I have finally finished watching Gary Rhodes’ series of programmes exploring the food of the Caribbean. This dish, from Barbados, tasted as good as it looked on television and it was not too difficult to make. I have cooked with beetroot as a vegetable in a stew with success and found some lovely lamb fillet in the supermarket. The recipe needed the Bajan green seasoning (otherwise it would not be Bajan style) but it was not too difficult to make. I made a half quantity and as I was trying just a small quantity of stew have frozen half for another occasion. Another time I would make the full quantity but would recommend storing the remainder in the freezer, unless it will be used very quickly. The recipe required green bananas, which are always available in specialist food shops but sometimes they can be found in the supermarket or even on the local street market, especially in the colder months. Both the Bajan Seasoning and the Banana added a distinctive flavour to the dish that I would definitely not want to omit.
Here is a link to the original recipe for Gary Rhodes’ dish, called Blackbelly Lamb Stew and also the recipe for Bajan Seasoning. The recipes come from Rhodes around the Caribbean, which was first shown on the UKTV Good Food Channel.
Bajan Style Lamb Stew
450g/1lb Lamb, from the shoulder, cut into 4cm pieces (I used lamb fillet)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
sprig Thyme, leaves picked (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
sprig Marjoram, leaves picked (or ½ tsp dried marjoram)
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 sticks Celery, finely sliced
1 tbsp Bajan Seasoning, (see separate recipe below)
dash of pepper sauce, or Tabasco (I used ½tsp chilli powder)
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
½ tbsp Plain Flour
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
1 large raw Beetroot, peeled and diced
3 small green Bananas, cut into 3cm chunks
1 Bouquet Garni, (Bay Leaf, Thyme, Marjoram)
½ Oxo Beef Stock cube (used on television, but not online ingredient list)
1. Wash and dry the lamb. Toss with the garlic, herbs, crumbled half stock cube, onion, celery, Bajun seasoning and pepper sauce.
2. Heat a dry pan and add the sugar. Cook briefly and when it caramelises, add the lamb mixture, stir and fry very gently for a few minutes. (The cooking of the sugar should be very brief and it needs to darken but must not burn, otherwise the dish will have a bitter flavour.)
3. Add the butter and flour into the pan and mix in well. Add the carrot, beetroot, green bananas and bouquet garni (or bay leaf and a teaspoon each of dried thyme and marjoram).
4. Pour over enough boiling water to cover all the ingredients and bring back to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until meat is tender, topping up the pan with a little more water during cooking if necessary.
5. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with a little parsley if you wish.
Bajan Green Seasoning
1 Onion, chopped
small bunch Spring onions, white and green parts, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
1 red Chilli, seeds and stem removed (Scotch Bonnet/Habanero if available)
1 tbsp Thyme, leaves
1 tbsp chopped Parsley
1 tbsp chopped Marjoram
100ml/4 fl ozs White Wine Vinegar
1 Lime, juice only
1 tsp Curry powder
pinch ground Allspice
pinch ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Salt
1. Chop the onion, spring onions, garlic and chilli together finely. Use a food processor if available.
2. Add the herbs, vinegar and lime juice and mix in very well. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Cover and store. Ideally Bajan seasoning should be stored in the fridge for a week before use so that the flavours can mature. It will keep in the refrigerator for six months or can be frozen in a plastic lined ice cube tray and stored in the freezer.