Sample the flavours of the Turks and Caicos Islands with this traditional chicken souse recipe.
Home cooking can mean different things for different people when it comes down to the actual food being prepared. No matter the particular food though, the feeling we all get when we sit down with a plate of some home cooking is virtually the same. It’s a heartwarming and joyous feeling. And I know I’m not the only one who starts to reminisce about watching your grandmother or aunt prepare a special meal; or better yet sneaking a little bite when no one is looking.
In the last 5 years while studying abroad at university I wasn’t able to have all of the home cooked food that I had grown to know and love as a kid. And that was mainly because I didn’t always have the time or energy to stand in the kitchen for what felt like forever to prepare a mean for one. And that is why stir fry became my go to dinners as a student; that or some ramen. It’s slightly depressing I know; but what university student on a budget didn’t have a pack of ramen noodles in their cabinet as an emergency dinner, I know I did! And now that I have a bit more time and resources I can prepare those amazing meals I enjoyed growing up in the Caribbean, and I can share them with you guys.
Chicken souse was one of those meals that woke me from my sleep on a Saturday morning (okay really it was early afternoon, I’ve always been a late riser). With its distinctive aroma lightly infused by whole allspice you just knew it was going to be a great start to your weekend.
The traditional Turks and Caicos Island chicken souse recipe is vinegar based unlike other Caribbean countries whose are lime based. The vinegar brings a bit of tanginess to the dish. Chicken souse is traditionally accompanied by johnny cake (a dense bread); alternatively you can pair it with dinner rolls or buns.
The preparation time is long due to the time required to marinate the chicken in a salt water bath. This helps to infuse flavour into the chicken. The use of other herbs and spices are not typically required since the whole allspice brings a lot to the table; this plus the fact that they can alter the colour of the soup.
This recipe is amazingly simple and requires very little regarding what is actually required for preparations. Which means that anyone (hint: that means you!) can enjoy a Caribbean home cooked meal anytime and anywhere! This is truly food for the soul!
- 2 lbs Chicken wing portions
- 3 cups Water (separated)
- 2 tablespoons Salt
- 2 cups Distilled vinegar
- ⅓ cup Whole allspice
- 1 medium White onion
- 2 medium White potatoes
- 2 Bay leaves
- Dissolve salt in 2 cups of water.
- In a large bowl add chicken wing portions and salted water mixture. Let marinate for minimum of 3 hours. Can be left to marinate over night in the refrigerator.
- Dice onions into small/medium portions.
- Peel potatoes and dice into medium portions.
- Drain water from chicken. (If applicable remove chicken from refrigerator at least 40 minute before cooking and drain. This is to allow chicken to come to room temperate.)
- In a large pot, add distilled vinegar, onions, whole allspice, bay leaves, 1 cup of water and chicken and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- You may wish to add more water to slightly dilute the vinegar further. This can be done after 30 minutes of cooking as the chicken will introduce a small amount of water to the souse.
- Add potatoes and continue to cook for additional 15-20 minutes until potatoes are firm but soft. Determine if potatoes are done by piercing with a fork. If the fork can pass easily through, the potatoes are done.