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Jamaican Style Beef Soup

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

Back home in Jamaica, many mothers and grandmothers leave home early to grab farmers' best at the market to make 'Satdeh soup'. Soup on a Saturday has always been a tradition. When it comes to ingredients, rather than using an onion, celery and carrot base (mirepoix) we use pumpkin, carrot, thyme and scallion as staples in most of our soups. Instead of noodles we make dumplings which are either round disc shapes or spinners which are very tiny, skinny dumplings made by rolling dough between the palms.

I like a very rich soup so I prefer when ninety percent of the pumpkin and carrots get mashed out rather than having a thin broth with lots of solid pieces of vegetables (my other half knows this...he is the preferred soup cook in the house) Other things you may find in a Jamaican’s Soup pot would be yellow yam, cho-cho (chayote), Irish potato, coco, dasheen and of course whole scotch bonnet pepper (jabanero if that's what you have) for heat and flavour. Every homecook has their favourites, but when it comes to seasoning the pot, many Jamaicans use bouillons as well as a soup mix packet from one of our favourite brands. The key to developing the flavour is also to simmer for a verrry long time so everything can mesh together creating perfect harmony in your pot :) This is why most of us cook the soup while we do laundry or clean the house on a Saturday. Makes perfect sense! However if you're busy dont sweat it! Use the right ingredients and techniques and the soup will be delish!


About 10 cups water*

1 - 2 lbs soup beef(usually tough, cheap cuts of beef with some fat and bone in tact) Trim the beef of excess fat and rinse with lime juice and water

2 tsps salt

2 - 3 large carrots, diced

1lb Jamaican pumpkin, diced**

½ lb yellow yam, peeled and cubed

4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 stalks escallion

1 – 2 whole scotch bonnet pepper

6 pimento grains

1-2 beef soup boullions

1 Pumpkin Beef soup mix packet (add a little at a time and taste the liquid)

Dumpling ingredients:

2 cups All purpose flour

Enough water

to form a firm dough

salt to taste

  1. For the dumplings: Combine water and the flour and knead to make a smooth dough. Set dough aside.

  2. In a pressure cooker, place the garlic, salt and soup beef. Cook till beef is tender then pour everything into a large pot. If you don't own a pressure cooker just boil the meat for several hours in a regular large pot till tender.

  3. To the large pot add the carrot and pumpkin. At this point I let it simmer for a long time to allow the veggies to get very soft.

  4. To make the dumplings, just roll pieces of dough into balls and flatten each ball(like the one on the picture above) To make spinners, put tiny pieces of dough between your palms and rub to form skinny cylindrical shapes. Drop each in the simmering pot. Peel the yam and cut into cubes and add to the pot.

  5. Once the yam and dumpling are mostly cooked, add the thyme, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento and stir in the boullion, pumpkin soup mix. Simmer for another 20 minutes or less and check to make sure the yam and spinners are completely cooked before removing the soup from the stove.

  6. Remove the thyme and scotch bonnet pepper as well as pimento grains (if you can find them) before serving.


*Use more or less water depending on how rich or thin you want the soup to be. You may add more hot water during cooking as well.

** The smaller they're cut the easier they will soften and enrich the soup

YIELD: at least 6 servings

For bigger pot just double up on the ingredients' quantities

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