Gungo Peas Soup (Pigeon Pea Soup)
Gungo Peas Soup, made with Pigeon Peas or Gandules, is a favorite in Jamaica. It is enjoyed year round but especially during the holidays. For most, it is chock full of beef and pork cuts and stewed veggies. The creamy texture of the peas made tender by a long cooking time, warms the soul.
For a healthier version, prepare without meat for a vegetarian delight.
FOR THE SOUP
- 1 1/2 cups dry gungo peas (pigeon peas)
- 8-10 cups water
- 1 lb stewing beef (optional)
- 1 1/2 lb salted pig’s tail or ham hock (optional)
- 1 large yellow yam
- 1 large boniato (Caribbean sweet potato)
- 1 medium onion
- 3 stalks scallion
- 3 stalks fresh thyme
- 1 tsp pimento seeds
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Whole scotch bonnet or habanero (DO NOT CUT)
FOR THE SPINNERS
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Soak gungo peas in water overnight at room temperature; soak pig tails in water overnight in refrigerator.
- Place pig tails in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and drain. Repeat two more times (this removes salt).
- Place stewing beef and gungo peas in a pot; add just enough water to cover them and bring to a boil
- Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, or until peas and beef are cooked; add more water to the pot as it evaporates. The beef may be ready before the peas, so carefully remove the beef with a slotted spoon to avoid over-cooking if necessary.
- In a separate pot cover pig tails with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about one hour or until tender; add more water to the pot as it evaporates.
- When all the meat and peas are tender, add pig tails (with liquid) to the pot of peas and beef; continue simmering.
- Peel and cut yam and tropical sweet potato into large pieces and add to pot. Add boiling water to pot, just enough to almost cover yams and potatoes.
- Mix flour, 1/3 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to form a stiff dough; form into small balls, roll between palms a few times to create a tapered dumpling or “spinner” and add to pot.
- Add onion, thyme, pimento, whole scotch bonnet and black pepper to pot
- Continue to simmer until yams and potatoes are tender and soup has thickened.
- Taste soup for flavor and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Soup should be fairly thick but if it is too thick add some more boiling water.
- Do not cut the scotch bonnet pepper or allow the seeds to enter the soup. The heat factor may make the soup inedible.