The first batch of this soup I made about a month ago and it was just enough for me as I never thought anyone else in the house would care for it. When everyone else in our house think “Chicken Soup” they think about this recipe “A Hearty Chicken Soup For The Soul.” So when Tehya (middle daughter) asked to try it, I was quite pleased and a bit vex that I didn’t have more to share with her. The one thing she did say though… “dad, why is the chicken so white?”. Yup, Caribbean people hate seeing broiled or colorless meat and I guess I passed that on the her at some level.
So when she came and asked me to make another batch of this chicken soup, I was only too excited to abide. Hey, not only is my girl liking my food, but I was secretly craving a huge bowl as well.
3 lbs chicken (cut into portions)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 green bananas (cooking banana)
1 lb sweet potato
2 cups cubed pumpkin
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic sliced/crushed
1 hot pepper (scotch bonnet or habanero)
1 tablespoon salt * Check at the end to add more if necessary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or 1 teaspoon Caribbean style browning)
1 lb cassava
2 packages of Grace Cock Soup
* If you can’t get Grace cock Soup, a great substitution would be the Maggi pack soup or any chicken noodle soup that’s a bit spicy. For a richer body and taste to this soup, you can also add some Goldenray butter the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remember that butter is heavy on salt, so adjust accordingly.
* Add whatever ground provision you may have or like in your soup. * You’ll need a large pot. BTW, this can easily feed about 6 adults.
I like using dark meat for this soup as it’s cooked for a long time and I find the flavor is a bit more pronounced than if I use chicken breast. However you can use white meat if you so desire. Cut into serving size pieces and wash with lemon juice (I didn’t mention this in the ingredient list) and water, then drain. Now add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat. Start adding the pieces of chicken to the pot. Yes, I know my Trinbagonian people are probably saying “you eh season the meat man”. We’ll get to that a bit later. Brown as best as you can for a few minutes, turning each piece periodically.
After a few mninutes of browning (trust me it will never really get brown), add the black pepper, scallion, onion, garlic, thyme and parsley to the pot. Give that a good stir.
Allow that to cook on low/medium heat a bit. So we can have time to peel and cube the other ingredients (potato, carrot, sweet potato and green banana, pumpkin and cassava) . Give those things a rinse under cool water and drain. Now add it all to the pot and stir.
Also add the tomato paste and/or the Caribbean browning. Cover with water and bring to a boil on high heat. As it comes to a boil, add the cock soup, salt and the hot pepper. Leave the pepper whole and at the end you can either burst it to release the heat or you can fish it out to have things a bit milder. Now reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for about 30-40 minutes. Basically until the potatoes etc starts melting away and form a nice rich and thick broth. You can cook with the lid off or slightly ajar.
If you’re lucky enough to have some Goldenray butter, add the last 5 minutes or so of cooking and give it a minute or 2 before you check to see if there’s enough salt. As the Goldenray is a bit salty as well. If you’re using a basic chicken noodle soup mix to add instead of the cock soup, try to get one that’s low in sodium. so the overall dish is not salty.
You can be creative with this by adding other ingredients you like in soup, like.. dumplings, macaroni, beans or peas and other ground provisions. Some pieces of corn on the cob would probably work well in this soup as well.
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