This recipe is loosely based on a dish my great-grandmother would make for my dad. While I never had the chance to meet her, nor ‘taste her hand”, I feel I know her just from the stories my dad would tell us. From a baby to his teen years dad lived with my great grandparents in Tabaquite, Trinidad and Tobago. So his childhood (and the stories he tells us) are based on that carefree time in his life, living on a cocoa and coffee estate.
1/2 large cabbage (chopped)
1/2 – 3/4 lb salted pork (diced)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (smashed)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (sliced thin)
3 sprigs thyme
1/4 bell pepper (diced)
Important! If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Additionally you can use smoked turkey, bacon, pancetta etc if you cannot source salted pork. And remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling hot peppers, such at the Scotch Bonnet.
Soak the pork for a few hours in cool water to remove the excess salt (try to drain and repeat if you remember), then dice into 1 cm cube pieces.
In a wide pot on a medium high heat, add the olive oil followed by the cubed salted pork and stir well. Cook on medium. Five minutes later (should have rendered and gained some color) add the onion, thyme, garlic and Scotch Bonnet pepper. Do not include any seeds of the pepper as that’s where most of the heat will be.
Note: If you wanted to add 1/2 teaspoon curry powder here, it will add another delicious layer of flavor. Dad mentioned that my great-grandfather didn’t like curry so it was never added. 3-4 Minutes later add the black pepper and the washed/chopped cabbage.
Stir well. It will wilt down so don’t fret when you see it piling up in the pot. Place the lid on the pan, to allow for some steam.
I allowed it to cook for 4 minutes with the lid on, then I added the diced bell pepper and stirred. Now with the lid off, it took 2 minutes to get to the texture I like (slight crunch).
Taste for salt (the remaining salt in the pork should be enough) and cook to your liking.
Serve warm! Treat it a side dish… for me it’s either plain rice or hot roti.
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