Gungo Peas Soup
1 14 oz bag of frozen gungo peas (aka pigeon peas) or 2 cans of gungo peas – brown or green (If you like a lot of peas, you can use more)
3 lbs salted pork or salted beef (optional… I used pigtail) – desalinated by boiling in fresh water twice, softened by boiling for at least an hour after desalinated, and cut up
2 cups vegetable stock
4-6 cups water
1 can coconut milk
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 scallion, crushed
1 small bunch of thyme (approx. 8-10 sprigs)
1 tsp pimento seeds (aka allspice berries)
Choose 4-5 of the following: (If you choose more than 5, use smaller amounts so that you don’t overcrowd the pot. I used potato, Caribbean sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, and chocho)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp cornmeal (optional), 1 tsp salt, and ½ cup of water for dumplings
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
1 packet of pumpkin soup mix
1 tbsp Jamaican all-purpose seasoning (or to taste, especially if not using the salted meat for additional flavor)
1) Prepare the vegetables (and meat, if desired). Then, set the vegetable stock and 4 cups of water to boil on medium-high heat in a large pot.
2) When the liquid begins to boil, add the gungo peas to the pot and boil for about 10 minutes if using frozen peas. If using canned peas, proceed immediately to the next step.
3) Add the coconut milk and stir. Then, add the garlic, scallion, thyme, and pimento seeds. Bring to a boil again.
4) Once boiling (still on medium-high heat), add the desalinated, cooked meat (if using meat) and prepared vegetables to the pot (and more water if needed), and let the soup boil for about 10 minutes while preparing the dumplings.
5) For the dumplings, add the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Then, slowly add the water while forming the dough into a ball with your hand. If the dough becomes too sticky, add more flour. Once the dough ball is formed, begin pinching equal pieces off which will represent each dumpling that will be added to the pot. Form the pieces into tight, round circles (approx. 1 centimeter thick) -OR- you can form them into spinners by rubbing the dough in between your hands as if you’re making a fire with sticks.
6) Add the dumplings to the pot. Also, add pumpkin soup mix (you can sieve out the noodles if preferred), the all-purpose seasoning, and the scotch bonnet pepper. Bring everything to a boil again. (If the pot becomes too aggressive when boiling, reduce the heat to medium.) Boil the soup for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping an eye on the scotch bonnet so it doesn’t burst.
7) After 30 minutes, check to see if all of the vegetables have cooked. Once the vegetables are tender to your liking, the soup is finished. Remove the scallion, thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper. Let the soup sit for 10 minutes before serving to thicken up a bit. If you’d like to thicken the soup further, mash out some of the potato or pumpkin, and add it back to the pot. Stir well, and serve!