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Caribbean Beef Soup


Caribbean Beef Soup

Caribbean Beef Soup

Photo by Cynthia Nelson

Soups on the whole are very hearty affairs in the Caribbean. They often contain some type of meat, ground provisions, dumplings, vegetables and peas, preferably split peas.

Each island has it's down traditional soup-day. In Jamaica it is Saturday and they make beef soup. Other islands choose Saturdays as their soup days also; for some it is Sundays.

This is how I make my beef soup.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 52 minutes

Resting time for dumplings: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Yield: Serves 5


  • 2 Tsp oil
  • 3/4 cup diced onions
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 lbs. bone-in stew beef, cut up
  • 1/2 cup yellow spit peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water
  • 1 lb. white sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 lb. half-ripe plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 6 - 8 okra, tops and tips removed
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (white and green parts)
  • Dumplings


  1. I make this soup in a pressure cooker but if you plan to use a regular pot, you will need to add more water to the soup and increase the cooking time.

  2. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker or pot

  3. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 2 - 3 minutes.

  4. Add 3 sprigs of thyme and sauté for 1 minute

  5. Add beef and sauté along with the onions and thyme for 3 minutes. Add split peas along with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Add 5 cups of water, stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Close the pressure cooker and let pressure for 20 - 22 minutes. Timing begins from the first whistle. If you are using a pot, and an extra cup of water, bring to a boil, cover and then let simmer for 30 - 35 minutes.

  7. Open pressure cooker and add sweet potatoes, plantains, carrots and remaining thyme and enough water to cook the ingredients and make soup. Let cook on high heat for 12 - 15 minutes. Do not lock pressure cooker; just let the cover rest on top of the pot.

  8. Add raw dumpling dough along with okra to pot; cover and let cook for 6 - 8 minutes or until the dumpling is cooked through.

  9. Taste soup for seasoning (salt and pepper) and adjust accordingly. Stir in green onions and serve.

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