Red Pea Soup

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.

Red Pea Soup
Bubbling soup

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.

Red Pea Soup

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  1. 1 or 2 cups peas (I love a lot of peas in my soups so I usually use 2 cups)
  2. 1 lb. beef or beef bones (or other meat - or leave out the meat for a meat-free soup)
  3. 1 or 2 medium carrots (chopped)
  4. 1 sprig of thyme
  5. 1 stalk of scallion
  6. 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper
  7. 1 tbsp. Pimento Berries
  8. 2 cloves garlic
  9. 1 large Irish potato (cut up in large chunks)
  10. 2 tbsp. coconut milk (optional)
  11. 2 sprigs Parsley (optional)
  12. 2 Bay leaves (optional)
  13. Water – enough to cover peas and meat
  14. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  15. Noodle soup (optional)
  16. Spinners (recipe follows)
  1. 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.)
  2. Wash meat and add to pot when water begins to boil.
  3. Cook for about an hour or until peas are soft.
  4. Add seasonings – pimento, scallion, Scotch Bonnet, black pepper, and coconut milk.
  5. Peel potato and carrots, chop and add to soup.
  6. Make spinners (recipe below) and add.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove Bay leaves, parsley, thyme and pimento beans before serving.

Spinners (Dumplings)

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  1. ½ cup flour
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 5 tbsp water
  4. 2 tsp butter (optional)
  1. Combine butter with flour, blend thoroughly.
  2. Add salt.
  3. Add water slowly and mix until you have a doughy consistency.
  4. Break off small piece and roll between both hands to make the spinners.
  5. Each should be about 2 inches long. Place slowly into soup.
  6. Cover and let cook.

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28 comments on “Red Pea Soup

  1. You are so right about soup being comfort food. There are times when nothing else will do. Wonderful to have it homemade like your recipe here. Looks totally delicious.

  2. I’m amazed at the many different kinds of soups you mentioned. But there was an interesting comment about pigeon (or gungo). Are spinners a type of noodle?

  3. This looks so hearty and comforting to the soul on a cold day!! I just copied and pasted this and I’m going to make it this Fall! Would be correct to call it Jamaican red pea soup??

  4. on rainy days like today, this would be a welcomed dish to have even though the rain is not so cold in our area…can I have my bowl now please?

  5. Looks yummy! Pea soup (though not red peas) used to be quite a common dish up here too, often made on – or even with – cured ham. It was often used as a midnight snack at parties.

  6. Marcia, you read my mind! Just this morning I was thinking of your recipe and wondering if you might put up a Print function sometime! I logged on and lookee there….thank you! 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m going to print it and cook it this fall. I love a good soup too. I have so many soup recipes. Jave often talks about fish tea and mannish water. I’ve had fish tea, but not mannish water. I’ll have to give it a try.

  8. I was looking for a new kind of soup recipe and must say I am more than glad to get this red pea soup recipe. The soup looks so delicious, I can’t even wait for a day to try out this recipe. Thanks for the share.

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