A tried and true classic for a reason
As someone who cooks for a living, I’m always searching for new tips, tricks, and approaches to make my cooking as sustainable as possible. For some extra inspiration, I launched a new series to understand how people from around the world minimize their waste and turn trash into meals. When I started the series, I was excited to discover new (to me) ingredients and how to use them. However, I was not expecting pigtails to be on the list.
In countries like the United States, pigtails are commonly tossed in the trash right from the butcher’s counter. If they aren’t thrown away, the best case scenario is they’re turned into dog treats instead. On the island of St. Lucia, though, pigtails have long been used as the main protein and flavor of Pigtail Bouillon.
According to Stephi, who grew up in St. Lucia, Pigtail Bouillon is a staple dish. At least once a week, Stephi’s grandmother would make her a steaming pot of bouillon and it was a frequent part of her school lunches as a kid. For Stephi, Pigtail Bouillon is mainly associated with cookouts by the water where her family would gather together and cook the broth in traditional clay pots. Even though Stephi now lives in Brooklyn, New York in the United States, she can always make a batch of her family’s bouillon to help remind her of home.
The process for making Pigtail Bouillon is remarkably easy – at least once you’ve gotten everything prepped. This recipe is richly flavored thanks to a whole host of ingredients like carrots, onions, green peppers, kidney beans, and starches like parsnips, and plantains. And of course, we can’t forget the sliced portions of pigtails. Once you have everything washed, trimmed, cubed, and diced, you can then leave it all to simmer together in a large pot.
For an extra element of texture and fun, Stephi also recommends adding in some homemade dumplings. You’ll simply mix together cornmeal, flour, and water until you have a malleable dough. Roll the dough into small balls and then plop them into the bouillon to cook.
After lots of chopping and lots of simmering, you’re left with something truly wonderful. The broth is richly savory from the pigtails and earthy from the vegetables. It’s a warming, comforting dish that shows how valuable an overlooked ingredient like pigtails can be.
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