Ladies and gents, I must confess that I’m not a fan of cow heel (cow foot or bull foot) soup and if it were up to me, this recipe would not have been found here as I normally don’t cook this. However, a fan on the CaribbeanPot.com Facebook page sent in a request and being the good boy I am.. I got the pot bubbling. Clevlan, this one is for you my brethren.
2 lbs cow heel *
1 teaspoon salt
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 carrots (cut in big pieces)
1 cup yellow split peas
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon veg oil
Okra (about 8-10)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 pimento berries (optional)
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
12-16 cups water
1 cup diced pumpkin
– 1 cup flour (all purpose)
– pinch salt
Notes: Make sure the cow heel is clean and cut into small pieces for easier cooking. Keep the scotch bonnet whole or burst open at the end if you want the kick from the heat it possesses.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pot on medium heat, add the diced onion, garlic, pimento berries, thyme, black pepper for 3-5 minutes and then add the cow heel. Stir well, then add the yellow split peas, salt, carrots and cover with water.. raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 2 hrs or 1/2 hr if using a pressure cooker. Drop the scotch bonnet pepper whole as it simmers.
As it simmers you’ll notice stuff gather at the top of the pot, skim and discard. After 2 hours the peas should be tender to the point where it will melt away and start thickening the soup. The pieces of cow heel will now be tender (and go gelatinous) , so it’s time to start adding the other ingredients. You can certainly add yams, dasheen, eddoes, green bananas etc, but I tried to keep this soup simple.
After adding the okra, potato, chopped scallions and pumpkin, it will take about 30 minutes to finish. So in a small bowl prepare the dumplings.. the flour, pinch of salt and enough water to form a soft but firm (to touch) dough. Let that rest for 15 minutes (cover with plastic wrap). Then the last 10 minutes of cooking, pinch small pieces of dough and roll between your hands to form a small cigar. Add to the pot and let cook for the final 10 minutes.
You will definitely need a large pot as no matter how hard you try.. when making any Caribbean soup, it always turns out to be a huge feast. There will be enough here for at least 8 people as a main dish. Taste for salt the last 4 minutes and adjust accordingly. Remember you can personalize this soup with the addition of yams, sweet potato, cassava, dasheen and cooking bananas, so get creative. If you want to add additional flavor you can always add a soup mix (Grace or Maggi) to the pot the final 30 minutes of cooking, but this is really not necessary.
At the end fish out the sprigs from the thyme and don’t forget to get the scotch bonnet pepper out. I like the kick from the pepper, so I usually burst it in the soup and enjoy the explosive flavor. But proceed with caution as it will be live with that Caribbean sunshine.
IMPORTANT – Do not add flour dumplings if doing this recipe gluten free as it will not meet with your gluten free dietary needs.