While COVID-19 might be putting a halt to get-togethers, you can still enjoy all the eats and treats that would normally be on the table with these delicious recipes for springtime on the islands.
Trinidadian Chicken Pelau
There is no dish more iconic for the island of Trinidad than chicken pelau. Typically made for large family gatherings, this delicious one-pot meal is the perfect combination of savory Caribbean flavors.
What you’ll need
- 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cups parboiled rice
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped onion
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
- 2 cups fresh or canned pigeon peas
- 2 cups canned coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper, uncut
- In a large bowl combine chicken, 1 sprig of thyme, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, salt and black pepper, then marinate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Add oil to a large, deep pot and place over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the sugar and let it caramelize to a dark brown for about two minutes in an even layer.
- Add the marinated chicken thighs to the pot and stir gently to coat with the sugar. Allow to cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir thoroughly to coat with flavor.
- Stir in the onions, sweet peppers, pigeon peas, green onion and remaining sprigs of thyme, and stir for five minutes
- Add the coconut milk and chicken stock and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Add the whole Scotch bonnet pepper, cover the pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Puerto Rican Coquito Cheesecake
This cheesecake recipe is the most delicious way to incorporate Caribbean holiday ingredients into a creamy dessert that is perfect for any time of year.
What you’ll need
For the crust:
- 2 cups graham crackers, crushed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick of butter, melted
For the filling:
- 4 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup coquito
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- To prepare the crust, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. The mixture should stay together when squeezed.
- Compress the mixture into the 9 inch pan, pressing all the way up on the sides to create a crust.
- Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
- To prepare the cheesecake, add the cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pinch of salt to a bowl and blend at a moderate speed with a hand or stand mixer until combined and smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time
- Slowly add the coquito and the cornstarch to the batter and mix until combined. Do not over mix.
- Pour the batter onto the cooled crust and bake the cheesecake for about 80 minutes, or until firm.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap or a cake cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the cheesecake from the pan and enjoy!
Frozen Piña Colada
Originating in Puerto Rico, the Piña Colada is now the island’s signature drink.
What you’ll need
- 2-3 ounces white rum
- 2 ounces coconut cream
- 1 ounces heavy cream
- ¾ cup fresh pineapple juice
- Combine all ingredients except garnish and ice in a blender and mix thoroughly.
- Add ice and mix for another 20 – 30 seconds.
- Pour into a 12 ounce glass, garnish with a fresh pineapple slice and maraschino cherry.