Wassup peeps! If you've been looking for recipes with pigeon peas you've come to the right place. Today, I'm gonna take you on a flavorful journey to the heart of the Caribbean with my mouthwatering stewed pigeon pea recipe. Picture this: tender pigeon peas, simmered low and slow in a rich and aromatic broth, infused with a medley of vibrant spices including curry that'll have your taste buds doin' a little dance.
This vegan remix of a traditional dish is a true labor of love, passed down through generations, and it's guaranteed to warm your soul and transport you straight to the tropical islands. So grab a seat, let the tantalizing aroma fill the air, and get ready to savor every delightful spoonful of this hearty and comforting Caribbean delicacy. Buckle up, folks, 'cause we're about to embark on a culinary adventure you won't soon forget!
This Caribbean inspired comfort and hearty pigeon pea stew has got it all - flavor, nourishment, and good feels!
What Are Pigeon Peas?
Pigeon peas are a pea native to India and Africa, but probably more commonly used in the Caribbean as the peas travelled with enslaved Africans to different areas of the Caribbean. They look like a cross between brown lentils and green peas. They are used in Indian dal recipes similar to lentils. Flavor-wise I’d describe them as rich and nutty.
Pigeon peas are big in Jamaica where they are typically eaten with Jamaican rice. If you've ever rice and peas as a side dish to jerk chicken or any other Jamaican classic then you've likely had "Jamaican pigeon peas." It is similar to how we enjoy a bowl of red beans and rice here in the States.
This stew is actually vegan and relies on a unique combination of ingredients including coconut milk and curry for elevated flavor.
Brown vs. Green Pigeon Peas
When it comes to pigeon peas, you may come across two common varieties: green and brown.
Green Pigeon Peas: Green pigeon peas are harvested when they are young and still in their pods. They have a vibrant green color and a slightly milder flavor compared to their mature counterparts. Green pigeon peas are often used in dishes where a more delicate and fresh taste is desired. They cook relatively quickly and maintain a tender texture when prepared.
Brown Pigeon Peas: On the other hand, brown pigeon peas are left to mature and dry on the plant before being harvested. They have a darker, earthy brown color and a stronger, nuttier flavor. Brown pigeon peas are typically used in recipes that require longer cooking times, such as stews or soups, as they need more time to soften and fully develop their flavors.
Both green and brown pigeon peas offer their unique characteristics, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your culinary preferences and the requirements of your recipe. Whether you opt for the fresh green pigeon peas or the robust and flavorful brown ones, you're sure to enjoy the wholesome goodness that these legumes bring to your meals.
Pigeon peas are that food that you just always come back to again. For whatever reason I have a thing for heavy synthesized music. The 80’s was the decade for it. Carly Simon’s “Come Around Again” is that slow drag synthesized beat. It’s got that Island pace to it. And in planning this bowl of pig pea stew I envisioned myself on island time.
Ingredients Needed To Make This Pigeon Pea Recipe
- Dried Pigeon Peas
- Yellow Onion
- Garlic Cloves
- Acorn Squash
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper (Habanero pepper is a good substitute)
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Curry Powder
- Fresh Thyme
- Vegetable Stock
- Creamy Coconut Milk
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Bay Leaf
- Green Onions (for garnishing)
How To Make Pigeon Pea Stew
Bring peas to a boil in a large pot of water. Remove from heat and allow the peas to soak for an hour. Otherwise you can do an overnight soak by placing the beans in a pot of cold water ensuring they’re well covered by the water.
In a large dutch oven pot, heat olive oil. Saute the onions, garlic, and carrots a few minutes. Season with the spices (salt, pepper, allspice, and curry) as you go.
Add the cabbage and squash and cook for 3-4 minutes. Make sure to coat the vegetables well with all the flavor that is building in the pot.
Using the point of a sharp knife, slice a few small slits into the sides of the habanero. Add the habanero, thyme, and bay leaf.
Layer in the liquid ingredients - coconut milk and vegetable stock, plus peas and tomatoes mixing all the ingredients well. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for about 2 hours.
Serve the cooked peas with fluffy long grain rice.
What To Serve With Pigeon Peas
When it comes to serving pigeon pea stew, there are a variety of delicious accompaniments that can elevate the meal and create a well-rounded dining experience. Here are a few options to consider:
- Rice: Pigeon pea stew pairs wonderfully with a side of fluffy white rice. The rice can help soak up the flavorful broth and provide a neutral base that complements the rich and aromatic stew.
- Plantains: Sweet, ripe plantains make a delightful addition to your pigeon pea stew. You can slice them and either fry or bake them until they develop a caramelized exterior, adding a touch of sweetness and a contrasting texture to the hearty stew.
- Bread: A crusty loaf of bread, such as French baguette or cornbread, can be served alongside the stew. It's perfect for mopping up every last bit of the delectable broth and adds a comforting element to the meal.
- Salad: To add some freshness to the meal, consider serving a refreshing salad on the side. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette or a tropical fruit salad can provide a vibrant contrast to the warm and savory flavors of the stew.
- Fried or Grilled Meat: For a heartier meal, you can serve the pigeon pea stew with some grilled or fried meat. Popular options include chicken, pork, or fish. The savory proteins will complement the flavors of the stew and add an extra layer of satisfaction to your plate.
- Steamed Vegetables: Another option is to serve steamed vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, or green beans, alongside the stew. The bright colors and tender textures of the vegetables can provide a balanced and nutritious element to the meal.
Cooking Considerations and Tips
Pigeon peas should be treated liked most beans/legumes in that you’ll want to soak overnight ahead of time
Gandules, gungo, and pigeon peas are the same thing. So if you’ve had Arroz con Gandules then you’ve eaten pigeon peas before.
