By Brian Danclair
This is a simple but hearty soup. Served at lunch in the Caribbean when we tend to eat our main meal of the day, it will set you up for anything. You’ll need a large pot and some time to let it all cook. Ask your butcher to chop the cow foot for you for ease. You can get chadon beni which is like a more robust version of coriander at Wing Tai in Electric Avenue.
Cow Foot Soup (serves 4-6)
- 2 large cow feet, cut into 16 pieces
- 1 cup yellow split peas (soaked overnight in water)
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet, left whole
- 1 bunch chadon beni
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 large cassava, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- 5 eddoes or coco, quartered
- 1 quarter green pumpkin, cut in 1 inch pieces
- 2 cobs fresh corn, quartered (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2.5 litres water
Wash the cow foot thoroughly and then add to a large pot with the water and the yellow split peas. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour.
Then add the herbs, garlic, celery and red pepper to the water. Keeping the scotch bonnet whole so you get the fruity flavour instead of the heat, add it too and cook for another hour and a half or until the meat is tender. Check on it during this time and add more water if it looks like it is getting dry. The cow foot creates its own stock so you won’t dilute it. If you want even more depth of flavour add a salted pig tail or some beef flank too.
When the meat is tender, add the chopped cassava, eddoes and pumpkin and simmer for another 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Serve big bowls of the soup as it is. It is a meal in itself and needs no embellishment. Thick and hearty, it brings this inexpensive cut of meat to life.
Brian Danclair runs Fish Wings and Tings, Unit 3 Brixton Village (Coldharbour Lane entrance)
Open Tuesday and Wednesday 12-9pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12-11pm and Sunday 12-6pm. Takeaway available.