That bone chilling cold is back and with a vengeance. Over the Christmas holidays it was relatively mild by Canadian standards, but this morning the mercury dropped to -28 C (-18.4 F). Like a true son of the Caribbean soil, I’m battling back with a hearty beef with sweet potato and pumpkin soup to warm up the mind, soul and body! We’ll start off by roasting the pieces of beef (with bones) in the oven, something which is not traditional in Caribbean soup making, but that roasted flavor will elevate this soup to a HIGHER level! Then we go in with pieces of pumpkin and sweet potato, followed by fresh herbs and other flavor ingredients.
2-3 lbs beef bones
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
2 large sweet potatoes
1 medium butternut squash
2-3 cups diced pumpkin
water * or Beef stock
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
4 sprigs thyme
1 scotch bonnet pepper
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 stock cube
3-4 allspice berries
optional.. flour dumplings, potato and ground provisions.
It’s important that you use pieces of beef with bones for maximum flavor and it’s normally the cheapest cut of meat. Wash and pat the beef dry, then place in a baking dish with the cubed celery and carrots. Toss with 2 tablespoon olive oil and roast on the middle rack of your oven for 45 mins @ 400F
As the beef roast in the oven, peel and cube the pumpkin, squash and sweet potato. You’ll notice that I used traditional Caribbean sweet potato (purple/red colour) and what is called ‘yams (sort of orange colour) in North American grocery stores. We’ll cook this for a long time, so feel free to cut them in large pieces.
Remove the roasted beef from the oven and get ready to put everything together so we can started on our soup. If you prep the vegetables in advance, cover them with water so they don’t go discolored on you.
In a large soup pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and go in with the diced onion, garlic, black pepper, chopped scallion and thyme on a low heat and cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Turn up the heat, add the roasted beef and vegetables.. be sure to get all the stuff at the bottom of the roasting pan and give the pot a good stir. Now go in with all the other ingredients, cover with water or beef stock and bring to a boil.
You will notice a few things. 1. If using beef stock, keep in mind that it will have a lot of sodium so be mindful when adding more salt. 2. I added the scotch bonnet ‘whole’ to get the flavor and not the raw heat. if you break it – be prepared for that Caribbean sunshine. and 3. If adding flour dumplings, do so the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Reduce to a gentle boil and allow to cook for about an hour and 3/4 or until the beef is tender. The vegetables will fall apart for the most part, but that will give you a nice thick soup. If you want your vegetables with texture, you can add them the last 35 minutes of cooking. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly and remember to remove that scotch bonnet pepper at the end of cooking.
Serve HOT (forget the warm thing).. this is meant to warm you up on those cold winter days or when you just want a taste of home! If doing this recipe gluten free, do go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Flour dumplings will NOT be an option.