Sauté chopped onions and green pepper (I only had red pepper) for a while. Add thyme. I didn't have any fresh thyme so I used about a little less than a teaspoon of dried.
"How about garlic?" I asked.
"It's whatever you like. However you like it."
I added garlic.
Then add about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Some recipes I saw said tomato paste but I asked Bandit and he said "regular tomato sauce," whatever that is. I used 1/2 cup of generic sauce from a jar that I happened to have in the fridge.
"And some Lea & Perrins, salt and pepper."
"Cook that for 20 minutes," my informant said.
"Really? Twenty minutes?" It seemed like a long time to me, but he gave me a knowing nod. In reality, I cooked it for about five minutes.
Add a cup of rice and stir and cook for a few more minutes before adding 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then add pigeon peas, either canned, drained, or home-cooked, as I did. I used the bean cooking water as part of the liquid for the rice.
Give it all another stir, cover and reduce the flame to low.
"And don't touch it again," said Bandit. "If you have to stir, use a fork and run that through."
I didn't touch it, even though I knew the burners on our propane-fired boat stove won't turn down low enough not to scorch the bottom of almost anything I cook. On the other hand, some recipes I read said this crusty bottom is key the the dish.
When the rice was cooked I turned off the burner and let the pot sit for a few minutes with the lid on. I like to think that helps loosen the stuck bottom but I'm not sure it really works. In the end I scraped the bits out and mixed it all up.
Add hot sauce if you must, but this dish was delicious as is.