How to make chicken foot souse

3.7.17 | Recipe by Renz
Boiled chicken foot in water seasoned with salt, pepper, chives, onions, sliced cucumbers, and chadon beni. This chicken foot souse will make your taste buds tingle with delight as you eat the chicken foot and savor the taste of the seasoned water.

  
Chicken foot souse in white serving bowls with bread on the side.



When I first had the random urge to eat some souse a few weeks back, I was a bit apprehensive about turning it into a post.

It's one of those dishes that people can easily love or just the same give you this weird face for eating it. You know, those dishes you really love but someone, somewhere else thinks you're mad for eating them

This is one of those dishes.

A popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago that would make your taste buds tingle with delight with the highly seasoned water.

But it's not just in Trinidad and Tobago but across the Caribbean. It is most commonly made with pig feet/foot, and cow heel and then there is also another alternative, chicken feet. Yup!! Chicken feet.

This traditional dish is like a pickled dish. It is a combination of ingredients, and flavors that give it a huge unique taste regardless of what it looks like.

It's a humble dish that you will dive into with vigor and drink that water down till the cup is empty. I don't eat it often, but when I do, I enjoy it so much.

Here is my step-by-step recipe with pictures, which was a favorite made by my Dad, for making chicken foot souse.
  

What is Caribbean style souse?


Souse is a spiced-up broth that is full of chives, peppers, onions, cucumbers, chadon beni (culantro). It is jam-packed with so much flavor.

We include some meat into the brine. We let the meat sit in there so that all the flavors are just blended together.

It used to be a dish that came out for a special occasion, say Christmas or christenings, but then became a known dish at events sold by vendors.

There are different types of souse recipes. Here's a breakdown of souse meat types:


For me, the best part of any souse is the water/liquid. And you definitely need to have some bread to dip into that water when you sit behind a bowl of it.

You would find these offerings a lot after fetes. Along with other street foods like corn soup, roast corn, doubles, or boiled corn.

They say that the salt and pepper levels help to diminish the level of alcohol that may have been consumed at the party. Or it can also act as a "pick me up" to go to the next event.

Ingredients for souse

  
Ingredients for making chicken foot souse on a tray.


  • Chicken foot.
  • Large onion.
  • Large cucumber.
  • Chadon beni | Culantro (cilantro).
  • Chives.
  • Bell pepper, chopped.
  • Lime juice.
  • Garlic cloves.
  • Water.
  • Hot peppers. This can be scotch bonnet pepper or habanero. Seeds can be omitted for less heat. Or include seeds and use a whole pepper for more heat.
  • Salt.
  • Pimento pepper (optional).
  • Pepper sauce.
  • White vinegar.

Equipment
Dutch pot
Pressure cooker | Instant pot (optional)

How to make chicken foot souse?


The process is the same for any meat you use.

First, we want to clean up those chicken feet. Well, we just say chicken foot for everything.


  
Image of chicken feet being washed in water and vinegar.


Scrub them down and use a knife to scrape off anything off them. Also, cut off the nails from the end of the toes. A knife or kitchen shears would be fine.

Once cleaned, make a few slices in the fatty area with your knife. This is so we can get the sauce to soak in.


  
A picture of a chicken foot, showing the cuts to be made on the leg.


Place the feet in some water, some vinegar, and about a tablespoon of pepper sauce. Let that sit and soak for a little. If you want, you can also put these in your pressure cooker and pressure them faster than boiling.

In the meantime, you can cut up your other ingredients if you haven't done so yet.

Once the meat has soaked for at least 30 minutes, discard the liquid from the bowl of chicken feet and give it a rinse.

Boil the feet on the stove with enough water covering them, with about a teaspoon of salt for about 30 minutes, or cook until chicken feet are tender.

Drain the feet from the water, then set them aside to cool. You can also run cold water over the chicken through a colander till it's cool.

In a large bowl combine all your ingredients. The cucumbers, onions, chicken feet, water, chadon beni, lime juice, and chives. Combine everything well, then leave it to sit for about 30 minutes (or more) so that all the flavors can combine.

  
Process shots of taking the boiled chicken feet, and adding the onions, cucumbers, seasonings and water.


Make sure to test for salt and black pepper.

Once ready to serve, add the chopped bell peppers to the mix.

Should I put souse in the fridge?


Sometimes you might have leftovers and want to store them in the fridge for the next day.

Let me give you a full warning, this will coagulate in the fridge. You are going to get a thickened bowl of jelly when you return. It is not spoiled though, it can be warmed up.

Souse though is best eaten fresh.

  
Combined bowl of all the ingredients for making chicken souse.



How to store chicken foot souse?


If you have leftovers then you can store them in an air-tight container.

It would be a good idea to remove the fixings before putting them in the fridge. So remove as much of the cucumbers, onions, and peppers as possible and store those in a container. Then store the liquid and the meat in a separate container.

Storing things separately will help with the reheating directions below.

How to reheat souse?


I mentioned above that souse coagulates when it gets cold. It forms a solid mass in the container you store it in.

I much prefer eating this dish fresh the day it was made. But sometimes we have to do what we have to do.

To get it back to that liquid form you can warm it up on the stove or in the microwave. The stove top is the best option.

Just place it in a large pot, and over low heat simmer it till it has returned to liquid. Once that happens you can leave it to cool to room temperature.

You can also take it out of the fridge and leave it till it gets to room temperature. But that will take a while.

  
A serving of souse with bread on the side.


Tips for making souse recipes


1. My dad always said for me to use a glass dish or a none reactive bowl to leave the souse in. Plastic is avoided because sometimes the material alters the taste of the water.

2. Fresh chicken feet are the best option for this. We don't want them starting to turn black or even be stale and have a stale taste.

3. The pepper and vinegar wash is great to get rid of that fresh chicken scent. You could also use lime or lemon to wash out the feet.

4. Another great way to serve this is to have the bell peppers and the cucumbers separate. Let your guests add them to their own bowl as they are serving out. This would help with not having to remove to store and reheat.

5. If you have a pressure cooker you can also pressure your meat instead of letting it boil. It would be a faster process.

6. You can have additional hot sauce around so that people can increase the heat levels if they wish.

  
A close up of a chicken foot sitting in the brine for chicken foot souse.



Well! I think I've said a bit on this souse to get you started and help you avoid some of my mistakes, so here's chicken foot souse.

If you have tried this recipe and like it, I would really appreciate you rating my recipe so that I know you did.


Here are some other popular Trini street foods: