I’ve had to wait a week to write this blog. It was only after we’d been on holiday for a couple of days in Barbados that I saw the little cafes saying that they served pudding and souse. After a little investigation I discovered that this is a bit of a Bajan custom – but only on Saturdays. I had to wait a whole week to try it.
Lets get something straight. Contrary to some of the online articles the pudding refers to the sweet potato accompaniment while the souse refers to pork which has been pickled as per soused herring. The pudding used to be held by pigs intestine and blood was added to the mix.
This is peasant food so don’t expect loin of pork. The dish I got was based on pig trotters. The cut is boiled in salt water until it is cooked. With the trotters it has layers of glutinous fat. This is then pickled in a sweet pickle. This will contain onions, scotch bonnet chilli, cucumber, parsley, red capsicum and seasoning with lime juice as the vinegar agent.
The pudding is made from grated sweet potatoes, onion, butter, oil, chives, thyme and seasoning. Seasoning in this case can include sugar as well as salt and pepper. The objective is to make sure you end up with something that is essentially savoury and with the flavours all mixed together. This is then baked until it Browns and the consistency is quite pudding-like. In my dish it was served with a scoop and balled accordingly.
When it was served, the pork was cold and covered in the pickle. The pudding was hot. The whole thing was given a spoonful of the pickle juice. I tried a bit of pepper sauce just to give it an edge.
There is no doubt that this cut of pork served like this is an acquired taste. Luckily I’m a brave soul and I love the gelatinous texture and the sweet meat. I also love sweet pickle flavours. I had no alternative but to pic, up the pieces to get them off the bone and I would have preferred some boneless meat that I could have easily cut to mix with the pudding. I love the heat and citrus in the pickle which cuts through the fat beautifully. The pudding is my favourite element. I like baked sweet potato but this creates something new and interesting. The texture does become pudding like and it is beautiful with the pickle flavours.
It was great to try a Bajan tradition and I will try something like this with belly pork in future.