I’m not much of a drinker, though I do enjoy a good Scotch ever so often and I do appreciate a Guinness or two when I’m on the islands (stronger than the ones we get here in North America). So having to deal with hangovers is something that’s completely foreign to me. I recall my uncle making this dish quite often, as he was a true connoisseur of the “rum” and dealing with hangovers were part of his routine. Aside from souse, he also made a deadly fish broth, that I still crave to this day. Souse is traditionally made with parts of the pig that’s not really glamorous, but when I asked the butcher if she had any pig’s feet left, she told me they were all sold out. Imagine that!
Souse is basically a cold pickled soup, that’s marinated for a couple hours after you assemble it and it’s full of flavours from the peppers and pickling process. I guess it could be considered a light soup by our standards, especially since it’s not really filling (you’d have to eat a bucket full).
* Since I was unable to get the pig feet I went looking for I opted for the next best thing I could find, which was pork hocks. But I’m sure you could use pork bones or rib ends to make this with success. And if all fails, you can always use chicken feet.
1lb pork hocks
1/2 medium red onion sliced thin
juice of 4 limes
1 hot pepper sliced thin (use habanero or scotch bonnet for best results)
dash fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (but do taste after marinating to adjust to your liking)
2 cloves of garlic crushed
4 cups water
1 cucumber sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (traditionally shado beni is used, but I didn’t have any)
Wash the hocks or whatever parts you were able to source, then place in a deep pot with water – add the couple cloves of garlic and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and allow it to cook for a couple hours covered – until the meat starts falling off the bones. If you have a pressure cooker, do your thing.
Then drain the cooked meat and give it a good rinse under cool water and set it aside to cool down. Now prepare all the ingredients for the sort of pickling process. Slice the onion, pepper, cucumber and cilantro. if you’re using shado beni, use about 4-6 leaves.
By now the meat should be cooled enough to work with. Strip away the meat off the bone in small pieces and place in a large bowl. Traditionally the skin is also added in some instances, but I’m trying to live a little healthier, so out with the skin… but I did keep the bones. Then add all the stuff we sliced, the salt, fresh ground black pepper, lime juice and water and give it a good stir.
Now here’s where you’ll need a little patience, since the smell will be alluring and you’ll be tempted to dig in right away. The combination of the lime juice, fresh sliced cucumber and hot pepper gives this an amazing aroma. Cover this and allow it to marinate for a couple hours. I’ve seen some people add the garlic just before the marinating process with the other fresh ingredients, but I much prefer to add it during the boiling of the meat, just to infuse the meat with it’s flavor and not over-power the main dish.
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