Smoked and/or salted meats are a must for a good Caribbean soup, so when my eyes crossed paths with the smoked turkey legs when we were out shopping a few days back.. let’s just say we shared a connection. Soups in the Caribbean are thick and hearty as most stews are in North America, so if this is your first time learning about how we make soups, don’t get alarmed. If you can’t source smoked turkey legs, you can certainly use necks or wings and if all fails, use any smoked meat you can source (ham bone, ham hocks..etc).
1 smoked turkey leg
1 sweet potato
1 scotch bonnet pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pack Grace cock soup
water (10-14 cups)
1 sweet corn
fresh thyme (4 sprigs)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic
1 cup black eye peas
1 tablespoon veg oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Optional – (flour dumplings)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
pinch of sugar
Notes. Optional ingredients – yam, green banana, cassava.. etc. If you don’t have the Grace cock soup.. use a spicy noodle soup (Maggi) or chicken stock. You can add any greens you like (spinach, callaloo etc) or cabbage as well . And a nice addition would be some cubed pumpkin.
Chop the onion, garlic, scallions and herbs. Then heat the oil in a deep soup pot and add the chopped ingredients. Allow that to cook for 3-5 minutes on low heat. To soften the onion and create a wonderful flavor base.
Wash and drain the black eye peas (a good substitute would be yellow split peas) and add it to the pot along with the chopped carrot. Then add the smoked turkey leg and pour in the water, add the scotch bonnet pepper, salt and black pepper. Bring to a oil and reduce to a simmer.
Allow to to simmer away for 45- 60 minutes or until the peas are tender. In the meantime peel and prep the root vegetables. Using a potato peel or sharp pairing knife, remove the skin off the dasheen, eddoes, potato, sweet potato and remove the stems off the okra. Try to cut each in even sized pieces so they cook evenly. If you prepped this before it time to place it in the pot, remember to cover will cool water to prevent them from going discoloured. The corn is optional, but I like adding it. Cut each corn into 4-5 pieces and give a good rinse before adding to the pot.
After 50 minutes or so the peas should be tender and you should have a pot packed with flavour. Remove the smoked turkey leg and set aside to cool. Now gently add everything into the pot and bring to a boil, including the packet of ‘cock’ soup. If you find that the liquid does not cover the vegetables, add a bit more water.
Strip the pieces of meat off the bone and add back to the pot.. add back the bone as well for additional flavor.
Usually it takes between 25 – 35 minutes to cook after you’ve added the vegetables. You’re looking for a thick consistency and the dasheen and other vegetables should be tender to the point where it starts to fall apart. Try not to over stir or you’ll end up with porridge.
Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. If you’re adding flour dumplings, do so the last 7 minutes so they have time to fully cook. Remember that as this soup cools it will thicken further, so don’t worry if it seems a bit thin when it’s hot.
An absolute treat! This soup is loaded with goodness and don’t be surprised if you get a case of the sleepies after you’ve done damage on a bowl. Remember to fish the scotch bonnet pepper out of the pot and try your best not to burst it during cooking.. or you’ll release the dragon!