunteers” as they called themselves) round for dinner mid-week. They normally finish work slightly later than me, so this was perfect.

In this recipe for Roast duck with thyme, I use duck legs (including the thigh). This does not compromise on flavour (compared with duck breast) and is cheaper too. You can of course use duck breasts if you wish, just make sure they have the skin on too. You won’t need any extra fat/oil in this meal, as there’s already plenty in the duck, which oozes out, permeating the potatoes and makes everything golden crisp.

Roast Duck - serving

 

 

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 1.5 – 2 hours

Ingredients:

  • duck thighs – one per person
  • baking potatoes – one per person
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salad leaves
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil (for the salad dressing)
  • 1 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • A spritz of lemon juice
  • Salt
  • A few turns of pepper

Roast duck - prepped for the oven

 

Recipe:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Put the duck thighs in a large roast dish – you’ll need one with nigh sides as lots of duck fat will ooze out. If you don’t have a large enough dish, split over two.
  2. Chop the baking potatoes (skins left on, but given a quick wash) into 2cm squares and scatter around the legs, so they’re a snug fit.
  3. Sprinkle over a large pinch of salt and coupe of turns of freshly ground pepper. Top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and put in the oven and leave to cook.
  4. After an hour of cooking, I usually take it out for a minute and turn the roasting potatoes around to ensure they’re evenly coated in the duck fat and juices. I also put the oven up to 200° C for the last half and hour of cooking to ensure everything is extra crispy. If it needs a little bit longer, leave it in the oven until it’s crisp enough for you.

Roast duck - fresh from the oven

 

I served my duck and potatoes with some shop-bought salad leaves (mid-week time saving). In a small bowl I make a dressing, by whisking together olive oil, cider vinegar, a spritz of lemon and a small pinch of salt.

This could not be easier to make, and I’ve yet to find anyone who can resist duck!

Making the salad dressing