Season 2 – Episode 1: Jamaican Chicken Corn Soup
Holy crap, can you believe its been six months since our last episode? Six whole months, what a lazy bugger I’ve been! Before we get into the video, let me give you the obligatory few paragraphs of lead-in/drivel to give you some background on this dish.
Many years ago, a woman I worked with brought me an incredible chicken soup to try. She explained it was a traditional Jamaican soup that she learned from her grandmother. This soup was like nothing I had ever tasted; it was sweet and insanely spicy, but I couldn’t get the recipe from her. You know the story, “Grandma’s secret recipe” and all that… At the time I wasn’t much of a food experimenter and when our careers parted ways, no soup for me.
Well, fast forward ten or twelve years and I decided to try my hand at it. How hard could it be, it had sweet potatoes, habaneros and allspice. These flavor profiles are so dominating you could probably make a soup with alligator sweat and have it taste right. Please don’t try this, it won’t taste like chicken (but the alligator will think you do).
I gave it a shot, and guess what? It tasted pretty darn good. So good in fact, that I wanted to try it out on my colleagues. Isn’t that what ya’ll do with excess food? People at work will eat anything for free. After doling out my (free) samples, I received one of my favorite food compliments of all time: “This is the most incredible tasting soup I have ever tried. Too bad its so fucking spicy I can’t eat it!”. After that comment and a few little adjustments, I had it nailed. A fairly easy to make soup with the right taste and heat.
A decade later luck would have it that my Jamaican friend and I crossed paths at a new job and we went head-to-head with our versions. She admitted that mine was pretty close but sure enough, she still wouldn’t give me her recipe. Probably better off because if she did, Grandma’s secret recipe would be posted here! I deduced that she used pumpkin in addition to the sweet potatoes, but she revealed that she only uses it occasionally since its a pain to get fresh pumpkin all year.
Since I didn’t get the official Jamaican grandmother recipe, you are stuck with the Jewish simulation. Jah vey? Oy mon? You get the point.
Enjoy the video, and Namaste.
P.S. If you didn’t get the “Lost” references, please watch seasons 1 thru 6 and skip the last episode (or most of the last season). You’d be better off thinking the show was cancelled instead of that shite.
Oh yeah, I forgot the corn in the lovely picture above. Must have been the ganjah, mon.
Serves 2 people in a hurry
- 2 quarts chicken broth. I prefer the good stuff, but since this is a quick meal I have resorted to using a box o’ broth (the shame).
- 8 oz. of chopped up chicken (I keep pre-cooked chopped chicken for soups in the freezer)
- 1 sweet potato, diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large regular potato, diced into 1 inch cubes. I like the red bliss or yukon golds, but they are usually small so you should match the amount of quantity to the sweet potato.
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 small can of corn, drained (don’t forget this)
- 1 habanero, diced finely -or- if you are a wimp, you can substitute 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder. I always use the powder, as I always get nailed touching the wrong part of me after handling habaneros. I’ll leave which part up to your imagination, but it ain’t fun. I may start using rubber globes and going back to the good stuff.
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tbl parsley, chopped finely
- Heat up the broth (in a pot)
- Dice up the veggies and bang everything except the parsley into said pot
- Simmer until the veggies are soft
- Throw in the parsley
- Serve with a Red Stripe beer, mon.
By the way, this recipe is one of the few things that I make that Nicole doesn’t like. She doesn’t hate it, but thinks its just “eh”. That’s OK because she’ll take one for the team and eat a jar of Nutella for dinner the days I make this!