The idea of cooking the cow's feet is not one of the greatest feats achieved in the Jamaican culinary tradition by any means. Even if I beg to differ on this subject, I still must conclude that my take on cooked cow's feet is very subjective and I stand corrected by any of my Jamaican compatriots who might challenge my notions.
However strong or strange disdain you might have for cow foot, as we call it, I challenge you to try this fare...And, you won’t be disappointed. Yah Mon!
Well back in the old days, the 1600’s and 1700’s, you know during the plantation era, the upper classes would take the best parts of the cow when it's killed and leave the so called “fifth quarters”(head, feet, tail, internal organs, and skin) for the hired hands and slaves.
Notwithstanding, the workers took the "fifth quarters" and made delicious delicacies that are still enjoyed today by many people in Jamaica, including the upper classes…no blame intended. Easy Nuh Mon!
As a "fifth quarter" stew, cow foot was a kind of substitute for oxtail sometimes when oxtail was not available. Why? You should guess by now, the cow has but one tail and four feet. You don’t have to do the math to see the advantage the foot has.
Of course cow foot was the kind of stew you would cook mid- week, because the weekends were reserved for chicken or beef soup, and other foods too.
I do hope you will like this recipe.
3 lbs. Cow's feet( chopped and cleaned)
1 can. Jamaican Butter Bean
1 sprig Thyme
¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
3 stlk. Scallions
1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (optional)
Get the cow foot from the butcher shop or grocery store already chopped, cleaned, and ready to cook because this will save you a lot of time in the kitchen...pre-preparation.
Wash meat in cold water and then put it and the salt into the pressure cooker with about 5 cups of water. Allow the pressure cooker to boil the foot until the pot starts to make that steaming sound. Wait five minutes after the sound starts and then turn off the pot.
Do not remove the pot from the stove as yet. Let the pot cool down a little bit, wait five minutes. You do not want to remove the cover from pot while it’s hot, you can hurt yourself if you do this.
Put the pot under the pipe in the sink and let some water run onto the pot to further cool it down.
Pour out the contents into a saucepan and cook the cow foot some more with all the other ingredients, except the butter bean, if the meat is not already soft. You can skim the fat off the top of the pot with a spoon while the pot boils.
Taste the stew 7 minutes after the seasonings are added. Get a second opinion from someone about the taste of the stew at this point. You could also some spinners to the stew at this point, it’s your choice.
Let the stew cook on medium and then add the butter bean to the stew 5 minutes before removing it from the fire.
You can serve this cow foot stew with bread, white rice, yams, dumplings, or potatoes.
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