For many Jamaicans, gungo peas are an essential part of the Christmas Day menu. Gungo peas are the desired peas for the traditional rice and peas or as a part of the Gungo Peas Soup, the latter is a favourite appetizer before the main Christmas dinner. More often than not, it is eaten as a meal by itself.
Here is the recipe for Gungo Peas Soup, taken from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) publication, ‘Our Culinary Heritage’.
Gungo Peas Soup
- 1/2 1lb Salted pig’s tail or 2 small smoked ham hocks
- 1/4 lb Salted beef
- 1/4 lb Stewing beef
- 4 Quarts water or chicken stock
- 2 Cups Uncooked green or
1 Cup dried gungo peas or
2 (16 ounce) cans, drained
- 1 Onion chopped
- 1 Stalk escallion chopped
- 1 Sprig dried thyme
- 4 Potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 6 Dried pimento berries
- Soak the salted meat in water (to cover) for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Drain, add fresh water, bring to a boil then drain again.
- Combine all the meats and dried peas in 4 quarts fresh water or chicken stock, cover and bring to a boil.
- Add the green peas (not canned) after boiling begins.
- Reduce the heat and cook covered for 1 hour.
- Add the canned peas (if used) and the onion, escallion, thyme and potatoes
- Add salt to taste
- Add Pimento berries and any other vegetable (carrots, etc.) or starch (yams, dumplings, etc.) if you like
- Simmer for 1 hour
- Serve hot
Note: Dried peas should not be soaked in cold water as they will take much longer to cook.