Caribbean Christmas recipes might just be what you need this year to “liven up” your dinner table and add some variety to your holiday season.
Finally, it’s that time of year again! Time to break out the holiday decorations, light that “warm apple crisp” candle (or cinnamon spice, perhaps?) and shell out some extra cash for some gifts for those you love.
But…there’s also another big decision to make…
What will you cook for Christmas dinner this year?
Whether you’re cooking for just a few family members, or for the whole 24-member clan, you probably want to make something extra-special.
And yes, you could just make the same meal you made last year, but where’s the fun in that? Why not try something a bit different this year?
Caribbean Christmas Recipes
We’ve scoured our files for the tastiest recipes out there–ones that will truly give you a taste of a “Caribbean Christmas”. Don’t worry, these recipes are easier than you might think. They don’t use ingredients that require trips to 5 different grocery stores in order to find obscure spices or vegetables, either.
And by the way– you don’t have to actually be from the Caribbean, or be of Caribbean descent to have an appreciation for the goodness that is Caribbean cooking. Just like there are a lot of Chinese food fans out there, and some families make “Mexican” or “Italian” food on a regular basis, Caribbean cuisine has quite the following!
However, maybe it’s not as widespread as say, Italian food. All the more reason to introduce it to your Christmas party guests, then!
1. Ponche de Creme (or, Punch Ah Creme) from Trinidad
Love it or hate it, eggnog will forever be a part of Christmas. But here’s a version that we would say is even better than eggnog! It’s well-loved by folks from Trinidad, Grenada, and a few other Caribbean countries. Just one sip, and it will take you back to those breezy days of your Caribbean vacation (or help you imagine what one would be like).
- 6 eggs or pasteurized egg product (this is a great substitute for using raw egg)
- 1 1/2 cups of rum
- 2 teaspoons of lime zest
- 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup of canned evaporated milk
- 1 Tbsp aromatic bitters
- a pinch of fresh nutmeg (grated)
- Beat the eggs or egg product with the lime zest with an electric mixer.
- Add the condensed milk while you mix.
- Then add the evaporated milk, continue to mix.
- Add rum, bitters, and nutmeg. Stir.
- Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, then serve.
2. Jug-Jug from Barbados
Jug-Jug is said to be the Barbados version of Scottish Haggis. Scottish immigrants arrived in Barbados in the 1600’s, and their cuisine was most likely woven into Barbados culture during that time. Today, Jug-Jug is commonly served at Christmas time.
- 1/2 lb. salted beef
- 1/4 lb. pork, ham or chicken
- 1 cup guinea flour (corn flour)
- 8 cups of pigeon peas
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 cups of water
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 Tbsp. mixed herbs (chives, thyme, marjoram, parsley)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut up the meat into small pieces.
- Boil the pork, ham, or chicken in water.
- When the pork, ham or chicken is tender, add the salted meat, peas, onion, and herbs.
- When the meat and peas are cooked and soft, strain them out. Save the water to use as stock.
- Add the guinea flour to the stock, cook for about 10 minutes. Stir constantly.
- Blend in the meat and peas in an electric blender.
- Add the meat and peas mixture to the pot of guinea flour and cook on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes. Stir in half the butter.
- Serve the jug-jug when it has a stiff consistency, which the other half of the butter.
Some families serve jug-jug with sliced chicken, pork, or ham.
3. Jamaican Jerk Turkey
Try this recipe out for turkey with a twist! It’s great with cranberry sauce or the Caribbean alternative–sorrel chutney– on the side.
- 12-16 lb. turkey
- 2 cups wet jerk seasoning or marinade
- 4 tsp salt
- Remove the innards from the turkey. Then clean and dry it.
- Cover the turkey with jerk seasoning, inside and out.
- Cover it with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Three hours before cooking the turkey, take it out of the fridge and salt it. Let it sit out until it reaches room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 260C /500F.
- Grease a roasting pan with oil, and place the turkey in the pan. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath.
- Put the turkey in the oven. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 130C / 265F.
- Turn the turkey over after 1 hour.
- Bake for 2 to 2.5 hours. Take the turkey’s temperature at its deepest part to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. The temperature should be 70 C/ 161 F. Remove from the oven and let sit for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
4. Conkies from Barbados
After a hearty Caribbean meal, it’s time for some dessert! This recipe is probably unlike most of the cakes and pastries you may have baked in the past. Conkies are made with ingredients that already remind of us holiday meals, like pumpkin and sweet potato.
- 2 cups of corn flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp almond essence
- 3/4 lb grated pumpkin
- 1/2 lb grated sweet potato
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6 oz. melted butter
- 3/4 lb brown sugar
- 4 oz. raisins
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- Wax paper or fresh banana leaves
- Mix the corn flour, pumpkin, sweet potato, salt, spices, raisins, flour, coconut, and sugar together.
- Add the butter, egg, and milk and mix with your hands until the mixture reaches a thick consistency. Add flour or milk to achieve the desired texture if needed.
- Cut the wax paper or banana leaves into 8 inch squares.
- Carefully spoon about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each square, and fold up the squares around the mixture.
- Steam the conkies for about an hour or until they are firm.
- Allow them to cool before tasting!
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