DAVID WOODS: This hug in a bowl has a sweet and spicy kick

Slow-Cooked Jamaican Chuck Beef and Sweet Potato Pepper Pot
Slow-Cooked Jamaican Chuck Beef and Sweet Potato Pepper Pot

Kick back and relax with this bowlful of spicy flavours, says David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick.

I don’t want to wish away the summer, but with the smell of autumn in the air I am looking forward to making comfort food – those dishes that are slow cooked for full flavour but can be eaten just with a fork or spoon for easy suppers.

David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick Hotel

David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick Hotel

Here at the Sofitel, the Urban Café has been given a makeover, and to complement the new look, I have completely changed the menu. It now contains nearly 30 main courses, all with a street food style element, but I predict the most popular will be our new ‘bowl food’ section. Each one is a meal in itself and my favourite is the fragrant Jamaican beef and sweet potato pepper pot. It’s hug in a bowl with a sweet spicy kick.

With kids back at school easy one pot dishes like this are the answer for end-of-week suppers when all you want to do is relax, pick up a fork with one hand and a glass of wine with the other.

La Brasserie, Sofitel’s 2 AA rosette restaurant, reopens this month with a new look and a new menu. To book a table call 01293 567070 or email SLG@sofitelgatwick.com. Follow us on Twitter @SofitelLondonGA, like us on Facebook or share your bowl food recipes with us on Instagram by tagging @SofitelLondonGA.

Slow-Cooked Jamaican Chuck Beef and Sweet Potato Pepper Pot

Served with coconut rice and peas

1 dessert spoon of vegetable oil

2 sticks of celery sliced,

2 medium onions, diced

640g chuck steak (often called braising steak)

2 peppers one red one yellow or orange

4 cloves of garlic crushed

100g tomato paste

600ml beef stock

200g sweet potatoes

4 dessertspoons of jerk seasoning

4 tsp cornflour to thicken

Half a bunch of coriander

For the coconut rice and peas:

400g long grain rice

200ml water

200ml coconut milk

40g desiccated coconut

1 onion, diced

Sprig of fresh thyme


100g of kidney or black-eyed peas

1 chilli, finely chopped


Heat the oil in large casserole dish and lightly brown the beef.

Add the onion, garlic, celery and jerk seasoning. Sweat gently until the vegetables begin to soften.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.

Add the beef stock and cover with a lid and simmer gently for 80 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes and cook for a further 20 minutes until tender.

Mix the cornflour with a little water and stir into the casserole to thicken. Add chopped coriander just before serving.

For the rice and peas: Rinse the rice through a sieve and put into a large saucepan with all the remaining ingredients.

Bring to the boil. Stir, reduce to a simmer and put on the lid. Simmer for 12 minutes. Take the saucepan off the stove and rest with the lid on for a further 10 to 15 minutes. Serve in large bowls topped with the Jamaican beef pepper pot.

Chef’s tip

The casserole can be cooked in the oven at 140oC for the same cooking time or it is a perfect recipe for the slow cooker if you have one.

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