Stewed Pigeon Peas

Every Christmas (yes, I’m still talking about Christmas (in January of 2012) *grins*), Caribbean nationals usually have a pot of stewed pigeon peas on the stove. That, usually, is my second favorite thing to eat on Christmas day (the first, being “salt ham” ). We (my family), for a few years, used to have a plot of land with pigeon peas planted and every December, I would either have to help pick the peas (off the trees) or shell the peas or even do both. Man, it was not easy work. But on Christmas Day at lunch time when I got a large portion of stewed peas, all the stings from the trees (and insects therein) and all the pain my thumb and index fingers endured (having turned the color of the peas too for shelling soooo many), faded away. It would always be worth it. Unfortunately, I’m now in the great big U.S of A. and fresh pigeon peas? Well I wouldn’t even know where to look. So I have to resort to canned pigeon peas which does not taste as great as fresh ones but when the spirit of Christmas overtakes you, man, you’ll eat whatever you can get just to sustain tradition!

As with a lot of the recipes that I know by heart (learned many many moons ago), I don’t have an exact measurement for ingredients. You can refer to Valerie’s recipe but I would omit the “lots of curry” though I’ve only known a few people who would add 1/2 tsp at most.

Ingredients: (some of the things I used are omitted from the photo but in the ingredient list)
2 cans fresh pigeon peas
vegetable oil
green bell pepper
fresh thyme (I used dried thyme)
a tomato
a touch of curry powder
drop of pepper sauce
dash of italian seasonings**
salt and black pepper

* A personal preference, certainly optional.

1. Heat oil in large pot.
2. Add cloves garlic and onion and let get translucent.
3. Add the peas to the oil. Stir quickly.
4. Add the peppers, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot.
5. Add the water and let come to a boil and let simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
6. Add the tomatoes, margarine, ketchup and hot sauce and cook for approximately 30 minutes more over medium heat or until the peas are tender.

This is a perfect side to white rice and baked chicken. So yummy!

Bye For Now…..

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17 thoughts on “Stewed Pigeon Peas

  1. Hi Tia,

    I love, love pigeon peas. As old as I am, I too remember picking and sometimes, shelling the fresh, green peas. In T&T, we usually prepared them combined with stewed chicken, in those times; then again, Pigeon and Rice is part of T&T’s national dish collection along with Crab & Calallo (the dish itself) and browned stewed beef, pork or chicken. Here in the US, I usually do prepare mine from the can–GOYA too, and sometimes frozen fresh ones sold @ the Spanish tienda. My fam, even though all born in the US, love these dishes to no end.

    Terrific. Go girl!


    • Crab and Callaloo, oh how I love thee!

      All those dishes are dishes I loveeeeee myself and cook occasionally. Pigeon peas, when I was growing up, was a luxury. Some peleau or soup with pigeon peas was definitely “the good, rich life”. I must go looking for the frozen ones that you described because all I’ve seen are the canned ones, which aren’t nearly as good, as fresh peas.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Hey Tia,

        Girl U definitely know how to describe the pots! In what state are U? The frozen and sometimes fresh green pigeon peas can be found in cities with large %s of Latin-American population as well as those with West Indians. The frozen ones were Goya’s; they are imported from DR, PR, or sometimes, from other Afro-Caribbean islands. The frozen green ones I found were here in Denver, CO at la tienda and at another time, both in Brooklyn and Queens, NY; the Korean stores there would usually carry them. I also found, in Denver, frozen banana leaves, to make pame–with the meat and pastelles–the sweet ones with grated coconut, raisins and spices.

        Keep talking Tia, I’m listening.

        @Jennille, girl, sometimes I eat them just so too. Sometimes, I can’t even finish cooking the pot, will put some in a bowl and go away.


      • I will definitely have to go to the Korean store asking when I make my monthly trip to Brooklyn, New York then. I’ve never had pame (or pastelles). will have to research it.

        Thanks for the support Dahlia! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment *high five*

  2. Had never heard of pigeon peas and have only ever been to Grenada (by the way, where are you from in the Caribbean?) and we didn´t have them there :( Shame, and I don´t think I´ll find them in Andalucia. Will have to look out for them next time I am in London as my old neighbourhood has plenty of Caribbean stores!

  3. Chica,

    Sure are lucky!

    I lived in Zaragoza, Espana for 2 years during the late ’70s. I traveled every where north and northeast. Had a great treat with the food. Spanish cuisine is my second ethnic food specialty after Caribbean.

    Hope to hear from U again. (Check my FB page; just search my name)


  4. Hi Tia!

    Pame is a Spanish/African delicacy made with freshly grated cornmeal from soaked dried corn. In today’s climate, we use coarsely ground cornmeal. As you know, we Caribbeans have some Spanish history. Most, if not all of the Latin American countries have a simliar dish made with cornmeal with a savory meat stuffing variation, wrapped in banana leaves and bolied. The pastelles (Spanish), or pastel (for Caribbean) is the sweet
    version–spices, freshly greated coconut with its milk in tact, raisins (if not another dried fruit), and a little butter–blended, wrapped in the leaves and boiled. The leaves impart a definite flavor to the food itself. I smell that flavor through my imagination’s childhood memory. (recipes on line)


    • I’m glad to take you down memory lane.

      You don’t even see them in Walmart? Because Goya has canned pigeon peas and I’ve been to a bizillion Walmarts and I always see them. Also, most supermarkets with an International aisle usually carry the canned ones (nowhere as good as the fresh ones) but they’ll do in a fix. You should look out for them!

  5. Pingback: My Weekend in Food « IamSimplyTia

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