Year-round South Florida normally enjoys a tropical savannah climate, not unlike the Caribbean – but somebody must have forgotten to remind the Sunshine State this January. Stave off these chilly Florida nights with a bowl of Caribbean sunshine in these season-friendly recipes
Jehan’s Cowheel Soup
Foodie extraordinaire Jehan Powell of blog Jehan Can Cook is “constantly seeking a source of warmth” when the temperature dips, and this traditional and simple recipe is the perfect answer for this chilly month. The addition of the cow heel, says Jehan, add a nice richness and body, though it can take a while to prepare, which is why “using a pressure cooker is highly recommended when cooking cowheel, as it reduces the cooking time significantly.”
1 ½ lbs. cowheel
1 tsp oil
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 Wiri pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
10 sprigs thyme
½ cup split peas
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
Place cowheel in a large pot and cover with water, boil until tender, adding more water as needed. If using pressure cooker (highly recommended), pressure for 20-25 minutes. Once cowheel is tender, remove from water and allow to cool before cutting into smaller pieces.
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add carrots, onion, scallion, garlic, thyme and pepper and sauté until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add split peas, cowheel and 3 cups of the liquid that the cowheel was boiled in and an additional 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and cook until split peas are soft and dissolves into the soup, about 1 and a half hours. Then add your favorite fixings, such as dumpling and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, eddoes or dasheen.
Chris’s Gluten Free Vegetarian Callaloo
Though, “traditional recipe for making callaloo (not to be confused with Jamaican Callaloo) are the tender leaves of the dasheen or taro plant,” says Chris De la Rosa of popular blog Caribbean Pot, leafy spinach will have to do in this recipe. But this recipe is proof that necessity is the mother of invention. Though it may be lacking in the traditional crab or salted meats, Chris assures that that “this vegetarian version, which happens to be gluten friendly is stunning. As a soup or with rice, stewed meats (for non-vegetarians), sides of plantains and salad and you’re in true Caribbean heaven.”
6-8 cups chopped spinach
2 cups diced butternut squash (or pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups diced sweet potato
2 birds eye pepper (1/4 scotch bonnet)
4 cloves garlic
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
4-5 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water (or vegetable stock – gluten free)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Heat olive oil in a deep pot and add diced onion, garlic, thyme, chopped scallions and black pepper. Turn heat low and let it cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cubed sweet potato, chopped okra, squash (use pumpkin if you have) and stir well. Turn up heat to medium and add chopped spinach. Top with the coconut milk all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and let it go until everything goes tender and starts falling apart (about 40-50 minutes).
Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. Then blend soup with either a traditional “swizzle,” a whisk, or immersion blender (but try to pulse in short bursts – do NOT go continuous or you’ll end in with a forty mess.) The goal is to have a somewhat smooth soup-like texture/consistency.