I could never get used to this winter thing, no matter how long I’ve been calling this place home. The short days, constant overcast conditions (I’ve seen the sun 3 times so far this month and it’s already the 19th) and the bitter cold that seems to have arrived earlier than I expected. As I post this recipe, it’s about -12 C and it will only get colder as we move in January and February. On such cold days the order of the day is a good Caribbean soup or… a sunny vacation and that eh happening.. Like the other soup recipes I’ve shared in the past, this one will have the consistency and texture of a North American stew, but you’ll find that it will be much more sizzling and explosive!
1-2 lbs beef bones (get ones with a bit of meat)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion diced
3 cloves of garlic sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large carrot diced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 scallion diced
1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
dash ground allspice
2 cups beef broth
4 cups water
3 medium eddoes
3 medium potatoes
3 medium sweet potato
4 green bananas (fig)
1lb cassava (see note below)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pack Grace cock soup
1 1/2 cup flour (for dumpling)
1/4 cup water for dumplings
Rinse off the beef bones, since the saw they used to cut the bones may leave back a bit of grit. Dry with some paper towels and get ready to brown. In a large pot heat the oil over medium/high heat, then add the beef bones. If you can’t source beef bones, feel free to use any cheap cut of boneless beef instead. Allow that to brown for about 5 minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Let it cook another 3 minutes or so, then add the thyme, black pepper, ground allspice, salt, scallion and carrot pieces. Top with the beef broth and 4 cups of water and add the scotch bonnet pepper (whole). Bring that up to a boil, then cover and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. This will cook for about 1 hour to get the pieces of meat on the bones, tender.
While this cooks, I prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel the potato, sweet potato, eddoes, green bananas and cassava if you’re using fresh. I opted to use frozen cassava, which is just as good as the fresh ones and easily available in many grocery stores. I usually cut these into halves, so they cook the same time. Give them a rinse under cool water and then place them in a bowl where they can all fit. Top that with water so it doesn’t go discolored.
After 1 hour, remove the bones from the pot and set aside. Now add the eddoes, green banana, cassava (if you’re using frozen cassava as I did, do check the cooking time on the package and adjust accordingly), potato and sweet potato. The next step is to add the Grace Cock Soup mix into the pot and bring this up to a gentle boil (covered). Allow this to cook for about 20 minutes.
The bones we removed should be cool now. Remove any meat you can off the bones and return that to the pot. The bones you can discard as they will be very tough and have no real use. It’s then time to prepare the dough for the dumplings.
In a medium size bowl, put the flour and a dash of sugar (optional) and start with 1/4 cup water. I’m not the best at kneading flour, so I usually start off using a fork. I work the four until it forms a crude ball, then I go in with my hands. Add water accordingly as you knead the dough. You need a somewhat firm dough ball. Allow that to rest for about 5 minutes.
Using the tip of a knife, pierce a piece of the eddoes (any of the ground provision) and if there’s no resistance, it means it’s cooked. Should take about 15-20 minutes from the time you added them. Pinch off small pieces of dough and using the palms of both hands work that to form the shape of a cigarette (see pics below). Add them to the pot as you go along. If you find that the dough is sticking to your hand, use some flour on your hands.
After you’ve added all the dumplings, give it a good stir to ensure all the dumplings are covered by liquid. Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes, then you’re done. If you have “salt butter” GoldenRay butter, feel free to add a small piece. Now you can fish the whole pepper out of the pot, or if you want that true Caribbean flavour, burst it open to release the Sizzle!
Note: When peeling the ground provisions (eddoes, cassava and green banana) rub some oil over your hands or use gloves, as you may find that your hands may itch a bit after.
If you find that you can’t get the Grace cock soup, a good substitute is any sort of quick-cook chicken noodle soup (like Liptons) or check for a Maggi cube or soup mix. For more soup recipes, check the links mentioned below. And before you go I’d really appreciate it if you could leave me a comment below – even if it’s just to say hello. And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, by clicking on the image on the upper right side of the page. That’s also where you’ll find the link to all the cooking videos.