Oxtail Soup

As the chill of fall creeps in and the smell of wood stoves in our neighbourhood, I realize one thing - it's soup time!

I was remembering how most Fridays at our house it was soup day.  Always a hearty soup with legumes, vegetables, cornmeal dumplings with cinnamon and some meat - some pieces of salt beef, chicken or oxtails.

My husband has never had it, so I decided to stray from our usual braised oxtails with lima beans and take a stroll in my mom's West Indian kitchen.

The texture of this soup is what really makes it the most wonderful thing to eat on a sunny Sunday afternoon, while you can see the frost on the BBQ.  The soup starts with some cleaned and marinated oxtails and some dry split peas.  These are boiled together briefly in the pressure cooker before putting on the lid so as to skim off the creepy looking foamy scum on top (sorry - it looks pretty nasty at this stage!).

Next the lid goes on and the pressure cooker works it's magic for 45 minutes.  (Aside - for those of you who didn't grow up with a pressure cooker or those of you did and remember it blowing up and then cleaning off the ceiling, they are wonderful things actually.  They take hours off of braising meats and cooking dried beans.  Although, I don't finish the dish in there and only use it when I am greedy to wait for nature to take its course - as I find you cannot develop true flavours this way.)

Once the meat and peas have cooked and you (safely) open the lid you will not believe the transformation that awaits you in the pot.  The split peas will have completely dissolved and formed the creamy base for your soup.

It is a wonderful, homogenous blend of meat and veggies - just makes you feel good.  The addition of some cornmeal and cinnamon dumplings made it perfect.  There were enough leftovers for us for lunch the next day.  It would have been enough for 4 people - wait, should I have invited someone over??


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