Soup, especially red pea soup, is comfort food to me. I make it when it rains or snows, when it’s cold or when I need a pick-me-up. Sometimes, I make it just because.
I love soup. I love the convenience of it. Even cleanup is simple as there’s only one pot. The only thing to master about making soup, however, is timing. Too little and you end up with a broth; too much and you get something close to porridge. I like mine after the peas and potatoes have broken apart, giving the soup ‘body.’
Soup was a typical Saturday meal in our house. When the butcher brought fresh beef, we’d have beef soup. Otherwise, it’d be chicken, pig’s tail, corned beef, or a combination. And there was always some type of pea or bean – pigeon (or gungo), red, split, etc., vegetables, yam, potato and dumplings or spinners.
Soups made from a variety of meats or vegetables are typically found on menus in restaurants, cook shops and street vendors. Expect to see corn, cow skin or foot, chicken foot, crayfish (or janga), fish (popularly called fish tea, not fish soup), pepperpot, etc. The star of any gathering, from weddings to wakes, is mannish water, which is also called goat soup or goat belly soup. It’s made from, you guessed it – goat, including the innards.
- 1 or 2 cups peas (I love a lot of peas in my soups so I usually use 2 cups)
- 1 lb. beef or beef bones (or other meat - or leave out the meat for a meat-free soup)
- 1 or 2 medium carrots (chopped)
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 stalk of scallion
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper
- 1 tbsp. Pimento Berries
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large Irish potato (cut up in large chunks)
- 2 tbsp. coconut milk (optional)
- 2 sprigs Parsley (optional)
- 2 Bay leaves (optional)
- Water – enough to cover peas and meat
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Noodle soup (optional)
- Spinners (recipe follows)
- Pick out defective or broken peas and wash. Soak overnight. The next day, drain off the water, pour peas into a stockpot, cover with cold water, add garlic and salt to taste and put to boil. (If you’re unable to soak peas overnight, wash, add enough cold water to cover and put to boil.)
- Wash meat and add to pot when water begins to boil.
- Cook for about an hour or until peas are soft.
- Add seasonings – pimento, scallion, Scotch Bonnet, black pepper, and coconut milk.
- Peel potato and carrots, chop and add to soup.
- Make spinners (recipe below) and add.
- Add thyme, parsley and Bay leaves (tie together with kitchen twine or put in cheesecloth). Cover and let cook for about an hour or until done.
- Remove Bay leaves, parsley, thyme and pimento beans before serving.
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp water
- 2 tsp butter (optional)
- Combine butter with flour, blend thoroughly.
- Add salt.
- Add water slowly and mix until you have a doughy consistency.
- Break off small piece and roll between both hands to make the spinners.
- Each should be about 2 inches long. Place slowly into soup.
- Cover and let cook.
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