Most grocery stores will carry them in the dried beans section. If not you can find them in more specialty stores. Then there is always Amazon.
Black-eyed peas or baby lima beans are decent substitutes for gandules if you have difficulty finding them.
Be mindful of the habanero stewing in the pot. After about an hour in the pot you can remove. Otherwise, you run the risk of it disintegrating into the stew dropping some serious heat and disrupting the flavor a lot!
If you feel the need for rice, go all in and serve with coconut ginger rice. The stew is filling enough if you serve a big bowl, but collard greens or smothered green beans. make a great side dish. For a meat protein serve with brown stewed chicken.
Dried peas are preferred to canned given the longer cooking time. If you are so lucky fresh pigeon peas are a great option.
This recipe also works with other beans like black eyed peas, kidney beans, or lentils.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Cooking Gungo Peas
What is the traditional way to cook pigeon peas in the Caribbean?
In the Caribbean, pigeon peas are often cooked in a stew-like fashion. They are simmered with aromatic spices, herbs, and sometimes meats like salted pork or ham hocks to enhance the flavor. They are also prepared in pigeon peas and rice similar to most rice and beans dishes.
Can I use canned pigeon peas instead of dried ones?
Yes, you can use canned pigeon peas if dried ones are not available. However, keep in mind that canned pigeon peas may have a slightly different texture compared to the dried ones.
Can I make pigeon peas without meat for a vegetarian version?
Absolutely! You can omit the meat and make a delicious vegetarian version of pigeon peas by using vegetable broth or water as a base and adding a variety of vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and spinach for added flavor and nutrition.
What are some popular dishes that include pigeon peas?
Pigeon peas are a key ingredient in many popular Caribbean dishes, such as arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), pelau (one-pot rice dish with pigeon peas and meat), and akra (fried fritters made with pigeon peas).
Can I freeze cooked pigeon peas?
Yes, you can freeze cooked pigeon peas. Allow them to cool completely, then transfer them to airtight containers or freezer bags. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat when ready to use.
make this recipe
Boom!!! There you have it —my soulful rendition of a classic Caribbean dish, the stewed plump pigeon peas. I hope y'all have enjoyed this flavorful journey with me, where we've explored the depths of Caribbean cuisine and the wonders of these humble little legumes. From the tender texture of the pigeon peas to the rich blend of spices that infuse every spoonful, this recipe is a true testament to the power of good ol' soul food.
So whether you're looking to add some Caribbean flair to your dinner table or simply craving a taste of the islands, this stewed pigeon pea recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings and warm your heart. Remember, food ain't just about nourishment—it's about coming together, sharing stories, and creating memories.
So go ahead, gather your loved ones, and let the intoxicating aroma of simmering pigeon peas fill your home. Until next time, keep cookin' with love and savoring the flavors that make life so delicious. Stay blessed, y'all!
If you make this pigeon pea stew or any other recipe please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 1 lb Pigeon Peas
- 1 whole Yellow Onion diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic diced
- 2 Medium Carrots cut on the diagonal
- 1 Small Acorn Squash peeled, deseeded, and diced
- 1 Small Cabbage core removed and roughly chopped
- 1 Whole Habanero
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon All Spice
- ½ tablespoon Ground Curry
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1 quart Vegetable Stock
- 13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
- 13.5 oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 whole Bay Leaves
- Bring peas to a boil in a large pot of water. Remove from heat and allow the peas to soak for an hour. Otherwise you can do an overnight soak by placing the beans in a pot of cold water ensuring they’re well covered by the water.
- In a large dutch oven pot, heat olive oil. Saute the onions, garlic, and carrots a few minutes. Season with the spices (salt, pepper, allspice, and curry) as you go.
- Add the cabbage and squash and cook for 3-4 minutes. Make sure to coat the vegetables well with all the flavor that is building in the pot.
- Using the point of a sharp knife, slice a few small slits into the sides of the habanero. Add the habanero, thyme, and bay leaf.
- Layer in the liquid ingredients - coconut milk and vegetable stock, plus peas and tomatoes mixing all the ingredients well. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for about 2 hours.
Saturday 12th of March 2022
Great recipe! However, pay attention to the number of servings! It defaulted to "Serves 8" on the webpage, and I ended up having to do this in a large and very full stock pot! Good thing it freezes well.
Monday 21st of February 2022
This is a great vegetarian recipe! I have tried many vegetarian recipes over the years and been disappointed. I eat meat and I eat what tastes good in general and this dish tastes great! I used "Better than Bullion" brand vegetable stock to make the quart of veggie stock, and I think that made a difference, b/c I've used other brands of veg bullion in the past in vegetarian recipes and they were nasty (and the recipes were too). I had to substitute a serrano for the habanero bc neither grocery store near me had habaneros. I also used lite coconut milk and canned pigeon peas. I used an acorn squash versus the butternut. This was such a good recipe even my beef-preferring dad liked it. A bit too spicy for my mom, with the serrano, which I left in for about 50 minutes. Just right for me and my dad, flavorful heat, not just heat. My first time attempting to make anything Caribbean for myself. I will definitely make it again, as written, and we want to try it with some added shredded chicken or beef. Thanks!!
Monday 21st of February 2022
Thanks for the feedback/comments. Glad you guys liked it. I think the shredded chicken would go well!
Sunday 13th of February 2022
This is amazing. I did add a lb of chicken thighs, but I know it would have been delicious either way. Huge thumbs up!
Monday 14th of February 2022
Thank you! I love the chicken add btw