- Jamaican Rundown (Paleo)

I love traditional recipes that require almost no adaptation to align with a Paleo nutritional approach. Jamaican Rundown is a great example of such a recipe. With a simple list of ingredients and minimal seasoning, it uses the flavors of real food (assisted by a cooking technique that specifically enhances flavor) to achieve a result that’s thick, rich, and complex.

The dish gets its name from the fact that fish and vegetables are cooked until they’re soft and the textures have “run down”.  There’s a Creole version of Rundown that varies from this one quite a bit (and that I’d love to experiment with) but conch meat isn’t readily available, so that one will have to wait. Regional differences in cuisine fascinate me; I have four recipes for meatloaf already published on this site, for example, because I love to try different variations of the same thing. That, or I simply can’t leave well enough alone.  Anyway, I don’t cook with fish much but I’m a huge fan of the taste of this particular Jamaican Rundown! - Jamaican Rundown (Paleo)

Jamaican Rundown

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hour 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Yields 6

This traditional Jamaican Rundown is a thick, savory stew made of mackerel, yams and coconut milk.


  • Rundown
  • 1 lb fresh mackerel fish, de-boned
  • 2 13-oz cans coconut milk
  • 2 cups broth or water
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 lb yam
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp thyme, dry or fresh
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Garnishes
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
  • Plantain chips


  1. Roughly chop the onion and jalapeño (discard the seeds), then shred both with the garlic cloves in a food processor until finely diced.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Saute the onion mixture until softened, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Peel and roughly chop the yam, then add to the onions. Lay the mackerel over the yam, then add the coconut milk, broth or water, chopped scallions, tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the mixture just enough that the ingredients are mixed but mackerel and yam pieces are submerged. Bring to a boil.
  5. Boil uncovered until the soup reaches your desired consistency (to make mine very thick, I boiled it for an hour). Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from burning; the yam and mackerel chunks will gradually soften until they're no longer individually distinguishable.
  6. Serve warm, with a garnish of additional scallions, red pepper flakes and plantain chips if desired.


Recipe Notes

If fresh mackerel is not readily available, substitute cod, sardines, bluefish, trout or herring.
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