Gungo Pea Soup: Warm Your Soul
Nothing warms the body and soul when you need it, like soup. Today, I’d like to bless you with my personal favorite, Gungo Pea Soup.
Being under quarantine is similar to all those times we were stuck inside during snowstorms in the Midwest. The difference is, it never lasted for several months at a time.
A blizzard might wreak havoc for a day or two, or even a few days. But, the longer part of the situation was always the snowdrifts. Depending on how much snow fell, you could get stuck in the house waiting for it to melt, because it blocked the doors and windows and there was no other escape.
If you could manage to get out of the house, you still had huge piles of snow everywhere, and you would have to dig a path to the driveway; then clear the driveway so the car could be taken out of the garage or moved off the driveway for you to get to work. This, providing the roads in your area had been cleared.
“The agony of life is to sit in a place of movement.” – T.D. Jakes
Quarantines cause a whole other level of pain that most of us in this country have never experienced before. It’s like being a convict in prison under tight restrictions – lockdown from the warden.
Many people begin to feel somewhat pressurized, because the initial fun of family time and enjoyment, and perhaps the momentary “vacay” feeling of a break from the grind, has worn thin.
Unless you have figured out how to redirect your energies, not being able to work and function as “normally,” as accustomed, can be just as stressful as working in any linear job.
Looking For Comfort
And, just like during a blizzard; being locked down, away from your “norm” in times like these, requires some comfort. Thus, we often turn to food, specifically, whatever it is that we deem as comfort food.
It does a body good to get that kind of food because it activates positive emotions and pleasure, and this can relax the body and alleviate pain. Many people seek comfort food to give them that warm, fuzzy feeling that takes away the blues…at least for a little while.
For me, comfort food is predominantly homemade soups and stews. Both warm the body and the soul, giving you that down-home feeling. It’s like you’ve got to have that love and good-belly feeling from the food momma used to make.
In A Mood To Share
So today, I decided to share with you, one of my favorite personal recipes. I love making soups and stews…and stirfries. Today’s recipe will be one of my favorite soups cooked in a crockpot.
However, first, let me warn you. I tend to wing it when I cook. The only reason you are getting measurements on an ingredient list is that I specifically took the time to measure things out for your benefit. But, most of the time, I don’t measure anything. I just put a bit of this, and a bit of that, until my tastebuds are satisfied.
What soup am I sharing today? It’s Gungo Pea Soup.
Now I know that some of you are raising an eyebrow, and asking what is a Gungo Pea? I had to google that myself at one point because I didn’t know, but I had tasted this type of soup before, and found it to be delicious!
Gungo Pea Soup is a tradition from my mother’s homeland, Jamaica. A Gungo Pea is a green pigeon pea. So you can call this Green Pigeon Pea soup, or Gungo Pea Soup…whichever is your preference.
Again, I must warn you. I never got a recipe for this. I just searched to find out what a Gungo Pea was so that I would know what to shop for, and the rest of this is my creation. So for those accustomed to this type of soup, it may taste like what you are accustomed to or it may not. I have no idea. All I know is that I like it. It works for me.
My Crock-pot Gungo Pea Soup
- 2 lbs green pigeon peas soaked overnight.
- 2 Wyler’s bouillon cubes or 1 Maggi cube
- 1/2 – 1lb of beef cubes (for stewing)
- 1 full clove garlic
- 1-2 cloves black garlic (optional – diced)
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 Turnip cubed
- 1-2 carrots diced
- 2-5 diced red potatoes (depending on size: 2 LG; 5 sm)
- 1-2 full sprig Fresh/frozen Thyme
- 1 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos
- 3/4 cup of Oyster sauce
- 1/2 cup off Vino Seco (white cooking wine)
Prep The Night Before
Soak your beef overnight to remove blood. I usually put it in the water, in a quart-sized ziplock bag and stand it up on a door shelf in the refrigerator. Soak dry pigeon peas overnight in a bowl with a lid, but change the water once or twice if possible.
The next day, wash the pigeon peas in water and start the crockpot. I filled it with water up to about 2 inches from the top to make room for adding ingredients. I wanted a lot more liquid because, in previous times; there wasn’t enough water due to lower fill levels and evaporation.
Add the peas and start the pot on high; setting it for 8 hours. Take the beef cubes and wash them in lemon juice. The cubes are usually pretty big and since I end up saving several servings to eat and share, I prefer to cut the large cubes into bite-sized cubes.
Start Adding Ingredients
Use whatever you use to season your beef. I use Badia Sazon Tropical because it is like the Complete but has no MSG. I also use Garlic powder, a bit of Curry, and some Paprika. Brown the meat in a small amount of oil.
I used Coconut oil because despite knowing that it causes some minor problems with cholesterol, I still have quite a bit left. My preference would be Avocado oil.
Once the meat is browned, add both the meat and its sauce into the crockpot. Add bouillon cube(s) and seal the pot again. You can add 1 sprig of Thyme now, and/or later towards the end of the cooking time.
Sometimes, I’ll add one of my frozen ones, and then put a sprig of fresh Thyme in a few hours before it’s done cooking.
Getting The Veggies Ready
Now is the time to cut up your veggies. If you don’t have the black garlic, it’s ok. You can find it at Costco. It’s just an extra flavorful touch that I sometimes add to my dishes, but you don’t have to.
Once all the veggies are cut up, add them to the pot. Add in your Vino and your cup of the Braggs. Finish cooking on high for 8 hours.
Use A Blender
After that, use a measuring cup to scoop out some of the liquid, which will be right at the top. I scooped out about 3-4 cups 2-3 times, being careful to avoid the veggies and meat as much as possible; and put this into my Vitamix.
Then I got a slotted spoon and scooped out several spoons of the peas (about 4-5 times – again, avoiding the other ingredients floating in the pot) and put them in my medium-sized measuring cup to transfer into the Vitamix.
The peas at this point, are still pretty firm, and they need to be soft. Blend the peas and the liquid from the soup.
Take your measuring cup again, and scoop extra liquid out into a storage container that you can freeze and use later for a soup or sauce base if needed.
Do A Taste Test
Now pour the blended mixture back into the crockpot. It will fill it back up to the top. Sample the liquid, but remember, it’s really hot at this point.
If you feel it needs a touch more salt, use ¼ cup of Oyster sauce. I ended up adding the extra ½ cup later because it had a good flavor but needed a bit more oomph.
However, if you have to watch your sodium intake, skip the Oyster sauce, and use the Wyler’s bouillon cubes vs the Maggi. You can always sub in Himalayan salt instead, which is healthier than table salt. Just season to taste.
Another 4 Hours
Set the crockpot again on low for another 4 hours depending on what time of the day it is, and whether it will be on overnight. When you get up, it should be done.
The peas should be soft and a bit mushy when scooped with a spoon and, (remember its really hot) it should be fabulous to the taste!
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