Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld


Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine.

This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Read more about her challenge. This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all!


When I started digging into Jamaican food, the boys reminded me of our 2012 Jamaican feast when we made jerk chicken; I have also made Jamaican Jerk Lamb Chops when I had a micro share of a lamb back in 2017. 

But we wanted to make something new-to-us and I was inspired by a package of red peas that I had just picked up at a local market. Come to find out that Jamaican red peas aren't red peas at all; they are red kidney beans! 

And there the kitchen stars were definitely not aligned for me this month as I made what I thought was a Jamaican spinach dish. Come to find out that Jamaican spinach isn't spinach either. I have no idea what 'water spinach' is, but I'll do some more reading soon.

In any case, I am sharing my version of a Jamaican stew pea with Sea Island red peas should have been red kidney beans. Oh, well...

Jamaican Stew Peas

Since this recipe starts with dried beans, you'll need to start this the day before you plan to serve.

  • 2 cups dried red peas (should have been red kidney beans!)
  • water for soaking
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 to 4 cups water plus more for soaking
  • 1 medium leek, chopped (approximately 3/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 stalks celery, chopped (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 1 yam, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 whole dried peppers (traditional is Scotch Bonnet, I used some Pasillas)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sort and wash peas. Place them in a large pot and cover with at least 2" of cold water. Soak overnight, if possible, but at least 6 hours. After soaking, drain and discard the soaking water and rinse beans.

Place soaked peas in a large pot with 6 cups of vegetable stock and 3 to 4 cups of water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until peas are tender, approximately 45 minutes.

Once the peas are tender, add in chopped leeks, garlic, thyme, carrots, celery, bell peppers, potatoes, and yam. Pour in the coconut milk and add in the whole dried peppers. Bring that to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all of the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 30 mintues.

While the stew cooks, make the dumplings.

Place flour and salt in a bowl. Pour in water and mix to form a stiff dough. Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into the palm of hands to make long thin dumplings. Drop into simmering stew and cook until the dumplings float, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Discard peppers before serving. Ladle stew into individual bowls and serve hot.

That's a wrap for our Jamaican exploration. I can't wait to see what Evelyne has in store for the final month of the year Stay tuned...


  1. Well it might not be quite authentic but it certainly sounds wonderful Cam.

  2. This looks tasty! I originally had my eye on a very similar recipe!

  3. I love the colors and flavors of this. Sounds delicious!

  4. I've never heard of water spinach either. Spinach is rare here in Jamaica. Maybe someone meant callaloo.

  5. Doesn't matter what the ingredients are called - your stew looks so tasty. I love beans stewed with vegetables, so satisfying.

  6. What a fantastic combination of ingredients - whichever version of "peas" you used this sounds delicious and hearty!

  7. I am Jamaican this stew would be called veggie stew.Most Jamaican stew would have salted beef or pork and fresh meat like chicken foot and neck.