Trinidadian turkey pelau

By Davindra Ramnarine
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For the marinade:

  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper
  • 2 pimento peppers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 leaves Spanish thyme (optional)
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 8 chadon beni leaves (culantro)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Fresh ginger, 2.5 centimeter piece
  • - 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water

For the pelau:

  • 4 turkey thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 can pigeon peas
  • 2 carrots, sliced around 1/2 centimeter thick
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2 centimeter thick
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 pimento peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin/squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)


  1. In a food processor, add the ingredients for the marinade and blend.
  2. Remove skin from turkey and and rinse. Pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Cut turkey into chunks and place into a resealable bowl. Leave a little bit of meat on the bones and be sure to include them, since they will add flavor.
  4. Pour marinade and Worcestershire sauce over turkey and the bones. Mix well and refrigerate for at least four hours, but overnight is best.
  5. Wash rice and drain rice.
  6. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and then evenly sprinkle sugar and leave to turn rich dark brown.
  7. Add turkey and bones, including the marinade, and stir to coat with the browned sugar. Cover and cook for a few minutes stirring often till most of the liquid evaporates.
  8. Add rice and stir.
  9. Add coconut milk, stock, one tablespoon thyme, pigeon peas, sliced carrots, celery, onion, two chopped pimento peppers, bay leaf and pumpkin. If you like it spicy, add a whole scotch bonnet pepper to the liquid. Cover and lower heat.
  10. Stir often and cook until liquid has evaporated or to your desired doneness of the rice. If the rice is still too firm, add more stock and continue cooking till most of the liquid has evaporated.
  11. Serve with a simple green salad of water cress, cucumber and sliced avocado.

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