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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vegetable Rundown

English: The Jamaican national dish of ackee a...
English: The Jamaican national dish of ackee and saltfish. Side dish-fabulous cole slaw! Ackee is a fruit, but tastes like scrambled eggs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Juvy S. Iliwiliw

"Rundown" (also called "oiled down" or "oil dong") is a classic stew served throughout the islands, often using saltfish or mackerel. Stories proliferate as to where the term comes from, but Jamaicans say "cook it down" when they mean to cook something for a long time. This vegetarian take is luxurious and satisfying.
You can serve this vegetable rundown as a side dish or over rice as an entree'.


You will need:

1   medium eggplant (1 to 1¼ pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1   teaspoon salt

1   tablespoon vegetable oil
2   cups chopped onion

¾  cup chopped green onions, divided
3   large fresh thyme sprigs
2   garlic cloves, chopped
1   teaspoon ground allspice
½ Scotch bonnet chile or habanero chile, seeded, minced (½ teaspoon)
1  13½- to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1  14-ounce red-skinned sweet potato (yam), peeled, cut into ¾-inch pieces
2   carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
1   green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1   cup (or more) water
4   cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (from about ¼ large head)
2   cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn) or 2 cups frozen corn kernels
8   fresh okra pods, trimmed (optional)

Here's how:

Place eggplant in colander set over bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand 20 minutes. Rinse and drain.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, ½ cup green onions, thyme, garlic, allspice, and chile; saute until onions are tender, about 8 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer 3 minutes. Add sweet potato, carrots, bell pepper, and 1 cup water and bring to simmer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until  vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add eggplant, cabbage, corn, and  okra, if desired, to vegetable mixture. Add enough water to partially cover vegetables. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender and mixture is thick and creamy, stirring often and adding more water by ¼ cupfuls if liquid is too thick, about 15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer stew to bowl; sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup green onions and serve.

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