Jamaica boasts many different types of soups. They can be made any day of the week, but most families make soup on Saturdays. Traditional soups include chicken soup, Mannish water made with goat, beef soup and red “peas” soup. Each soup typically starts with a long boiling process that cooks the meats and Caribbean pumpkin and is finished by adding dumplings, ground provisions and seasonings to complete the soup. The last hour of seasoning and building in flavor is the most important as this is where the soup will thicken and come together but also when it will finally begin to taste like something delicious.
Red peas soup has an array of ingredients. It starts out with two different types of red beans and lots of garlic. Various meats can be added including pig’s tail, beef and chicken feet. Typical vegetables in the soup include Caribbean pumpkin, carrots, chayote and turnips. It is then finished with coconut milk, scallions, thyme, hot pepper, and pimento. The ground provisions and dumplings in the soup is what helps to make it filling and those are added towards the end of cooking.
Try this recipe below and leave me a comment to let me know how you liked it.
For Red Peas Soup you will need:
- Extra large soup pot
- Large ladle
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Small bowl (for dumplings)
- Medium Saucepan
- 1 lb red kidney beans
- ½ lb dark red kidney beans
- 1 small turnip
- 1 small chayote (Cho-Cho)
- 2 medium carrots
- ¼ Caribbean pumpkin (Kabocha Squash)
- 6 cloves garlic (mashed and peel removed)
- 8-10 cups of water
- 1 lb of beef soup bone
- ½ lb chicken feet
- 1 lb pigs tail
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 lb yellow yam
- 1 lb Jamaican Coco
- 6 scallions (crushed)
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
- Handful of thyme
- 10 pimento berries
- 2 bullion cubes
- 1 packet Grace chicken noodle soup
- Salt to taste
- Rinse beans in a colander and set aside.
- Use a cutting board and sharp knife to large dice chayote, turnip, carrots and pumpkin. Set veggies aside.
- Rinse excess salt from the pig's tail and cut into 2 inch pieces. Place the pork in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring the pork to a boil on high heat. Once the pork is boiled, discard the water. Add fresh cold running water to the pork and boil again. Do this at least four times to remove the excess salt from the meat.
- In a large soup pot, add beans, garlic and water. Set to boil on high heat.
- Once the beans begin to boil and float to the surface of the water, add in beef, chicken feet, pigs tail and diced vegetables. Cover and cook for 1.5-2 hours or until the meat is fork tender and the veggies and beans are cooked. The beans are cooked if when they are pressed between your fingers, they easily mash.
- Peel and slice yellow yam and coco. Sit them in a bowl of cold water so they do not oxidize and turn brown.
- Keep the soup on high heat and add in coconut milk, yellow yam and coco.
- While the coconut milk cooks, use about ¾ cup of water to form 2 cups of flour into a dough ball. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes until it is smooth. The dough should not be too wet or too sticky. If it is, add a bit more flour. Tear small pieces of dough off and use the palm of your hands to form dumplings and add them to the pot. I prefer long dumplings. You can make them any shape you like. Allow the dumplings, yam and coco to cook for about 15 minutes.
- To the soup pot, add in scallions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and pimento. Give the pot a good stir. Allow the seasonings to cook for 2-3 minutes before adding more flavorings.
- After about 3 minutes, add in bullion cube and chicken noodle soup. Taste for salt and add only if necessary. Depending on how salty the meats were, you may not need salt in the pot at this time. Be sure to taste for salt before adding.
- Allow the soup to cook until the seasonings are broken apart, the noodles cook and the flavors develop, maybe another 15-20 minutes. The soup will also thicken as the beans continue to break apart and the ingredients cook. After about 20 minutes, remove from the heat.
- Serve hot and add a bit of everything to the bowl. Enjoy!