Caribbean Red Pea Soup
The foggy night emerged into a sunny day and left behind a Winter Wonderland. Fern-like crystals of hoar frost on every surface, I had a difficult time keeping my eyes on the road it was so breathtaking. There is something incredible about the reflected whiteness of snow and frost that helps increase the light and raise our spirits during this season of chill. We may live in a quieter part of the world, but we do occasionally have frozen fog to brighten our day….and hopefully not break the branches over our car!
This is another soup from the Days of the Deli. The coconut-yam-allspice combination is characteristic of Island cooking and it works well with the heartiness of the kidney beans. It’s almost sweet, and would go well with a Rice dish to make a complete protein, or with grilled pork for total yumminess.
Why the name Red Pea?
In Caribbean cooking beans are sometimes referred to as ‘peas’, and kidney beans are ‘red peas’. These legumes are an important part of the diet, not to mention low in fat and cholesterol, and high in fiber, potassium, iron, folate and magnesium.
Sometimes I have smoked the vegetables before putting them into a soup by throwing a few water-soaked wood chips onto the coals and setting a pan of chopped vegetation onto the grill, then covering the grill and letting it do its thing for around 20 minutes. This might be a good soup for that little experiment to bring in a hint of smoke but not overpower it.
Mmm, nothing wrong with grills in the winter…and maybe this is where the Jerk Seasoned Chicken would be cooked. I can almost smell that ocean breeze…
Here are a few Live Life Exotic photos from a Jamaican market to put you in the mood.
Caribbean Red Pea Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes then 10 minutes to finish
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes (not including the Beans)
If you are cooking the beans—Soak 4 hours or overnight:
1 1/2 cups Kidney Beans
4 cups water
Drain and change the water after they have soaked.
In a soup pot, simmer the beans at least 2 hours until fully cooked—the beans should be creamy when you mash one between your fingers.
Mix together in a soup pot:
3 1/2 cups cooked Kidney Beans (or a 28 oz. can)
1 cup Celery, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
1 small Carrot, diced
1 1/2 cup Yams (a.k.a. Orange Sweet Potatoes), peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, dried
1 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups Water
Simmer on low heat 45-60 minutes, until everything is well cooked.
Turn off the heat.
1 small Bell Pepper, diced (approximately 1 cup)
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
6 (more or less) ounces Coconut Milk (half of a large can) full fat
1 1/2 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Allspice, ground
1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, ground (or more if you like)
Scoop half of the soup in to a food processor and roughly puree. Add it back to the soup pot.
Use a potato masher to roughly mash the mixture.
An immersion blender will also work—but only partially puree the soup so there is still some chunky texture.
1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Grilled or Pulled Pork, or Jerk Seasoned Chicken
- Sauteed Greens
- Fried Plantain
- Good stories