Like the recipe I posted back in May 2009 for a Saturday favourite “Pig Tail Soup“, the base ingredients for this soup is pretty much the same. Except the final texture (consistency) and overall taste does differ. Yet another traditional dish enjoyed through the islands, with variations according to every one’s own unique way of preparation. My uncle on my mom’s side would make this soup on a Monday after a weekend of feteing (partying) to according to him..revive! Before we get to the recipe I must mention that you must be careful when stewing (browning) the seasoned pigtail. Since the meat still has it’s skin and it’s very fatty, when it hits the oil/sugar it will splatter a bit. Use a deep pot if you can and a long handle cooking spoon. Just to be safe.
2 lbs salted pig tails (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
1 sweet potato (about 1lb)
1-2 lbs yams
4 eddoes (about 1 lb)
3 medium/large potatoes
3 tablespoon chopped cilantro (if you don’t have shado beni)
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot (cut into coins)
1/4 teaspoon blackpepper
1/4 hot pepper (adds great flavour and some bite)
1 scallion (green onions)
3 sprigs thyme
1 can black eye peas – 19 oz/540 ml (Use whatever canned beans you may have in the pantry)
6 cups hot water
3 tablespoon oil
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 pimento pepper (optional ..if you have)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
* Feel free to add any other ground provision you may have (cassava, dasheen or green bananas). If you’re good at making dumplings, it would also make a great addition to this soup.
* I used black eye peas in this version, but my favourite is lentils which I didn’t have.
*NOTE: Try to get your butcher to cut the salted pigs tails for you, as it can do some serious damage to your knife if you try doing it for yourself.
The very first step is to cut the salted pig tails if you didn’t already get your butcher to do so. Then wash and place in a deep pot, to which you’ll add enough water to cover it by at least 1 inch. Bring this to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. I cook this for a fairly long time (at least 1 hr), until it’s tender. This also works to remove some of the salt the pig tails were preserved in.
While that simmer away I peel and cut the provisions/vegetables I’ll be adding to the soup (potato,yams,eddoes,sweet potato,carrot etc). I then wash and place in a bowl with water to prevent it from going discolored. I also chop/dice the other ingredients..pepper, onion, garlic, tomato, scallion, thyme, cilantro..etc.
TIP : Try you best to cut the vegetables so they’re all pretty much the same size, so they can all cook at the same time.
After 60-70 minutes the pigtails should start getting really tender. Remove off the stove and drain well. In the same pot (no need to dirty a bowl) let’s season the cooked pigtail with: onion,garlic,pimento pepper, hot pepper (I use habanero), scallion, thyme, cilantro, garlic, ketchup, black pepper and worcestershire sauce. Mix well and get ready to brown or stew.
In a large pot over high/medium heat, heat the oil then add the brown sugar. Move around the sugar so it melts and start going caramel like. You’ll start seeing bubbles (frothy) and it will change colour, going from golden to dark brown. See pic below to see when we’ve reached the right colour. Now start adding (remember what I said above about splatters) the seasoned meat. Stir well so everything gets coated evenly.
Allow this to continue browning for about 5 minutes so we get a nice rich brown colour. Remember to stir often to avoid it sticking or burning. Then drain the provisions/vegetables we had sitting in the bowl of water and start adding the pieces to the pot. Stir well so they get coated as well.
The next step is to rinse the peas (remember you can use your favourite peas) under running water. I do this since I don’t care for the liquid it’s packaged in. Then add it to the soup pot.
Stir everything well, then add enough water to cover everything. In my case it was 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 35 minutes. If you’re adding green bananas (remember to peel first) add the last 10 minutes of cooking, same can be said if you’re adding macaroni and/or dumplings . Check to see if your yams etc is cooked, by pushing a sharp knife through it. If there’s no resistance, you know it’s fully cooked.
The way to end this recipe is to add about 1 tablespoon of golden ray butter the last couple minutes. But since that butter is not the best for our health and sourcing it may be difficult if you live in North America… you can leave that out. However, that added flavour is truly unique.
Now check for salt. Notice I didn’t mention salt in the ingredients list, since the salt from the salted pic tails is usually enough for this dish. however, this is a personal preference so check at the end (after you’ve add the golden ray if you’re doing so) to see if you’d like to add some more.
I’d love to hear from you guys to know your recipe for making this. I know my mom browns the provisions instead of the pigtails (just her way I guess)… leave me your comments below.