Souse

Souse

What’s the world’s best hangover cure? A Caribbean native
would name this cold spicy soup made from pickled pork
trotters, head and tail. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

ORIGINS
Souse has its origin with the West African slaves brought to the Caribbean to work the plantations of Barbados, Trinidad, Saint Kitts and other islands. It is inspired by English ‘head cheese’ – loose patés made of leftover meat bits – modified to the local climate to be a cold soup, rather than a solid. Slave cooks worked with what they had, which was often the parts of the pig thrown out by the masters.

SERVES 4

You’ll need
500g (1lb) ham hocks
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and
crushed
½ medium red onion, peeled
and thinly sliced
Juice of 4 limes
Black pepper to taste
1 Scotch bonnet chilli (or 2
jalapeño chillies), thinly
sliced
1 tsp salt
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
Large handful of fresh
coriander (cilantro) leaves,
chopped
4 cups (1L) water

Cooking Method
1 Wash the ham hocks and place them in a large pot with water (enough to cover the meat) along with the garlic.
2 Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender – about 2 hours.
3 Drain the meat and set it aside to cool.
4 Once cooled, shred the meat and toss it with the lime juice and black pepper.
5 Add the remaining ingredients and water, and allow to marinate for several hours.
6 Serve cold.

Tasting notes
Souse is a weekend treat throughout much of the Caribbean. You’ll find it served for Saturday lunch, along with its traditional accompaniment – blood pudding. In some countries, the pudding is more like a sausage, savoury black blood flecked with soft rice. In others, such as Barbados, the pudding is made from sweet potatoes darkened to look like blood pudding, without any actual blood. On weekends, souse-lovers queue up outside the homes of popular souse-makers, waiting for their hit of cool, spicy, salty, porky broth. Line up with them, eat your souse standing in the front yard, then return the bowl. You’ll also find a big tureen of souse at any Caribbean festival or dance party, alongside the rum.

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