In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Black-eyed Peas Cook-up Rice.

Like Pelau, cook-up rice is another iconic comforting one-pot dish to come out of the Caribbean. And YES, as you move up and down the chain of islands, you’ll find variations of this dish. Our mom would do this dish with salted beef or pig’s tail, but you can do I as did and add a combination of your fav meats. I used canned coconut milk (convenience), however if you have access to freshly made coconut milk.. you’ll want to use that!

You’ll Need…

4-5 lbs chicken (cut into serving size pieces)
2 lbs salted pigtail (2 inch pieces)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 medium onion (diced)
5 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 carrot (cut into rings)
2 cups diced pumpkin
3 scallions (chopped)
5 sprigs thyme | 1 Can Black Eyed Peas
1/2 teaspoon smoked pimenton (smoked paprika)
1-2 tablespoon tomato paste concentrate
2 cups coconut milk
2+1 cups water + 1 chicken stock cube (adjust if necessary)
2 1/2 cups long grain brown par-boiled rice
3-5 pimento peppers (sliced)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
8-12 taro (dasheen) leaves

Pre-boil the salted pig tails to make them a bit more tender and to remove most of the salt. (cover with water, bring to a boil. cook for 35 minutes, drain, rinse and cool)

Place the chicken (I used dark meat – leg and thigh) and the pig’s tail in a large bowl, then add the Caribbean Green Seasoning, salt and black pepper. Mix well and set it aside.

Get your big soup pot out as this will yield a lot of food (the remains can be frozen and reheated easily).. I went with a heavy iron pot. On a medium flame, add the olive oil (feel free to use coconut oil if you prefer), then onion, scallion, fresh thyme, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling such hot peppers. Use as much of that scotch bonnet as you can handle.

Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Now add the tomato paste (non traditional) and smoked paprika and stir well (I explain why in the video below).

Heat up to medium now, then go in with the seasoned meats… the marinade too! Mix well to coat the pieces of meat with everything.

Five minutes later add the black eye peas (from a can, so I rinsed it first), pumpkin and carrot. Stir well. Then add the coconut milk and 2 cups water + chicken stock cube. Bring to a boil.

Allow it to cook on a rolling boil (reduce the heat) for about 15 minutes.

As this happens, prepare the taro leaves (use spinach if you cannot source dasheen (taro) leaves). Watch the video below to see how this is done.

Add the chopped dasheen leaves to the pot and give it a good mix. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the pimento peppers now, if you can source it and grate in the ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, then it’s time to add the rice.

Wash the rice, then into the pot. Turn the heat up, add the additional cup of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Adjust the water later if needed (add more).

Watch the video for my tip on getting this dish more creamy and additional ingredients you can add for a more spectacular cook-up rice.

25 minutes after adding the rice and you can now personalize things. Taste and adjust the salt to your liking, continue cooking if you want it more soft or turn off the stove as I did as I knew that the residual heat of this iron pot would finish off things for me.

I closed the pot, and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes before I went in for a feast!

Serve warm with sliced tomato, cucumber and a THICK slice of zabouca (avocado) and one must NOT forget the peppersauce. Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @

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  1. Kizzy
    March 6, 2024 / 5:24 pm

    Pigeon peas is missing from the list.

    • admin
      March 10, 2024 / 9:54 am

      thank you, updated.

  2. Darlene Spencer
    June 9, 2022 / 5:01 pm

    I purchased the downloadable book today6/9, and it didn’t download. I need help.

    • admin
      June 10, 2022 / 7:04 am

      I just reset the download counter and the email explaining how to download the purchase. Should you run into any further problems, use the “Contact” link above and I’ll personally make sure this is sorted out for you. Chris

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