Jamaican stuffing

So my partner’s Sephardic…

His family went from Spain, when the Jews were thrown out in 1492, to the Netherlands, and from there to England, and from there to Jamaica, and they brought this recipe with them from Jamaica to New Orleans to New York City when they got to New York about 1920.

If you’re paying attention you’ll see that this can’t really be an ancient recipe, because it involves tomato paste. More likely it was a new, totally hip recipe in 1900, which his great-grandmother brought with her from Jamaica to New York.

Anyway, in my family we call this Jamaican stuffing and we serve it at Thanksgiving and Christmas (and other times). You have to alert people to the fact that it’s not pureed sweet potatoes though.

How to make Jamaican stuffing:

Fill a large saucepan with cold water. Peel four large baking potatoes, cut them into chunks, and put them in the water. Heat the water over high heat until it boils, and then add one chopped onion and continue to boil until the potatoes are soft. (Really, you don’t have to peel the potatoes. It depends how you feel about eating the peels. We usually don’t peel the potatoes when it’s just for us, and we usually do peel the potatoes when it’s for company.)

When the potatoes are soft, take them off the heat and drain off the water in a colander. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash them with a potato masher. Add a stick of butter, two crushed cloves of garlic, a can of tomato paste, and a teaspoon of kosher salt, and mix. The potatoes should be bright orange. Reheat until the potatoes are hot, and serve.

Vegetarian or vegan

Vegetarian, but not vegan, because of the butter. You could substitute coconut fat if you wanted.

Can I keep Jamaican stuffing for later?

Yes, Jamaican stuffing is fine reheated for about a week. Keep it in the refrigerator, in a tupperware.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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