Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few days, huge swaths of America have been affected by the Polar Vortex. It’s been miserably cold here in Chicago, and for a few days we were completely snowed in and hibernating while the wind chill dipped to minus 40 and below. Being hunkered down like that can be cozy and comfortable if you plan it right. During our time of being stuck in the vortex, I decided to make some hearty winter recipes. One of the dishes I decided to make was my sister’s recipe for Trinidadian corn soup, which I shared in this post. This time around, time was of the essence and I had minimal opportunity to get all of the unusual, international ingredients required. I used some good ol’ ingenuity to give the recipe flavor, and to adapt it for the American ingredients I had immediate access to.
The soup turned out delicious, despite the fact that I didn’t have a strict recipe to adhere to, I swapped in ingredients and I kind of remixed it to do my own thing. I love a forgiving recipe. Here’s the adapted recipe for Trini corn soup, using American ingredients. Hope you enjoy!
TRINI-STYLE CORN & BEEF SOUP WITH DUMPLINGS, AMERICAN INGREDIENTS
This is adapted from my sister Petal’s recipe. It’s informal and requires your own best judgment on amounts etc.
Serves up to 10 – halve the ingredients for a smaller number of guests
2 lbs. lean cubed beef – well seasoned
1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, mashed to add texture and thickness to the soup
1/4 lb cooked ham or pork sausage pieces, or bacon. Whatever’s handy to add that salty flavor. I used 2 strips of thick cut bacon, sliced it up and sauteed it into the mix
1 bag mini carrots cut into smaller bites
Salt & Black pepper to taste
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 can of beef broth
1 butternut squash, roasted before adding to soup
2 large potatoes, diced
2 cans kernel corn
2 cans cream style corn
2 cloves garlic minced
1 whole chopped onion
1 hot pepper
¼ cup chopped chive
2 ears of sweet corn cut into rounds
Your favorite seasonings. I used Sylvia’s Secret Seasoning, which is an herb blend.
Dumplings – optional
step 1 – roast your butternut squash. It takes an hour, and I used this method I found online. Super easy.
step 2 – use a large pot – a soup pot or Dutch oven. Start by sauteeing your chopped onions and garlic in butter or olive oil, over medium heat. Let the onions get translucent and soft.
step 3 – add meat and bacon or pork sausage. You want to brown your meat on all sides, but not cook it all the way through. Stir often, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
step 3 – add your carrots and mashed chickpeas to the pot. Add the can of beef broth. The goal is to have enough liquid to just cover ingredients. Add a little water if need be. Cover and cook until beef, carrots and peas are tender. Stir often.
step 4 – Add seasonings, cans of corn, actual corn, roasted butternut squash or pumpkin, potato, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over a low to medium heat and stir often. This will be a thick, hearty soup with tender veggies and beef.
Taste again and adjust salt/pepper
Dumplings – Optional
1 cup of flour – ¼ cup yellow cornmeal, 3/4 cup white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup water
Mix cornmeal, flour, salt & baking powder – stir in water and mix to a thick, smooth paste. Then drop spoonfuls of dough onto top of hot soup mixture while still bubbling in the pot. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
All in all it took me maybe a little over 2 hours to make this soup, which is thick, hearty, warming to the spirit, and will make enough leftovers for you, your family, and your neighbor who could use a nice hot bowl of soup on a winter’s day.
Enjoy and SHARE if you like it!