Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bahamian Fire Engine

Over the past year or so, I've received several positive emails or comments from my relocated Bahamian people about the Bahamian recipes that I post here.  When you grow up on a small island with a culture that predominantly revolves around food, and then you end up moving elsewhere, sometimes you just crave the comfort of a home-cooked meal.  Depending on where you move and with whom, sometimes that's just not possible.  Another thing I've come to realize is that, dang, sometimes I want Bahamian food too, but I don't actually know how to make it.  That's when we turn to the internet.

So, I recently decided to profile a new series on the blog.  I'm planning on featuring Bahamian recipes once in a while so that:
1) I can actually document my family's recipes (Let's be honest.  We know most of these recipes have no written instructions anywhere!); and
2) My fellow Bahamians and I can have a reference to recreate these dishes in the future.

I've begun to request that my family provide me with some recipes that I can include on the blog and they are working overtime to put measurements to some of our favorite meals. In the meantime, I looked to the Bahamian calendar to help me create a fire engine breakfast dish.  First of all, yes, our national calendar contains recipes.  Second of all, you're probably wondering what fire engine is.  Fire engine is a very popular breakfast dish in the Bahamas.  It's composed of steamed corned beef and vegetables, then served over rice or grits.  It sounds strange but I swear it's delicious.

Bahamian Fire Engine
from The Bahamian Calendar
makes ~4 servings

Print Recipe

  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1/2 diced green pepper
  • 1 can corned beef
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • rice or grits for serving

1)  Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the vegetable oil until heated through.

2) Add the onion and green pepper.  Fry until softened, about 5 minutes.

3) Add the corned beef, thyme, and lime to the pan, breaking up the corned beef as it cooks.

4) Allow the corned beef mixture to fry for about 3 minutes, or until the beef and the vegetables begin to come together.  Stir in the tomato paste, along with the crushed red pepper.

5) Optional: At this point, you may wish to add in some water to make the corned beef mixture "looser".

6) Let the mixture blend together for another 1-2 minutes, then season with salt and pepper, as desired.

7) Serve warm with rice or grits.

Let me know if there are any recipes that you would like me to document and post here.  I have a few recipes already in mind, but I'll take any suggestions into consideration.  Also, it's completely possible (and pretty likely) that I won't recreate every recipe exactly as you remember it.  These are primarily my family's recipes, or recipes that I've taken personal liberties with.  Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section of each post to let me know how you have made that dish before or what it looked or tasted like when you had it before.

Boring housekeeping note: I hate to do it, but I had to start adding my blog link to my finished pictures.  I've been spotting a few of my pictures on other sites lately without my permission so I've felt the need to try to curb that mess!


  1. Love this. Can you post some more??? lol

    1. Thanks! I'm actually planning on making some more Bahamian recipes soon. Not sure what to make yet.

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