Caribbean Christmas Recipes

Traditional Caribbean Christmas recipes

Illustration by Shalini Seereram

Sorrel

Very traditional drink at Christmas, when this bushy shrub, a hibiscus relative, bears its fruit.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh sorrel (or 1/4 lb. dry sorrel)
  • 3–5 whole cloves
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon,
  • or cinnamon powder (to taste)
  • 1–2 lbs. white sugar
  • Bay leaf (optional)

Method

Put sorrel and spices in large saucepan and pour boiling water into the pan, enough to cover fresh sorrel (or, with dry sorrel, three inches above the sorrel). Cover, then place over heat for a few minutes, just enough to bring it to a low simmer. Remove from heat and let steep overnight. Strain, then add sugar, sweetening to taste. Bottle, putting a clove in each, then cap and let stand (you may need to refrigerate to keep it from fermenting) for four days or so. Serve over ice.

 

Ponche de Creme

Very popular at Christmas time. A drink that sneaks up on you!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 4 eggs
  • 14 1/2  fl. oz. condensed milk
  • Angostura bitters
  • Grated nutmeg (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

Combine the rum, milk, eggs, essence and lime juice in a blender. Sprinkle on a few drops of Angostura bitters. Add grated nutmeg. Serve chilled.

 

FROM BARBADOS

Jug-Jug

This is a traditional Christmas recipe believed to be adapted from the Scottish dish haggis.

Ingredients

  • 4 pints fresh green peas
  • 1/4 pint guinea corn flour (powdered ground corn)
  • 1 pint water
  • 1/2 lb. salt beef
  • 1/2 lb. salt pork or ham
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 bunch chopped seasoning
  • Dab of butter (1 teaspoon)

Method

Boil peas and meat until cooked (when soft). Strain off the liquid and set aside. Mince the meat and peas together. Put stock from peas and meat in small pot and cook with seasonings for five minutes. Then add the guinea corn flour, blending in rapidly with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and cook slowly for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Drop in a dab of butter just before removing from heat. Serve hot with sliced ham and turkey.

 

Sisy’s Green Peas and Rice*

An old-time traditional Christmas dish. As Sisy herself says, “It don’t be a Christmas unless you got green peas and rice.”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 cups pigeon peas
  • 4 oz. salt meat
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 sprig thyme

Method

Boil peas with salt meat in the water for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle in rice and herbs; add salt only if the salt meat does not give off enough flavour. Boil until finished (when liquid is gone). Drop in butter, stir it in and leave to finish “drying out”. Serve hot. Serves about eight.

*Recipe compliments Sisy Kellman

 

Cassava Pone

A popular Christmas dish common to other islands.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. grated cassava
  • 8 oz. grated coconut
  • 8 oz. white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 2 oz. melted butter
  • 2/3 cup water or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Blend all ingredients together (mixture will be soft). Pour into a buttered two-quart casserole dish and bake for about 60 minutes until firm and brown. Allow to cool before cutting. Cut into three-inch squares.

From The Taste that Changed the World, by The House of Angostura, available at all leading bookstores in Trinidad and Tobago

Christmas Plum Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. raisins
  • 8 oz. currants
  • 2 oz. orange/lime rind
  • 4 oz. softened butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 cup rum

Method

Put fruit in bowl and add bread crumbs and spices; mix well. Cream the butter and gradually beat in eggs, essence and rum. Stir mixture into the dry ingredients then add sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir again. Pour mixture into a greased pudding-bowl and cover with two layers of greaseproof paper and a layer of aluminium foil. Steam for three to four hours in a large saucepan (double boiler) with boiling water. Top up with extra water if necessary. Turn pudding out into a heated serving dish,  pour warm brandy or rum over the pudding and immediately set alight, then serve with butter rum sauce on the side.

Butter Rum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons aged rum or cognac
  • Method

Cream together butter or margarine and icing sugar until light and creamy, then beat in brandy. Chill well and serve with plum pudding. 

Light Christmas Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1/12 cup skimmed milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted margarine
  • 3 tablespoons Angostura  bitters
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 5 1/2 oz. flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low-calorie sweetener
  • 5 oz. mixed dried fruit

Method

Pour milk over breadcrumbs and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Stir in margarine, Angostura bitters and essence. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in sweetener and dried fruit. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined. Coat a pudding-bowl with cooking spray and pour in mixture. Cover with foil and tie down with a string. Place in a large saucepan and pour in hot water until halfway up the sides of the pudding-bowl. Bring to the boil, place the lid on the saucepan and simmer for 90 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with custard. Serves six.

From The Taste that Changed the World, by The House of Angostura, available at all leading bookstores in Trinidad and Tobago