Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup

A classic Caribbean soup and a specialty of Sign Great House near Montego Bay, Jamaica

Yield:
6 large servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pig tails, scrubbed, rinsed in cold water, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound salt beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 1/2 pints water
  • 1 pound yams, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound coco, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 12 okra, rinsed
  • 8 ounces Indian kale, trimmed of heavy stalks and finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon powdered thyme
  • Freshly ground salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 ounces onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 can callaloo* or 1 pound fresh spinach, shredded
  • *a Jamaican green vegetable that tastes like a cross between broccoli and spinach
Directions

In a pot large enough to hold at least 20 cups of water, add pig tails. Cook on medium heat to render fat. Pat salt beef dry with a towel. When drippings have accumulated, add salt beef to pot and saute until brown.

Once browned, add 6 1/2 pints of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the surface and clings to the sides of the pot.

After 1 hour, add the yams and coco. Add ice water to congeal fat and cause it to rise to the top. Skim off fat. Simmer for 1/2 hour more.

Add okra and kale. Add thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Add chopped onion and scallion. Cook another 1/2 hour. Add callaloo or spinach and boil for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.


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