This concoction came up on a whim. I’m always looking for ways to invent and reinvent rice-based side dishes. Sauteed garlic, scotch bonnet peppers and sweet peppers create a hot and savoury medley. The piece de resistance however is the inclusion of fresh thyme which makes each mouthful unexpectedly fragrant. It made a wonderful complement to this year’s Emancipation Day menu. Give it a try!
Origin, History, and Mythology: Gaius Plinius Secundus, (circa 23 – 79 A.C.E.), better known as Pliny the Elder, said that when thyme is burned, it “puts to flight all venomous creatures.”
In mythical folklore, thyme flowers were full of perfume and nectar for the bees, traditionally the messengers of the faery world. The bower of the Fairy Queen Titania in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is described as being in “…a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows…”.
Thyme is native to the Mediterranean, and historical records attribute, in part, the naming of the thyme plant to Theophrastus, 3rd century B.C.E. Greek philosopher and naturalist. Ancient Greeks believed thyme and its extracts could restore vigor and mental acuity. They burned it as a religious incense to give them courage. It was an ingredient in ritual altar fires, to purify the sacrifices to the gods. Thyme was burned as an incense at funerals and placed in the coffin of the dead in the belief that the soul of the deceased took up residence in the flowers of the thyme plant, and that thyme assured the passage of the deceased into the afterlife.
Makes 6 servings
2 cups rice
4 cups water
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 chopped scotch bonnet
1 small red sweet pepper (sliced)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1. Saute garlic, hot pepper and sweet pepper in vegetable oil over medium heat until garlic turns golden. Set aside.
2. Cook rice until rice grains are almost soft
3. Add sauteed pepper mixture
4. Stir gently with a fork
5. Cover and steam 10 minutes to finish
6. Pour into serving dish
7. Sprinkle with thyme leaves
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