Sunday, 22 January 2017

Globecooking recipe : Pea Soup & Dough Boys (Newfoundland) #readcookeat

 Looking through the cupboard last night in search of ingredients to make soup, I came across a box of split peas. I already have a go-to recipe for split pea and bacon soup which is very tasty, but I fancied something a bit different. I had to chuckle when I turned to google and came across one of my own blogposts from back in 2014 when I read my first Sgt Windflower mystery, Beneath The Surface (click through to read my review), and did a roundup of Newfoundland food mentioned in the book.

p10 The pea soup came first. It was the traditional creamy Newfoundland split pea soup with tiny flecks of salt meat and a rather doughy looking dumpling in the middle.

I've never been convinced by dumplings, expecting something that is heavy, stodgy and totally bland, but in the interests of globecooking, I'll try anything once ! Well, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. If you want something that will fill you up without costing a fortune, this is definitely the way to go.

I looked up several recipes for Newfoundland Pea Soup and Dough Boys and ended up using these ones from Spark Recipes,, Rock Recipes and Feathering My Nest for inspiration.

Newfoundland  Pea Soup & Dough Boys

ingredients :

200g bacon lardons (or salt beef if you want to be more authentic and can get hold of it)
2 onions
2 cups split peas
2 carrots
2 potatoes
1 ham stock cube

for the dough boys :

1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
a big pinch of rock salt with rosemary
1/2 cup warm milk
1/8 cup melted butter

Start frying the bacon until it releases some fat then add the onions (I chose to chop them and leave them in - some of the recipes said to use a whole onion and remove it before serving but that sounded like a waste to me !)

You don't need to soak the split peas but, according to the on-pack instructions, they do need to be rinsed. Add them to the pot and cover with boiling water.

This instantly produced a lot of thick foam which rose to the surface - I'm not sure if it was the fat from the bacon or the starch from the peas or a combination of both ? Whatever it was, I skimmed it off and it didn't come back !

Dice the carrots and potatoes (I didn't bother peeling the potatoes) and add them to the pot.

Add more liquid (keep a close watch on it because it absorbs a lot of water during the cooking process) and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.

Time to start on the dough boys (dumplings). Put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Some of the recipes used solid butter rubbed into the flour but I went for the simple version and melted it, along with the milk, in the microwave until warm.

Pour the milk/butter into the dry ingredients and quickly stir with a wooden spoon until it creates a sticky dough. Add extra flour if needed.

Turn down the heat on the soup and give it a final stir - with hindsight, I should have added more water at this point. Fling teaspoon-sized dollops of dough boy mix into the hot soup. You can move them around once they're immersed if you need extra space.

Put a lid on the pot and leave until the dough boys have puffed up (about 10-15 minutes).

They will rise to the surface and pretty much cover the entire surface of the pan.

Underneath, things didn't look so good. The soup had absorbed all the water and started to stick and burn to the bottom of the pan. Whatever you do, don't scrape off the stuck bits or you will spoil the taste of the soup with the bitter burnt bits.

I transferred the soup to a separate pan, leaving a layer on the original pan to avoid scraping up the burnt bits.

I added some hot water because it was very thick and gave it all a good stir.

You can serve the dough boys in the soup or on the side - apparently some people even like pouring molasses over them !

This is the ultimate stick-to-your-ribs winter warmer ! The dumplings soak up all the soup flavours and most of them ended up with bacon pieces stuck to them so they were delicious.

Adding to the #readcookeat linky over at Chez Maximka.


  1. I've never heard of dough boys, that's a cute name for dumplings. I'm not a big fan of dumplings, but the soup sounds very flavourful. I suppose the dough boys are the substitute of bread.

    1. I suppose they're a frugal way of filling hungry tummies, which is why people originally made them. They tasted lovely with rock salt and rosemary added, even though I was sceptical !


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