Pretend you’re in the caribbean with this coconutty bowl of awesomeness.
I have never been to Jamaica, which means that the only version of this soup I’ve ever eaten is my own. While I don’t know how it compares to the real deal, I can tell you that it’s tasty regardless. Supposedly in Jamaica, the soup is made by simmering the “throw away” parts of the pig for hours (like the feet and tale and such), and then making a soup out of it with beef, potatoes and sometimes shrimp. There are of course two things in this process I don’t have: pig parts or hours with which to simmer them. Instead, I use venison and throw in some shrimp at the end, because isn’t shrimp wonderful?
This recipe combines two of my world’s most favorite things: sweet potatoes and coconut milk! It’s also a great way to use fresh okra when it’s season without feeling like you have to batter and fry it. The slime from the okra actually adds a thick, gelatinous quality to the soup that I find really nice. You want to make sure that your soup is NOT boiling when you add the coconut milk at the end, or else the soup will “break” (meaning the fat will separate). If your soup does break like mine did no worries, it still tastes delicious, it just doesn’t have quite as creamy a consistency. So when you take the soup off the heat, give it a good couple of stirs and make sure it’s no longer bubbling, and then add the coconut milk.
Jamaican Pepperpot Soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 Small onion (diced)
- 1lb venison stew meat
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 scotch bonnet or habanero (or less, minced)
- zest of one lime
- 6 cups water or broth
- 1lb sweet potato (about 1 large) (chopped into bite sized pieces)
- 1.5 cups fresh or frozen okra (chopped)
- 1/2lb shrimp (chopped, if shrimp is large)
- 3 cups chopped spinach
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- juice of one lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with a little bit of water
|Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and minced habanero and cook a minute or two. Add the meat and brown on all sides.|
|Add the water, bring to a boil, and let simmer until the meat is pretty tender, or about as long as you can, at least 15 minutes. Add the diced sweet potato and okra and cook until cooked through (about another 5-10 minutes). At this point, if you want the soup to be a little thicker mix a little corn starch with water and add it in. Add the shrimp and the spinach and continue to cook until the spinach wilts. Take the soup off the heat and add the lime juice and coconut milk.|
Non game substitution: This is where you would use beef stew meat, just whatever is on sale or strikes your fancy at the grocery store. You could eschew the red meat all together and use more shrimp.
Vegetarian substitution: I feel like leaving the meat stuffs out entirely would still make a good soup, making the greens, okra and sweet potatoes the star players. And you know what else? That also makes it vegan. Suh-NAP! I think some cubed tofu would also go really nicely in this dish if you need an extra punch of protein. I bet red beans would also work.