By Chris De La Rosa
The more I write and share recipes about the culinary culture of the Caribbean, the more you’ll see me use the words “comfort food”, as we have so many dishes, which warms the soul and take us to a happy place.
Corn Soup is such a dish.
While I have shared a vegetarian version, a few years back, I thought I’d share this version, with salted pig tails, to show you a way of adding, even more flavor, to an already amazing dish. Salted beef or smoked meats will work great too.
1.5 to 2 lbs salted pigtails
1 1/4 cups yellow split peas
5 cups water (adjust as necessary)
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons coconut oil
6 sprigs thyme
1 large onion (diced)
2 stalks celery (diced)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 scallions (chopped)
3 pimento peppers (aka seasoning peppers)
2 bird’s eye peppers (any spicy pepper you like)
3 tablespoons shado beni (culantro)
2 cups diced pumpkin
2 cups diced sweet potato
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 carrots (diced)
4-6 corns (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 can creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
Get your butcher to cut the salted pigtails into 1-inch pieces, or use a heavy clever to do so. Wash the pieces of pigtails, then place them in a deep pot, cover with water (not mentioned in the ingredient list) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rolling boil and cook for about 25 minutes. This step will tenderize the pigtails and remove some of the salt, it was cured in.
After 25 minutes, drain and add 5 cups of water to the pot, along with the split peas (washed) and garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the peas are tender.
In your large soup-pot, heat the coconut oil on a medium flame, then add the onion, scallions, thyme, black pepper, seasoning peppers, shado beni, parsley, bird’s eye pepper and celery. Turn the heat to low, stir well and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Next up, you can go in with the sweet potato, carrots and pumpkin, and stir well. Then add the stock and bring to a boil and cook for about 25 minutes.
By now the peas/pigtail should be ready. Add it to the soup pot (be gentle) and stir well. Add the coconut milk and creamed corn and, should you want to add some corn kernels, I’d suggest adding a cup of frozen corn at this point as well.
Since we already used canned creamed corn, may I suggest you not use canned corn kernels — there’s just too many additives in the canned stuff. Bring everything to a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for another 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, I like using my swizzle stick (you may use a whisk) to break the pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato down. The soup will go very thick at this point, so add some more stock or water, if you feel it needs it. As it cooks, you should work on the dumplings.
Corn soup is one of those soups, where you must have flour dumplings (or cornmeal), so place the water, flour and if you want, a pinch of salt, in a bowl, and knead to form a soft dough. Add water as necessary. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, then divide into 3 smaller balls and roll each part out to form a thick straw (cylinder). Cut that into bite-size pieces (about 1/2 inch) and add to the boiling soup. Watch the video below to see how I did the dumplings.
You may also add the cut pieces of corn (on the cob) now. Do keep in mind that I used sweet corn, which cooks quickly. We’re almost done. Cook for about 5 minutes after adding the dumplings and corn on the cob. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly. I didn’t add salt, as the residual salt from the salted pigtails was enough for my liking.
Keep in mind that this is not your typical broth-like soup, you’ll find in North America and Europe, and it will thicken up, considerably, as it cools. I usually make a huge pot of this pigtail corn soup and I freeze whatever I don’t eat the same day and reheat when I have a craving a few weeks later. From frozen you’ll want to thaw, then add about 3/4 cup water and gently bring to boil until heated as you like.
This recipe is courtesy of Gourmand Award winning cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot.com, Chris De La Rosa. With over 450 printable recipes with step by step cooking instructions and demo videos, PLUS over 1 million social/fan connections globally every month, CaribbeanPot.com is the world’s #1 resource of Caribbean Culinary Culture. Connect with Chis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caribbeanpot/.