//Mum’s roast chicken with rice and peas.

Mum’s roast chicken with rice and peas.

During the first phase of the lockdown, I was asked about my favourite comfort food. The only thing I could think of was this.  I don’t cook it very often, but it’s a traditional meal you look forward to on a Sunday in a Jamaican household.

This came to mind because of the word ‘comfort.’ Comfort to me, elevates pain, replaces it with enjoyment and pleasure. Plus, it’s something I used to regularly enjoy. With my mother passing away at the end of January’20, I see this as a tribute to her.

The way she taught me was to use a little bit of this and a pinch of that. I now cook it adding my interpretation, but for you, I’ve tried to find recipes to help just in case you wanted a go yourself.

The first thing I start with is preparing the peas on a Saturday night for Sunday morning.  The recipe below is enough for four people.  But generally, I cook 250g of dried kidney beans, black-eyed peas and gungo peas and freeze them in batches, to use when I need them. Because of that, I add my coconut cream/milk, salt and pepper to the deforested peas when I add my rice. 

If you want to cut corners, you could add tinned kidney beans, gungo peas etc. (at stage 9) to your rice. 

What is your comfort food?

Rice and peas

Basmati rice
Basmati rice

400g of dried kidney beans

2 scallions

4 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

1 Scotch bonnet (optional)

Salt and black pepper


Seasoning all (optional)

600g rice basmati or long grain

60g coconut cream or 400ml coconut milk.


1.    The first thing we used to do on a Saturday night was to pick through the peas and soak overnight in cold water.

2.    In the morning, rinse the peas and drain. 

3.    Add coconut milk or coconut cream.


4.  Add thyme and chopped scallion.

5.    Add garlic (slightly bruised, salt and pepper.

6.    Add fresh water approx. 5cm above the peas.

7.    Boil and then simmer until soft (approx. 1hr).

8.    While the peas are cooking pick through the rice and rinse.

9.    Add rice to the soft peas.

10.   Add more water, (if necessary) stir and place optional Scotch bonnet on top.

11.   Bring back to the boil and simmer (medium heat and covered) (Approx. 20mins). Stir once or twice.

12.  Add a small amount of water, salt and pepper if needed and stir.

13.  Cook until the rice is soft and remove Scotch bonnet before serving.

Cooked mixed beans

Roast chicken


165g/2kg whole chicken

Seasoning (optional) I used a combination of turmeric, cumin and jerk seasoning.

2/3 chopped cloves of garlic


Prepared chicken


Cooking time: 45 mins per Kg, plus 20mins 

Gas 6 

Fan: 180 degrees

Electric: 200 degrees


Saturday night:

1.    Prepare chicken for the oven.

2.    Place chicken in roasting tin or dish.

3.    Rub the chicken with your choice of seasonings.

4.    Cover with chopped garlic, salt and pepper.

5.    Cover dish with greaseproof paper and or cling film.

6.    Place chicken in the fridge overnight.


7.    Take the chicken out of the fridge and bring to room temperature.

8.    Preheat oven.

9.    Place chicken in an ovenproof dish. Cover with greaseproof paper or foil and place in the oven. Make sure to give yourself enough time to be ready when the rice and peas are ready.

10.    165g – 2kg chicken takes 2 – 21/2 hours to roast. Unwrapping it for the last 10-15mins.

11.    Remove from the oven, checking that it’s cooked evenly through.

12.    Leave to stand while preparing your gravy, if desired.

13.    Serve with rice and peas along with your choice of vegetables.

14.    Enjoy.

Roast chicken, rice and peas with green beans.

©2021 Sharon RM Stevens