Stew peas is a Jamaican stew prepared using coconut milk, beans and salted meat. It is a common and popular dish in Jamaica.
Stew peas is a Jamaican stew dish prepared using coconut milk, gungo peas (pigeon peas) or red peas (kidney beans), uncured meats and salted meats such as pork and beef as primary ingredients. Additional ingredients can include onion, garlic, mix vegetables, scallions, pig tail, herbs and spices. In addition to being a main ingredient, the beans also serve to thicken the stew. Pinto beans are more commonly used in the dish in Spanish-speaking areas of the Caribbean. Canned beans can also be used to prepare stew peas, and the dish can be prepared using a pressure cooker. It is sometimes prepared without the use of meat.
In Jamaica, stew peas is often prepared using flour dumplings known as "spinners" in Jamaica. Stew peas is commonly served atop rice or with a side dish of rice. Rice is typically not included in the stew itself when it is cooked, and the stew serves to moisten and complement the separately-prepared rice. Stew peas contains a considerable amount of protein.
Stew peas is available in many areas of the Caribbean, is very popular in Jamaica, and has been described as a national dish of Jamaica. The dish is prepared in various unique ways by Jamaicans, and has been described as a staple dish in Jamaican homes and restaurants. In September 1992, the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner declared stew peas with rice as "the best dish made in Jamaica" in its Home, Living and Food Guide.
Stew peas has been a dish in Jamaica since at least the 1940s, and recipes for it began to appear in cookbooks in the 1970s.