Today is Bahamian Independence Day!
Living abroad, I miss the hustle and whir of the weeks before Independence Day. Storefronts transformed by reams of fabric, aquamarine, gold, and black. Heads adorned with patriotic weaves. Foodstore cashiers attempting to ring up groceries with fingernails rivalling any bird of prey’s majestic talons, each tip bearing the image of a tiny flag.
It’s actually hard to believe that until 1973, my home country was still considered the property of Britain. Every one in a while, if I’m really lucky, I get to meet someone who asks an awesome question like “That’s part of Britain, isn’t it?”
So in honour of my home not being someone else’s property, I’d like to share a Bahamian-inspired recipe. It uses pigeon peas, a little brown, round legume that we most often use in peas and rice. These are the only legumes I grew up having access to when they were fresh. Every once in a while, a family friend would bring by a bag of green pods, and I would be given the task of sitting at the dining table and shelling these little guys, torn between praying I wouldn’t find a worm, and hoping I would.
Along with pigeon peas, I’ve included the homey flavours of coconut milk and fresh thyme. The guest star here is lemon oregano, which is growing uninhibited and not entirely invited in the yard of our new home.
I’ve been neatly stepping around it as I water other, more familiar edibles, but sampled a leaf and found it savoury, summery, and fresh. If you can find it, toss it in. If you can’t, just stop by our yard. We have plenty.
Herbed Summer Patties
1 cup cooked potatoes
1 1/2 cup cooked pigeon peas, drained
1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup orange sweet pepper, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup oat flour (oats, blended until fine)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon oregano
1 1/4 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
2. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork.
3. Add the pigeon peas and mash into the potatoes.
4. Stir in the onions, sweet pepper, and garlic.
5. Add 1/2 cup of the oat flour, reserving the other 1/4 cup for dusting the patties.
6. Add in the coconut milk, herbs, and salt and pepper and mix until combined.
7. Form into patties, about 2.5 inches wide and one inch flat. Dust each side in oat flour, then place in a greased pan. I use my trusty cast iron skillet for the job.
8. Very lightly drizzle each patty with a little oil, then bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Carefully turn each patty, then return to the oven another 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
The finished patties are crisp on the outside, with a lovely, tender filling, thanks to the soft base of the mashed potatoes. I got savoury, ever so slightly bitter undertones from pigeon peas, balanced by fresh green onions, and sweet, herby lemony oregano.
Ours were served up with local, non-GMO summer corn, slices of juicy cucumber from my mother-in-law’s yard, and pan-fried local carrots and local nugget potatoes seasoned with garlic from our garden plot,