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Peas And Rice In Bermuda

When Britannia ruled the waves, Bermuda was the principal base for the ships that maintained British control of the Atlantic ocean. Warships sailed forth from the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda, and returned there for repairs and resupply. The former house of the port commissioner is now a museum, and the sweeping veranda that wraps around the building offers a stunning vista of the ocean. Standing there It is easy to imagine lookouts scanning the horizon for battle scarred vessels returning to harbour.

After the second world war the naval dockyard was abandoned and fell into disrepair, but as tourism became popular in Bermuda, the port was reborn as a tourist attraction. Cruise vessels now occupy the berths that were formerly built for battleships, and the invading armies that disembark from them everyday are welcomed with open arms!

The old dockyard buildings and barracks have been converted to boutiques and restaurants. The former victualling yards, which at one time were piled high with barrels of biscuits and salt beef waiting to be loaded on ships, are now manicured lawns across which visitors stroll.

In Bermuda, you are never very far from a beach. Snorkel Park Beach with pristine, clear waters is just off the Dockyards and is ideal for snorkelling. And if you've come unprepared, there are plenty of stylish apparel shops just around the corner to outfit you! 

This area also has wonderful restaurants. Our cabbie told us to eat at The Anchor Restaurant and she did not lead us astray! The fish grilled just right, the flavourful peas and rice and the sticky pudding with rum ice cream for dessert were just fabulous. 

Peas n Rice or Hoppin' John as this dish is sometimes known, is the standard accompaniment to most Island dishes. Hearty and satisfying, it took me back to my mother's kitchen - her black eyed peas curry was legendary! Simmered for hours with tomatoes and spices, it allowed the black eyed peas to become soft, almost creamy and just bursting with flavour. I'd spoon some all over my rice and be in heaven!

Black eyed peas are a great way to add protein to your rice.  This flavourful peas and rice dish is good to eat by itself but gets even better when paired with Spiced grilled fish or Coconut curry vegetables.

Peas And Rice

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 cup each, finely chopped: celery, sweet green bell pepper, sweet red bell pepper, carrot

4 large canned plum tomatoes, lightly crushed

Salt to taste

1 tsp each: Herbes de Provence, Sherry pepper hot sauce or any hot sauce

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup cooked Black eyed peas

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup Basmati rice, washed and drained

Warm oil in deep heavy pot set over medium heat.

Add onions, garlic, thyme, celery, sweet green and red peppers and carrots. Saute until lightly browned and softened, about 7 min.

Add tomatoes, salt, herbes de Provence, hot sauce and pepper. Saute until tomatoes are slightly thickened into the sauce, about 5 min.

Add cooked black eyed peas and broth. Bring to a boil, cover reduce heat to low and cook for 20 min.

Add drained rice to pot, stirring gently to mix. Bring to a gentle boil again and then cook covered on low heat for 15-17 min until rice is fluffy and dry.

Mix gently and serve.

Serves four