Jamaica Pepper (Pimenta dioica)
Jamaica Pepper is also known as Allspice which is the fruit from the Pimenta dioica tree. Once harvested and dried in the sun, it becomes a spice which looks similar to pepper corns. This spice has a strong aromatic flavour and can only be described as a combination of powdered cloves, powdered cinnamon and powdered nutmeg. Its aroma is also very similar to these three spices mixed together.
Allspice is a major ingredient in Caribbean cooking and an essential ingredient to Jamaican jerk seasoning. This spice is used in a whole variety of cuisines. It is very popular in middle eastern countries. In the USA it is more commonly found in desserts. In the UK it is popular to use when baking cakes as well as other dishes.
Jamaica Pepper (Allspice) is readily available online. It can be bought as whole dried fruits, which usually need to be ground to a fine powder before use unless you're pickling or using them to poach food. It is also available ground to a powder, which can come in handy bottles or jars that will fit into most spice racks.
This spice is used in many ways when cooking. It is quite versatile as its flavours go well with many foods. It can really give delicious flavours to sausages, ham, pickles, marinades, cakes, desserts and also smoked meats.
Allspice goes well with savoury dishes and is also popular with sweet dishes. Try using it in powdered form, sprinkled over potatoes and parsnips before roasting. Remember its powerful stuff and you don't need much!
I have used this spice in cooking a few dishes and it really does add delicious flavour. So I am going to add a chicken and pasta recipe to this page and hope you enjoy it.
Serves 4 - 6 people
10 chicken thighs with the skin on and the bone in
1 large carrot peeled and sliced length ways in 1/2 and then chopped
1 large onion peeled and cut into 8-10 large chunks
2 large stalk of celery trimmed and chopped
3 bayleaves (dried)
3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 litre of chicken stock
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon allspice ground powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon ground powder
400 grams tagliatelle pasta
Take a large pan and put onto a medium to high heat. Add the oil.
Take the chicken and rub the salt over the thighs and place them into the hot oil. Keep turning them until they become a light golden colour. Now add the onions, carrots. celery and the garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes while stirring it around.
Now add the chicken stock, lemon zest and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to simmer with the lid askew.
Cook for about 1 hour or until the chicken is ready to fall apart. Then remove the chicken and take the skin off and the bones out.
With the liquid that is in the pan, add the tagliatelle and cook until soft. Add more water if required but not too much!
Now add the chicken again and mix into the pasta. Season with the salt and pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy.