Ainsley Harriot's Peppy's Red Peas Stew and Dumplings

My Mum always used to use the Christmas ham bone to make up this dish, although traditionally a 1lb of salted pigs tail along with salt beef or stewing beef was used. Ham hocks work well although you could use a combination of two of the above.

500g/1lb dried red kidney beans

2 ham hocks

1 onion, finely chopped

2 stalks spring onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 green peppers, deseeded and finely sliced

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2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ dried thyme

2 bay leaves

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

1 scotch bonnet pepper

1.5 litres/3 pints light chicken stock

100g/4oz grated creamed coconut

salt and pepper

West Indian hot pepper sauce to serve, optional

Cover the beans in cold water and soak overnight.

Drain and rinse the beans. In a large saucepan, fry the onions, garlic, green pepper, thyme and bay leaves over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes until soft.

Add the drained kidney beans, ham hocks, and beef if using, tomatoes, scotch bonnet pepper, stock and creamed coconut.

Stir well to combine the ingredients.

Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer over a very low heat for 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally until the beans are soft and tender.

Be careful not to split the scotch bonnet pepper as the seeds are searingly hot.

Gently push the meat off the ham hock bone and discard the bone.

Take out the scotch bonnet pepper, and using a potato masher, crush up some of the tender beans to make the stew the required consistency.

Add the dumplings for another 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Stew Dumplings

125g/4oz plain flour

50g/2oz cornmeal

50g/2oz butter

pinch salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

pinch mixed spice

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

water to bind, approx 100 – 150mls

Mix all the dry ingredients together and bind with just enough water to make a stiff, soft dough.

Shape into walnut sized balls and add to the stew 20 minutes before the end of cooking time.