Cow Heel Soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves:

    4 to 6

Appears in

Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago

Sweet Hands

By Ramin Ganeshram

Published 2018

  • About

Cow Heel Soup is one of the street foods found at stands and shops all over Trinidad. The soup originated in colonial times when enslaved people received the offal of slaughtered animals as part of their provisions. Cow heel is more than the name implies—it includes the area from the hoof to the knee. The gelatin in the actual hoof makes this thick soup a more-than-hearty meal.


  • 1 cow heel, or 2 pounds beef soup bones, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ½ small cassava, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 small yam, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 small taro, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 small Scotch bonnet pepper or other hot chili pepper
  • 1 pound calabaza or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. Place the cow heel or soup bones and 6 cups water in a soup pot and add the salt. Bring to a boil, skimming the surface as impurities rise to the top. When the water is simmering clear, reduce the heat and add the onion and celery. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Add the cassava, yams, taro, nutmeg, and hot pepper to the pot. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes, adding the calabaza in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  3. Remove from heat and remove the chili pepper. Add the parsley and lime juice and serve hot.