DON’T ‘KNOCK’ MY FEET! CHICKEN FEET/VEGGIE SOUP

It was back to basics for yours truly. As the winds howled and temperatures took a ‘nose-dive’ on the outskirts, I decided to revisit a childhood favorite of mine. In the Caribbean and Asian kitchens, chicken feet are utilized as tasty protein additions to stews and vegetable soups.

Chicken feet are loaded with beneficial nutrients such as collagen (by the way, excellent for tight skin), vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. So, with that in mind I grabbed my stock pot and got my chicken feet softened in preparation for  a soup.  For extra flavoring,  I added the backbones and neck of a whole chicken. In addition,  chopped pumpkin pieces were added along with salt, back pepper, and other seasonings.

Pieces of corn on the cob, root vegetables such as carrots, onions, crushed cloves of garlic, and celery were tossed in as well.  Chicken soup was flavored with fresh thyme, pimento(all spice), scallion, bouillon and chicken flavored noodle mix.

Under low eat, chicken feet and vegetable soup simmered to a delicious and aromatic consistency. My stomach and taste buds were truly warmed on a winter’s day.

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BRAISED HEINEKEN OXTAILS

In Jamaica, there’s an old adage that says, “Patient man rides donkey.” And, as I prepped and cooked my braised Heineken oxtails, I knew for sure that the whole process entailed precious time. I had some to spare; so I was perfectly happy to execute this Jamaican dish with my twist.

Typically,  beer is not part of the braising liquid; however, I wanted to put a somewhat different spin on the dish. And I did so by adding a half bottle of Heineken beer. This gave additional robust flavors that didn’t rob the dish of its traditional taste.

Oxtails were braised (stove-top) for approximately 3 hours under low to medium heat until fork-tender. Approximately 15 minutes before completion, bow-tie dumplings (spinners) were added. And close to the ending of dish lima beans (butter) were added.

I rode my donkey alright. The final dish was succulent. Just as I desired, the oxtail pieces were tender and delicious. The beer greatly enhanced the thick brown sauce and meat to another level.