November 29, 2023

Jamaican Corn Soup: Whether it’s red peas, chicken or beef, Jamaicans love their soup on a Saturday. So, I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a Jamaican household or because I love one pot meals but, for me, soup is a perfect meal to make. That’s because I can get a lot of other things done around the house while it’s simmering on the stove, it’s filling and also great to have as leftovers.

When my mother was growing up in Jamaica, Rastafarian culture was very much on the fringes of society so she isn’t too familiar with the popular Ital (rasta-style vegetarian) dishes that have now crossed over to mainstream tastes.  So, for all of you who have been requesting vegetarian dishes, she asked me to share my Jamaican Corn Soup recipe.  That’s because it’s inspired by a Rastafarian known for his own corn soup. I call it One Lovely Corn Soup because it’s full of flavour, texture and a sweet heat that warms you from inside out. By the way, if you like you’re meat, it’s also brilliant with some cooked chicken or crispy bacon added to it.

1 tbsp Cooking Oil
1 small Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 stalk Celery, diced
10 cups Water
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
3 large Vegetable Bouillon cubes
1 cup dry yellow Split Peas
3 cups Jamaican pumpkin (or acorn squash), cubed
2 inch piece fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
3 sprigs fresh Thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
3 Red medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cobs fresh corn (or 4 cups frozen kernals)
3 Carrots, diced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1 scotch bonnet pepper, whole (optional)



1. Saute onion, garlic and celery in cooking oil until onion is transparent

2. Add water, coconut milk, boullion, split peas and 2 cups of pumpkin/squash to pot and bring to a boil on High
3. Lower heat and cook on a slow boil until the split peas are soft; about 20 to 30 minutes

4. In the meantime, cut 2 cobs of corn into 1/2-inch “wheels” and shave the kernels off of the remaining 2 cobs; set aside. If corn is not in season you can use 4 cups of frozen corn kernals instead.

5. Optional: once split peas are soft, use a hand blender to puree the broth in the pot until smooth

6. Add the remaining pumpkin/squash, potatoes, carrots, corn, ginger and thyme to the pot and simmer on medium for about 20 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are soft

7. Stir in the remaining seasonings: black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. If using, place the scotch bonnet pepper on top

8.  Simmer soup for about 5 to 10 more minutes or until the flavour of the seasonings are released into the soup; discard scotch bonnet pepper

Serves 8 to 10

Growing up my mother taught me and my sisters how to cook and bake, but the Jamaican dishes were always her territory. So now, years later, Iike you I'm learning how to cook like a Jamaican! From time to time I also share my own recipes that feature modern twists on traditional Jamaican dishes and ingredients.


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