Pigeon peas, saffron and artichoke hearts. W/ jerk-spiced roti

pigeon peas and roti

When I was in college, I used to meet my brother (and best friend) every Thursday night at the Jamaican Delight restaurant. We’d both spent some time away…he’d been in Italy and Minnesota, I’d been at Oxford. We’d both had some rough times, and now we were back in the city across from our home town. It had always seemed like a last resort, but now…it seemed magical! It smelled sweet (turns out there’s a candy factory there!), the people were wonderful, we both had remarkable mentorish teachers, the possibilities were dizzying. So we’d meet every Thursday night, and talk about everything that was important to us, then, in our early twenties…when everything is important. We’d go across the street to Spirit Mart, buy one beer each, and order the same thing every time…vegetarian delight, vegetable roti, plantains (if they had them) and grape nut ice cream.

The other day I bought some plantains, because I remembered loving them, and I thought my boys might like them, too. Then, of course, I had to try to make some roti. And somehow pigeon peas fit into this picture. So I asked my husband what would be nice with pigeon peas. He consulted his inner culinary genius and said, how about saffron and artichoke hearts. Wellawella! What a good idea that turned out to be! So I made a spicy, brothy mix of pigeon peas and art hearts. Some basmati rice. Some fried plantains. And I made some roti, but not the kind you can wrap around vegetables, like we used to have at the old Jamaican Delight. Since I had the oil all heated up for the plantains, I decided to drop the roti in there. Oh, yum! And I had flavored the dough very subtly with jerk seasonings, viz: thyme, allspice and cayenne. Okay, that’s my version of jerk seasonings. Nice though! It was a really fun meal to eat, with lots of little parts that added up to taste well together.

Here’s The Jerk, by the Clarendonians.
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