Extreme Jamaican Foods: Cow Skin Soup Recipe
Almost every Jamaican loves soup and almost every household makes it a weekly Saturday tradition. Our soups are hearty and filling, a one pot meal. The skin of the cow when slaughtered is not made into leather in Jamaica but also consumed for it's richness and nutrition. This part of the cow makes a wonderful stew or soup and is loved by many people. We call thin Jamaican Recipe, Cow Skin Soup.
This soup is said to put back strength in the person who consumes it. It is the men in the family you will find enjoys this more, even though it's one of my favorites.
How the Cow Skin Is Prepared at the Butchers':
After removing the skin form the animal, the skin is then roasted slightly over a wood fire, in order to remove the hair/fur by scraping with a knife. The skin is scraped until all traces of animal hair has been removed, and the skin is now smooth and half roasted and has a smokey smell. The skin is burned. I am not sure of the exact method but I would suggest you not trying to skin a cow at home! You can however try making the cow skin soup!
My Saturday Dinner!
On Friday our friend the butcher sent my fiancé 2 1/4 lbs of cow skin and we were delighted. I immediately knew what I would do with it. Now, 2 1/4 lbs of cow skin is a lot for two people and can be made into two meals. So today I will share with you the soup recipe and next time I will make a stew and share with you.
Cow Skin Soup!
What you will need.......
- 1 - 1 1/4 lbs cow/beef skin cut in chunks
- 1 lb yellow yam cut into chunks
- 1/4 lb carrots sliced somewhat thickly
- 1/2 lb white potatoes quartered
- 1/2 large chayote cut into chunks (in Jamaica we call this chô-chô)
- 1 lb pumpkin cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour for dumplings
- 6 cloves garlic - smashed
- 2 stalks scallion
- 1 heaping teaspoon pimento seeds
- 1 green scotch bonnet pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme
- 1 packet soup mix OR bouillon OR 1/2 teaspoon each cracked cumin and coriander seeds
- salt to taste
- Large pot
In a large stock or soup pot, add 6 - 8 cups water and set on medium high flames. Add washed pimento seeds and smashed garlic. Cut cow skin into desired size ( a double bite size is prefered, meaning you cut it once for 2 bite pieces). Wash thoroughly (I wash 3 times to get rid of any burned particles and extra smokiness). When water is boiling add to pot and cover. Let the meat cook until tender (about an hour). Add more water if needed.
Meanwhile, peel and cut pumpkin into chunks. When cow skin is tender but not soft, add pumpkin and let soup continue to cook until pumpkin is somewhat mashed and the cow skin is a little softer (about 45 minutes).
Peel yam and cut into chunks, peel and slice carrots, peel and cut chayote and potatoes and add them all to your pot. Cover and bring to a boil and let cook for another 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
In the meantime, makes dumplings by adding a pinch of salt to flour and pour water in small amounts to form a dough. Make dumplings and add to soup, the size of golf balls until all dough is used up. Cover and bring to a boil.
Note that water must be enough to cover vegetables with at least 1/2 inch to spare. So add more water if needed. If water seems too much, turn flames to high and bring to a boil, cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
Add your seasoning; scallion, thyme, pepper and packet soup mix OR bouillon OR cracked cumin and coriander seeds. Cover, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Let soup continue to cook, stirring constantly. Add salt to taste if needed.
Let soup simmer for another 30 minutes them turn flames off. You will know when soup is done when it has thickened and all the flavors have come together.
Serves 6 - 8 People