This is a simple but hearty soup. Served at lunch in the Caribbean when people tend to eat their main meal of the day, it will set you up for anything. You’ll need a large pot and some time to let it all cook. Ask your butcher to chop the cow foot for you to make it even easier. Don’t be squeamish about this cut of meat: it has a fantastic flavour and makes the most beautiful rich beefy stock.
Wash the cow feet thoroughly and then put them in a large pot with the water and the yellow split peas. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour.
Add the herbs, garlic, onion, celery and red pepper to the water. Keeping it whole so you get the fruity flavour instead of the heat, add the scotch bonnet too and cook for another 1½hours or until the meat is tender. Check on it during this time and add more water if it looks like it is getting dry. The cow foot creates its own stock so you won’t dilute it. If you want even more depth of flavour add a salted pig tail or some beef flank too. When the meat is tender, add the chopped cassava, eddoes and pumpkin and simmer for another 30–40 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Season and serve the soup in big bowls, as it is. It is a meal in itself and needs no embellishment. Thick and hearty, it brings this inexpensive cut of meat to life.
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