And my two weeks of no meat has finally come to an end and I survived to tell the tale. Surprisingly I didn’t miss it at all! Even though I didn’t eat meat, I cooked it a few times for the Mr. because he just couldn’t survive without it. I was totally surprised at my willpower and lack of interest; I didn’t even sneak a bite. At the end of the two weeks I celebrated by making a Cinco De Mayo feast, and oh what a feast it was.
The fish tacos with mango salsa, carnitas tamales and cucumber margaritas that I prepared as a reward were a hit.
While it was fun pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, I don’t see it as a permanent lifestyle. It’s good to know that I could survive without meat without going batsh*t crazy.
Now back to regular routine, I prepared a Caribbean version of Chicken and Dumplings. Chicken, pumpkin, white sweet potatoes, fresh corn and parsley dumplings are cooked in a light, fragrant coconut broth.
With each bite of this one pot meal you’re instantly transported to the Caribbean. Pumpkin and coconut milk give this soup a light sweetness while the corn and sweet potato makes it hearty.
Chicken Soup with sweet potatoes, pumpkin and corn
2 cups Caribbean Pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut in 1 inch cubes
2 ears fresh corn
3 cups white sweet potato (boniato), peeled and cut in 2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 wiri pepper
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp margarine
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 cups chicken stock
¼ cup coconut milk
Hold the 1 corn upright holding the pointed tip, using a knife, cut the corn downwards, 2-3 rows at a time. Repeat until all of the corn is cut off the cob. Next, using the back of the knife scrape corn cob to remove the milk bits. Set aside. Now cut the second ear of corn crosswise into 2 inch pieces. Set aside.
In a large stock pot over medium fire, melt margarine. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes until soft. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf and wiri pepper then stir. Cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken thighs then add to pot. Cook for 5 minutes. Next add sweet potato, cut corn with the milky bits and chicken stock, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, corn on the cob and coconut milk. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove chicken, shred when cool enough to hand. While chicken cools, add dumplings. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes. Do not peep! Remove from heat, add shredded chicken. Sprinkle chopped parsley before serving.
¾ cup Flour
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp margarine
1 tsp parsley
3 tbsp + 1 tsp milk
Place flour in a bowl with salt, sugar and baking powder then mix to combine. Using a fork, cut margarine into flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add 1 tsp chopped parsley and milk; using your hands mix to form dough. Roll dough into a log, and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Roll between palms to form the dumplings. Add to soup last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Caribbean pumpkin is commonly known as Calabaza squash. Butternut squash is an excellent substitute.
- If Caribbean sweet potatoes are unavailable, use Yukon gold potatoes instead however it won’t be as sweet.
- During the cooking process check the sweet potatoes and pumpkin for tenderness. If you find that one is too soft, remove from the soup with a slotted spoon then add once the soup is done. While a bit tedious, it is better than eating mushy soup!