It’s one of those soups you really have to try before passing judgement. Like so many traditional dishes from the Caribbean (and globally), you’ll find people will be cautious and at times have negative comments, even though they fail to give it a try. You’ll notice that in the Caribbean we tend to use most of the animal with great success. Feet/trotters, tails, snout.. yea, not all that appetizing or so you’d think.
After a few years of not having chicken foot soup, I must admit that I had to coax myself to come to terms about eating ‘feet”. But one spoonful and it took me back to my days on the islands where this would be a big part of “Soup Saturdays”.
1 lb chicken feet (cleaned and trimmed)
2 chicken stock cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 green cooking bananas
5 small eddoes
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon veg oil
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
2 cups diced pumpkin
salt (taste and adjust accordingly)
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 medium carrots
* You can add flour dumplings, yams, cassava, dasheen and other ingredients to personalize this chicken foot soup. If you’re making this gluten free, do pay attention to the ingredients listed, especially if you’re adding dumplings.
We need to prep all the ingredients.. make sure your butcher clean and trim the chicken feet (remove the yellow skin and cut off the sort of toes) and prepare the vegetables. Peel, cut into big pieces (same size if possible) and wash. Set the prepared vegetables (and ground provisions) in a bowl covered with water to prevent them from going discolored.
Heat the oil on a medium flame in a soup pot and go in with the chopped scallion, onion, garlic and thyme. Turn the heat down to low and let that gently cook for about 4-5 minutes. Then add the washed (and trimmed) chicken feet to the pot. Turn up the heat to med-high.
Add about 4-6 cups of hot water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rolling boil and let that go (partly covered) for about 25-30 minutes.
Now add all the other ingredients, bring back to a boil and let cook for another 25 minutes or so (add more water if necessary so everything is covered). You’ll notice that I didn’t give a specific amount of salt as the stock cubes will be heavy in sodium. Taste for salt and adjust according near the end of cooking. During the cooking process you may need to skim off any sort of residue you see at the top of the soup.
The goal is to have the chicken feet very tender and the vegetables/ground provisions must also be tender to the point where they’re starting to dissolve. This will also thicken the soup nicely.. as with traditional Caribbean type soups.
I had the scotch bonnet pepper in the soup ‘whole’ and I tried not to break it. We want the flavor of the pepper and not the raw heat.. well, unless you love that raw Caribbean sunshine! This must be served HOT and (you will) if you have leftovers, you can freeze it for dinner another day. Simply thaw (on your counter) and heat on the stove top on a very low heat. I rather this method than in the microwave.