Christmas Entrée- Turkey & Sweetcorn Pepper Soup

Funke Koleosho's Turkey & Sweetcorn Pepper Soup

Pepper soup is a big part of Nigerian cuisine particularly popular with the people of Southern Nigeria. There are several soup bars (popularly referred to as pepper soup joints) dotted across the country serving up exotic, incredibly spicy soups packed with an array of meat and fish parts. Most popular being catfish/tilapia pepper soup or assorted meat pepper soup.

I do enjoy a good soup especially one busting with real flavours from traditional spices (ehuru, uda and yangagan (all these items have various names depending on locality)...) and herbs; in particular scent leaves.

I personally tend to shy away from Nigerian style soups which are an overload of salt, oil, fiery hot pepper and bony meat of different sorts. Rather I believe that a soup should be a source of real enjoyment of flavours from the spices and textures from the meat/vegetables added...."A well put together pepper soup would delight the taste buds!"

So, as its Christmas, I thought it would be great to take one of the main food items eaten at this time, ...turkey....match it with an all time favourite, as an interesting foodie twist... to make a light soup that will make a really good entrée/starter.

This Christmas, I would like you to explore the unique (and they are truly unique) tastes of the spices used to make the popular pepper soup and experience something magical, in line with the theme of the season....try my Turkey & Sweetcorn pepper soup. You'd love it!

What you need
  • A really good pepper soup spice mix (I tend to buy the individual spice items and blend my uda, ehuru and yangagan. I also use cameroon pepper and atare (alligator pepper). Slightly char burning the ehuru before pounding releases its very fragrant essence and aids better flavour development during cooking). Pound the spices as finely as you can. (A coffee grinder is an excellent equipment you can use to achieve this)
  • Fresh turkey (thigh, leg or breast pieces are suitable for this recipe
  • Peanut butter (optional)
  • Canned sweet corn
  • Bouillon cubes (for seasoning the turkey)
  • Fresh scent leaves (sweet basil is a good substitute)
  • Ground chilli pepper
  • Cameroon pepper or black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Ground crayfish

What to do:
  1. Cut the turkey pieces into small bite size pieces. Remove all bones and skin.
  2. Crush bouillon cube and work into the meat. Add some water and boil meat until just tender. Do not overcook the meat and ensure you add enough water to create good amount of stock afterwards. 
  3. Remove the meat pieces and set aside. Also strain the resultant stock using a strainer to remove dregs from the turkey. You really want a clear stock at the end of this stage. Set aside.
  4. In a separate stock pot, bring some water to the boil and add the spices, under low, allow the spices to infuse for at least 30 minutes (I find that the longer I leave it, the more the flavours develop. The spices release their fragrances, flavours and aromas.) Then, depending on how finely you pounded them, strain off any spice debris visible. 
  5. Now add the stock from step 3, some chilli powder, cameroon pepper, ground ginger, ground crayfish and ground cloves. Also add some table spoons of peanut butter. (the use of  peanut butter is optional but I promise you it contributes greatly to the flavour and consistency of the soup. Add a little at a time until you reach your preference) 
  6. Allow all to boil under medium heat. At this stage you have the freedom to adjust your soup base to your precise taste in terms of how rich, spicy, salty or flavourful you want your soup. Do not add your meat or sweetcorn until you are satisfied with the taste and flavours of this base.
  7. Separate the sweetcorn into two parts, one part to be blended in a food processor. The other part added directly to the soup to add texture to it (base the amount of corn added on your personal preference. the more the corn, the thicker the soup). 
  8. Add the blended sweetcorn and stir in. Adjust consistency by adding hot water to the soup. Then add the meat pieces and the remaining sweetcorn and continue to cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes under low heat. Adjust taste by adding some more ground crayfish or any left over stock. Don't be too hasty to add more stock cubes.!!! Serve hot with freshly chopped scent leaves.

Turkey & Sweetcorn Pepper Soup



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