Stew peas is one of the staples on the weekly Jamaican menu and most Jamaican cooks have their own special way to prepare it.
Some even 'spoil' the recipe by using flour to thicken it when they don't have enough peas to do the job. The most important thing for me is the colour, so I use the very rich red peas.
With or without meat, I find stew peas a great accompaniment with fluffy white rice. Here is my recipe. This is only for persons who already know how to cook because I don't measure my ingredients.
A good amount of red peas
Flour for spinners
Scotch bonnet pepper
1. Wash chopped pig's tail and pieces of salt beef, and bring to boil, then pour water away.
2. Place in a pressure cooker over medium flame for a few minutes so that it can partially cook.
3. Extract the milk from one coconut and add this to the washed peas in pot with the partially cooked meat; add mashed cloves of garlic and pimento grains and allow to cook slowly.
4. Make spinners and add, allowing to simmer until tender.
5. Remove about three cooking spoons full of peas from pot and place in blender with some of the liquid from the pot; blend to a puree and add to pot to give body to the stew then add the seasoning of thyme, scallion, onion and whole pepper. Simmer.
Mrs G's Stew Peas
1. Soak red peas overnight
2. Pressure for half an hour along with beef, chicken or pig's tail
3. Then add:
2 sachets of coconut milk,
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
4. Add spinners
5. Simmer over low flame until thickened.
Full-House Stew Peas (from Suzette Pottinger)
"My stew peas is called Full-House Stew Peas.
I put kidney beans and fresh beef in water along with two pegs of garlic in the pressure cooker. While that is cooking I put pig's tail with water in a pot to boil. When done, I remove the contents of the pressure cooker and pour it into another pot for the final process. To that I add chicken foot, scallion, onion, black pepper and Goya bottle seasoning.
When that comes to a boil, I add the pig's tail, which would be relatively cooked by this time, and spinners. This is left to simmer. When done you have your Full House Stew Peas of chicken foot, pig's tail and fresh beef. I don't use coconut milk as most do, and it tastes just as nice."
"Stew peas is one of my favourite dishes and I love it with pig's tail.
"But my husband and granddaughter do not eat pork, so most times when I cook stew peas, I use salted beef instead. The truth is, I prefer pig's tail so sometimes I cook a little for myself with the pig's tail and some with salted beef for them.
"How I cook it:
1. Cut the pig's tail into bite sizes then wash with vinegar and lime.
2. Place it in a container with water and let it soak overnight to remove salt content.
3. The next day, when I am ready to cook it, I pour off the water, wash it off again, then I add my red peas to the pig's tail in a good enough sized pot, add cloves of crushed garlic and some pimento seed and let it boil until tender.
4. Then I get a dried coconut from one my trees in my backyard. The secret is, stew peas taste better with coconut milk made the good old-fashioned way. Then, grate the coconut flesh and strain off the milk.
5. Add milk to pot with peas and pig's tail.
6. Then I knead some flour to make some spinners. Add it to the mix after the milk boils for about two minutes or so.
7. Then I let that simmer for about a minute, then I add my scallion, onions, Scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, black pepper, all-purpose seasoning and a little butter. Let it simmer until it is nice and thick and creamy. Just serve that over some white rice and it is the nicest thing ever."