Comfort Food · Food for a Fiver · Soup

West Indian Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup, I must admit, is not exactly one of them dishes that are especially photogenique. But if you are looking for a warming, comfort food type, meal with a lovely velvety texture and a rich taste with a little retrospective sting to it, you’ve got to try this.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 scotch bonnet (use pepper sauce or other chillies if you can’t find scotch bonnets)
  • 1 calabaza or butternut squash
  • 2 large baking potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 a cup cilantro or parsley
  • 4 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 tspn dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • chicken or chicken feet (optional)

Directions:

  1. Chop up all the vegetables in large cubes
  2. Finely chop the scotch bonnet and the herbs (but not the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs)
  3. Heat the oil in a Dutch pot or a big soup pot.
  4. Add the onions, garlic and scotch bonnet and stir until the onion is soft
  5. Add the rest of the vegetables, the herbs, the bay leaves and thyme sprigs together with the chicken stock.
  6. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  7. Allow to simmer for about half an hour until all vegetables are soft.
  8. Remove bay leaves and thyme twigs
  9. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. (I like the hand held ones you can use in the pot as it saves you doing a lot of extra washing up…)
  10. Serve with fresh bread and enjoy! =)

Personally, I like to have chicken in this soup, whereas the Man wants chicken feet in it. None of them is necessary, but add to the taste. When you make the broth, or stock if you like, (because let’s face it – the cubed versions are nowhere near as nice as the home made stuff) you can use a boiler hen and add chicken feet at the end (last half hour or so) of the boiling process and save the meat and the feet to add to the soup after it has been pureed.

I would also like to add that I like to add some maggi seasoning and a bit of guinness to my soup, but again both are optional. Some people also like to add some cream or to put a dollop of sour cream on top of the soup.

The soup can be kept in the freezer, but you will need to add some extra water when you heat it. It won’t have the same velvety texture, but it will still have the same lovely taste.

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Caribbean · Soup

Cream of Peanut Soup

I must admit that peanut soup is not something I would have come up with in my lifetime, but this recipe is delicious with a freshly baked bread.

Cummon, you know you just have to try it… =)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 grated onion
  • 1 chopped celery stick
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • chopped leaves of 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and hot pepper sauce to taste
  • 1 tbsp cilantro/coriander, chopped to garnish

Ingredients:

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  2. Add onion, celery, garlic and thyme.
  3. Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly.
  5. Keep stirring while adding stock slowly.
  6. Increase the heat and add peanut butter.
  7. Reduce heat, add milk, salt and hot pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Garnish with cilantro/coriander.
Atkins/Low Carb · Caribbean · Slow Cooking · Soup

Callaloo or Pepperpot Soup

The Callaloo, or Pepperpot Soup, is a traditional dish in the West Indies that dates back to the Arawak Indians. It was basically a stew that kept going on the fire and you just kept adding some new bits and bobs to it every day.

At the plantations this soup was later made by the slaves who would get scraps of meat and had to make the most of it to get food that was as tasty and nutritious as possible.

These days we can choose what meat we put in our pepperpot, and you will find that there are as many versions as there are people cooking it. This is a cheap but nourishing meal that keeps you warm and happy on a chilly day and I strongly recommend that you try it. Why not make a big batch and put some in the freezer for one of those days when cooking is not on the menu.

There’s shrimp in this recipe, but they are of course optional. And the meat is not carved in stone. Take what you have or what you would prefer. Fresh, salted, smoked etc – anything goes. And it doesn’t have to be the same, you can mix beef, pork, sausage etc. The same goes for the veggies – the only thing you must have is the callaloo and even that can be substituted. With spinach. So go ahead and make your own pepperpot! =)

Ingredients:

  • 450g stewing beef, cubed
  • 125g salt pork, cubed
  • 2litres water
  • 450g (2 small or 1 big tin) callaloo
  • 450g dasheen, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, chopped
  • 225g yams
  • 225g malanga
  • 12 okras
  • 115g cooked shrimp
  • 1tbsp creamed coconut
  • 1tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Simmer the meats in 1,5 litres of water in a large covered pot for an hour.
  2. Add all the other ingredients but the okra and the butter and simmer until the veggies are tender and the soup appears to be thickened.
  3. Saute the okras in butter for 5-10 minutes
  4. Gently stir the okras, the shrimp and the creamed coconut into the pot.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes