It’s soup season folks and I love this time of year. I’m a real fan of throwing some tasty meat and veg into a pot and ending up with a delicious meal. Much like today’s recipe, Caribbean Smoked Turkey Pepperpot. The smoked turkey is a 2 lb drumstick that is cooked until it falls off the bone. It is then removed from the pot in order to create the soup base and then returned shredded to complete the soup.
Caribbean Smoked Turkey Pepperpot is a process of layering flavors and ingredients. Here’s how it’s created:
Start with a Caribbean mirepoix – carrots, onions, scallions, cooked in oil and butter.
Black pepper and thyme applied to add flavor.
Smoked turkey, water and scotch bonnet added and stewed to create that unmistakeable Caribbean flavor.
Vegetables added before mixing in coconut milk.
End by applying seasonings to heighten flavors before blending and finishing with shredded the turkey meat.
This recipe has a method and requires attention, but the work put in will result in a fab and tasty soup. You don’t have to be an expert soup maker, this dish is truly difficult to mess up. Just don’t blend the scotch bonnet, unless you are a true lover of very spicy soup.
Aside from the turkey, the star ingredient in this Caribbean Smoked Turkey Pepperpot is the okra. You will be hard pressed to associate the flavor, however, the soups consistency is held up by the magnificence of these wonderful green pods.
This soup is versatile, many of the ingredients can substituted. You can use almost any uncooked smoked meat. If you cannot find scotch bonnet, you can use habanero. Use any squash in place of butternut squash and kale is a great alternative to spinach. Just remember to taste your soup as you go to ensure you flavors meld and keep its Caribbean essence.
1 lb butternut squash (peeled, deseeded and cubed)
8 oz fresh okra
2 lb fresh spinach (washed and drained)
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heat oil and butter on high in a large stock pot.
Add carrots, scallions and onions and saute until onions soften.
Add black pepper and thyme and saute until flavors release.
Add turkey drumstick and top with water.
Drop in scotch bonnet and be careful not to pierce it. You want the flavor, not the heat.
Once liquid begins to bubble, lower heat to a simmer and cover and allow turkey to cook until the meat begins to fall away from the bone - approx. 1 1/2 hours.
Once you can clearly see that the meat is pulling away from the bone, remove the turkey and set aside to cool.
Remove scotch bonnet and set aside.
Slice orka discarding the tops and tails and place the rest in the pot.
Add squash and mix.
Cover pot again and allow okra and squash to cook through.
Once okra and squash can be easily pierced, prepare spinach by cutting away stalks and add to pot. The spinach will pile high at first, so you might have to add in batches. Wait for spinach to wilt if needed before adding more.
Once all of the spinach has been added and wilted, add coconut milk, chicken stock, garlic, coriander and salt and mix thoroughly.
Blend ingredients with a hand blender until squash and carrots almost disappear.
Taste soup to ensure you have the right balance of flavors and correct as necessary.
Pull turkey meat away from the bone and shred with your hands then return shredded meat to the pot.
Stir and allow turkey to heat through before serving.
Pierce scotch bonnet and add a touch to each bowl of soup for those who enjoy spicy food.
If you don't have a hand blender, pour half the soup into a conventional blender before adding the spinach. Add half of the spinach to the blender and blend until squash and carrots almost disappear. Return soup to the pot and add the rest of the spinach and continue with recipe.