Jamaican Dutchy’s Stew Peas Is One of the Best Things I’ve Ever Eaten From A Cart
I remember the first time the Jamaican Dutchy’s stew peas entered my radar screen. They’ve been serving it as a Thursday special forever, but it never quite clicked that this was a must try dish until a few months ago. I emailed a former co-worker of mine, who is Jamaican, to ask if she would go with me to Jerk Pan, the newish Jamaican cart on Park Ave. and 48th Street. Her reply:
“Any day but Thursday — it’s Jamaican Dutchy’s â€˜stew peas’ special day, LOL”
Really? So this day is blocked off permanently in your calendar. That’s crazy. Maybe it’s about time I tried these “stewed peas”.
If you are not familiar with traditional Jamaican stew peas (clearly I was not) you might be fooled by the name into thinking this is some vegetarian side dish made up of peas. Well allow me to correct that notion by informing you that real Jamaican stewed peas does contain red kidney beans (or peas, as the Jamaicans call them) but the real star of the show is stewed beef and pig’s tails. And that is exactly what’s in the Jamaican Dutchy’s version.
You heard me right. Stewed beef… and pig’s tails! Now let me point out that this is a horrible bit of Jamaican marketing. If this dish had been (rightfully) called stewed pig’s tails with beef and peas, I would have never waited 33 years to try it! I can’t believe I have been missing out on this for so long. Stew peas! So misleading. (And let this be a lesson to everyone. Never allow your own ignorance to stand in the way of good food!)
As is the case with most of the food at the Jamaican Dutchy, if you are scared of bones- this is probably not the dish for you. Pig’s tails, in this case, are kind of similar to oxtails- but the bone is smaller, there is less meat, and more fat. If you don’t like pork fat, I’d also skip this one… but if you do, this pork fat is an amazing treat. Cooked perfectly, the fat melts in your mouth- or perhaps a more accurate description would be to say “it is incredibly easy to suck this pork fat off the bone”. For those who like some fat, but aren’t down with a one to one ratio of meat to fat, the stewed beef brings things back towards the meat side. It’s also amazing tender. The rice does a great job of sopping the whole thing up, and the plantains add that needed sweet component to the meal. Mixed with kidney beans and the dumplings it’s as close to a perfect lunch as I’ve had from a cart.
On their website it says $9 for a small, $11 for a large. I think I got the large, which technically is over the ML price range. But I’m sure the small is enough for lunch (it always is at the Dutchy.)
Jamaican Dutchy, NE Corner of 51st and 7th Ave.