Recipe courtesy of Graham Kerr

Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup

A classic Caribbean soup and a specialty of Sign Great House near Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Yield: 6 large servings
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2 pounds pig tails, scrubbed, rinsed in cold water, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound salt beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

6 1/2 pints water

1 pound yams, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes

1 pound coco, peeled and chopped

4 cups ice water

12 okra, rinsed

8 ounces Indian kale, trimmed of heavy stalks and finely sliced

1 teaspoon powdered thyme

Freshly ground salt

Freshly ground pepper

6 ounces onion, thinly sliced

3 scallions, finely chopped

1 can callaloo* or 1 pound fresh spinach, shredded

*a Jamaican green vegetable that tastes like a cross between broccoli and spinach


  1. In a pot large enough to hold at least 20 cups of water, add pig tails. Cook on medium heat to render fat. Pat salt beef dry with a towel. When drippings have accumulated, add salt beef to pot and saute until brown.
  2. Once browned, add 6 1/2 pints of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the surface and clings to the sides of the pot.
  3. After 1 hour, add the yams and coco. Add ice water to congeal fat and cause it to rise to the top. Skim off fat. Simmer for 1/2 hour more.
  4. Add okra and kale. Add thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Add chopped onion and scallion. Cook another 1/2 hour. Add callaloo or spinach and boil for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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