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Under the Apron Strings: Island Peas and Rice

Hopetown, Elboy Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

The Bahamas are my and Alton’s spot of heaven. We traveled there after we got married some 15 years ago and just a few weeks ago, we returned to find a little bit of heaven amidst a wild year.

Perhaps our favorite place in the Bahamas are the Abaco Islands. We were unable to return to them on our most recent trip, as Hope Town and the Islands are still recovering from Hurricane Dorian in 2019 but we have many fond memories there – from the scenic views to the delicious food, to the lovely people. A recipe I fell in love with whilst staying in the Abaco Islands is taken from Lady Brown’s Bahamian Cookbook, a gift that Alton purchased for me from the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum Gift Shop in Hope Town.

Hope Town

Every entree is served with peas and rice, one of our favorites, but it can stand alone as a hearty meal. Pigeon peas were not easy to find on the island. The main grocery, Maxwell’s in Marsh Harbor, received groceries once a week on Thursday, and we never missed the chance to take the ferry there from Hope Town. By Saturday the shelves were left bare so it was imperative to make the trip early.


1 cup any dried or fresh pigeon peas (black-eyed or

green peas or kidney beans may be substituted)

1 1/2 cups white rice, washed

1 large white onion, minced

1 cup canned or fresh tomatoes, minced

Thyme to taste

Salt and pepper to taste


  • In medium saucepan, place dried peas and cover with 2 inches of water. Boil until done.

  • Fry onions and tomatoes in 2 tablespoons butter, bacon fat, ham or lard.

  • Add boiled or canned peas and 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring to boil.

  • Add rice, stir, cover and adjust to lower heat to cook about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the water absorption.

  • Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

  • Cook until rice is done.

  • This dish should be fairly dry when complete, add more water if needed while cooking.


You can find recipes just like this in Servin’ Up Summer available for purchase here. It’s my newest collection of recipes. Servin’ Up Summer includes my favorite summer dishes, cocktails, and desserts. It’s a taste of summer in the South on every page. Available now for only $29.95.

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