Friday, 30 January 2009

Newfoundland Pea Soup with Doughboys

newfoundland pea soup
Now I have to admit, I didn't even know there was a Newfoundland Pea Soup until I was searching for a recipe. Being Canadian I've always known about the French Canadian Pea soup of course and was intending to make that when I came across this. It's more or less the same as the Quebecois version except has added veg (very good) and is often topped with dumplings (very, very good!) Yes, I do have a dumpling addiction... Anyway, this was delicious simply flavoured with salt and pepper and is very hearty - perfect for this time of year, and as the UK is facing a cold snap this coming week I figured it was a good time to blog it!

Newfoundland Pea Soup - Vegan
2012 photo - a little brighter than the last one! As you can see I sometimes omit the dumplings and have it with some homemade brown bread - lovely :-)

I got this recipe from Natalie McMaster's website she of the Nova Scotian fiddler fame....not from Newfoundland but oh well! I did make a few changes, I added a couple bay leaves, used smoked sea salt to try and replicate what salt beef or ham hock may bring to pea soups, and used my own dumpling recipe as I prefer herb dumplings to plain.

One thing I can not figure out is where the name doughboys comes from for the dumplings, all searches for Newfoundland Pea Soup call for dumplings, except her version here, so if anyone can enlighten me on where the name comes from please let me know!

(Edit - thanks to clever folk the mystery is solved, see comments below!)

Newfoundland Pea Soup with Doughboys:

200g yellow split peas (1 cup)
65g onion, diced (1 medium)
75g celery, diced (1 large)
100g new potatoes, peeled and diced (2 medium)
50g turnip, diced - optional, I don't add this anymore as I never have any!
135g carrots, diced (1 medium)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp smoked sea salt, grinded if in flake form.
black pepper

Wash the peas well and place in a large saucepan with 5 cups water and the bay leaves, do not add salt. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly with the lid off for 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer, pop the lid on and simmer for 1 hour, stir now and again. When there is 20 minutes left, if the peas have turned to mush that's good. If not, mash them with a masher (remove bay leaves), you don't generally need to mash peas but we have very hard water where we are and if you do peas never fully break down so you may have to give them a hand. Add the veg, salt and a further 1 cup water. Stir, bring back to the boil and reduce to a simmer for the last 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent it sticking. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste, although I never add any more salt.


125g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed herbs
2 Tbsp vegetable suet
about 6 - 7 Tbsp cold water.

Mix all the dry ingredients then stir in the water to make a dough. Shape into 8 balls and drop into the soup. Cover and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until they are puffed up and cooked. Give a stir now and again, particularly under the dumplings as the soup may stick.

With a slotted spoon scoop out 2 doughboys per person then ladle over the soup. Serves 4.


  1. so what's French Canadian pea soup like? I've got to try your dumpling recipe, I've been very unlucky with boxed mixes so far.

  2. Hi!! Well, it's pretty much the same but with less veg, often still has the celery and carrot, and no dumplings, although there are lots of variations. It's traditionally cooked with 'salt pork' or 'ham hock' - I've been veggie so long I don't even know what those are! But, I used the smoked sea salt to try and replicate that. It's also made with whole peas, yellow or green. Both types of soup are very good though.

    The dumplings do work well as long as you don't handle the dough too much and they are dropped into a very hot soup which is then turned down to a simmer with the lid on. Lately I've just been dropping them in with a spoon and not even rolling them into balls, they get very light and airy then. Hope it works out for you!

    Love your blog by the way!

  3. Newfoundlanders use both terms ,doughboys and dumplings, interchangeably. I'm not sure of the meaning, but they are both pretty common terms. Usage probably is determined by which community one lives.

  4. Ah! Thanks so much! It's a great name for them too :)

  5. Late to comment, but doughboys came from "dough buoys" which would make sense given the nautical history of the island. Regardless of what they're called, they're yummy!

  6. Thanks so much Alyssa! That does make a lot of sense - nice to get that cleared up! :-)

  7. I married a newfie and he is desperate for pea soup with dumplings. It looks so tasty I can wait to try. Thank you!


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