Guest contributor: Mummy’s oxtail soup

25 10 2007

I can’t believe it’s been four months since I last posted about Trinidad food. Not having grown up there I don’t have a full arsenal of dishes at my disposal. Besides, Karen’s the expert in our house, and the only dishes that I’ll post about are the ones she doesn’t make.

Oxtail soup

Karen made oxtail soup once when we were newlyweds. This was long before I truly opened myself to foods from other cultures, so as expected my reaction was less than enthusiastic. Apparently this was quite traumatic to my young bride so she’s never made it since. Her mother is visiting us right now, so I asked if she’d be willing to share her recipe and wisdom with me and my blog for posterity. She graciously obliged.

My blog is called “Mark Ruins Dinner.” Did you know just how skilled I am at this? I can ruin dinner even if I’m not the one cooking. How, you may ask? First, I lose the rocker that goes on top of the pressure cooker that regulates the pressure. Without this, the pressure cooker is just a covered stock pot.

Karen found it later…

But Mummy knows this recipe like the back of her hand, so even my best efforts didn’t ruin the soup. It did, however, take about three times as long to cook. Here are the oxtails after an hour:

after an hour it still wasn’t done

That’s not what they look like when they’re done. And the split peas don’t look like that when they’re done either. They’d been in for a half hour at this point.

Also because of me there was one ingredient missing:

blame me, I can take it

Usually they’ll put one of these habenero peppers into the soup whole and let it steep. But I’m a wimp so they left it out. Can I blame the kids?

Any negative comments about this dish will be deleted.  This is Karen’s mother, after all.  Recipe follows.

Mummy’s Oxtail Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb. oxtails
2 small carrots, sliced coarsely
1 rib celery, sliced coarsely
1/2 cup yellow split peas
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sweet potatoes
1 small onion
1/2 small butternut squash
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced rather thin
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt, pepper, sugar, and green seasoning to taste
water

The first thing to do is marinade the oxtails in some crushed garlic, salt, and a little green seasoning overnight.

marinading ox tail

When time comes to make the soup, put the oxtails and enough water to cover them in the pressure cooker. Start the pressure cooker, and after fifteen minutes put in the split peas. After another fifteen minutes the meat should be cooked and the split peas will have exploded themselves into starchy goodness all over the soup.

In the meantime heat some oil in a soup pot and sweat off the onions and celery. When that is complete add the carrots, squash, and bell pepper and continue to cook. When the pressure cooker is done, dump the contents into the soup pot and add the sweet potatoes and the secret ingredient.

for that creole flavour

You can omit that hot pepper mentioned above and it’s still technically Trinidad food. But not the Golden Ray. It goes by two names: Golden Ray (obviously), and salt butter. Looking at the package I’m not sure why they call it salt butter, but this is what makes it Trinidad food.

Cook the soup until the sweet potatoes are cooked.  Then take the cornmeal and the flour and mix them together. Add enough water to make some dumplings.

mummy makes dumplings

Put the dumplings in the soup and simmer long enough to cook them, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.  Serve. Eat.

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8 responses

25 10 2007
chennette

for that real Creole flavour, use Golden Raaaaay
yea, it’s shortening 🙂 flashback to the old days when it was salted, cured butter for long shelf life – good thing about the new version, my lactose-intolerant friends weren’t bothered by the “butter” in the pelau, or stew chicken etc

25 10 2007
chennette

Of course I meant margarine

26 10 2007
Aliyah

I can’t believe that nobody brought me soup! 😦

26 10 2007
Bennie

That looks rather yummy. I’d have to sneak the pepper in too since Joan’s the wimp around here.

26 10 2007
dennis

Actually that looks delicious (even with your best efforts to the contrary)!

If your wife would not mind, we would love the recipe!

30 10 2007
Patrick

really really nice work you have here!!!!

i had a post once about the same topic! see it here!

http://www.patrickmontes.net/blog

lets trade links if you want to.. just let me know!

14 11 2007
sharon millar

I LOVE oxtail soup. In fact, I love oxtail. And pig tail for that matter.
The newest thing in Trinidad BBQ pigtail. I haven’t had it yet, but apparently it is divine.
We make oxtail soup a lot but all of us are terrified of the pressure cooker. Split peas can be tricky as the little peas can stick in your pressure cooker valve and BOOM all over your kitchen ceiling.
I am also a purist and only use green onions in my soup. Weird, I know but I pressure cook a base of pumpkin, split peas and oxtail with maggi taste maker and minced green onions (chive) until the oxtail is ready. by that time the split peas and pumpkin have made my base and I then add my eddoes, sweet potatoes and all the other tra la la that I feel. I also love oxtail stew and oxtail pelau. YUMMMMM

17 01 2008
sandra C

When you put the pepper whole in the pot- it infuses the food with flavour but not with the “hotness”. The secret is “do not pierce the pepper”, and you’ll be fine.

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