Friday, 17 October 2014

Jamaican Chicken Pumpkin Soup

“Pumpkin Everythang”

Pumpkin is such a widely used vegetable here in Jamaica; I’ve had pumpkin dumplings, fritters, rice, curry pumpkin, in steamed fish and foil roasted fish. You name it and pumpkin has been there. Now when it comes to soup, there is no way one can make any soup here, without the addition of pumpkin. It’s almost unheard of, an unwritten Jamaican rule. So much so that to make the task of having a pumpkin soup quicker a number of companies most notably Grace, makes a pumpkin soup sachet. The other day I saw a pumpkin and beef and a pumpkin and chicken flavor too; I chuckled.

The soup is a rich broth, just slightly thickened with chicken, veggies and tiny dumplings all simmered into one melting pot. The pumpkin adds the color, richness, sweetness and thickness. Most persons add everything to the pot all at once and just allow it to cook down.  I rather sauté my veggies and slightly brown my meat before adding the liquid and pumpkin.

This is a relatively small serving of soup. You may get about 4 to 5 servings of soup from this recipe. So feel free to double or triple it if you are making a large stock pot of soup for a tribe of hungry persons. It is extremely flavorful, every ingredient playing their part, and as usual the pumpkin adds sweetness and color.  The celery for me is the secret ingredient. Even though it’s not over powering, and some persons might not even taste it,  there is something celery does to a soup that just gives it this extra special thing I can’t explain. You will just have to make it to see for yourself.

2 tablespoon oil
1 tomato chopped
½ cup chopped onion
1 stalk chopped celery
2 chopped carrots
1 table spoon allspice berries
6 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic minced
2 scallion stalks
3 sprigs thyme
2 cups chopped pumpkin
1 scotch bonnet pepper

3 chopped chicken legs or thighs
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water

Greedy tips:

  • Do not slice the hot pepper; add it whole to the soup. When the pepper cooks in the soup or in rice, as long as it’s not punctured it imparts flavor but not heat. Once the soup is finished remove the pepper and discard in-case someone’s spoon or fork punctures it by accident.
  • If you don’t have chicken broth, just add the 6 cups of water with approximately 3 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. You can judge the flavor for yourself and add less or more to your liking
  • Do not boil the soup for too long because all the pumpkin will disintegrate into the broth. You want it relatively thickened but it’s not a creamy soup it’s a rich broth. 

Xoxo Greedygirl

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