Bahamian Turkey Souse with 18th Century Johnny Cake 

Jan 30, 2023All Recipes, Main Courses

AS SEEN ON CITYLINE – Turkey Souse (pronounced sowse) is a tasty chili-lime soup-like broth with a zesty flavour profile. Souse is a method of preserving meat that dates to European Middle Ages. It is essentially known as Caribbean Soul Food with medicinal properties. 

Serves 2 


½ onion, sliced and cut in half 

1 stalk celery, chopped into ½ -inch pieces 

1 large white or yellow flesh potato, cut into 2-inch cubes 

1 tsp (10 mL) allspice berries, crushed 

1 tbsp (15 mL) whole allspice berries 

3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves 

2 Scotch Bonnet chili peppers, divided or homemade pepper sauce (preserved chilies & lime juice) 

Juice of 8 limes, divided 

2 skinless turkey thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces 

1 bay leaf 

1-2 lime or lemon leaves (optional) 

1 tbsp (15 mL) fine sea salt 

Lime wedges for garnishing 

Kaffir lime leaves for garnish 

Celery leaves for garnish 

Place a 4-quart (4 L) pot over medium heat, add the onion, celery, potatoes, 

crushed and whole allspice berries, thyme, 1 whole Scotch Bonnet chili pepper and half of the lime juice, position 

turkey over the vegetables. Cover tightly with a lid and let sweat for 5-10 minutes (this is the base for a flavorful broth). 

Add about 1 litre of water, stir, and bring to a boil with lid slightly ajar to release steam. 

Add remaining lime juice, bay leaf, lime leaf, salt and diced Scotch Bonnet chili pepper if using for a spicier broth. 

Adjust seasoning with salt and lime if necessary, ladle into bowls and garnish with lime wedges and leaves, serve with a side of pepper sauce (optional) and buttery Johnny cakes for dipping into the broth. 

18th Century Johnny Cake 

The origins of johnny cake dates to the 18th century. Fishermen and sailors made this bread on the decks of their vessels by building a fire in a box that was filled with sand to keep the flames from spreading to the craft. It was originally called journey cake because it was quick to make and sustainable while travelling. 


2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour 

2 tbsp (30 mL) baking powder 

1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar 

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt 

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, cubed 

1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded coconut (optional) 

2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola or vegetable oil 

1 cup (250 mL) whole milk 

Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish or loaf pan with butter. 

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and mix together. 

Add butter and, using your hand, combine with flour by breaking up into smaller pieces. Add coconut if using, oil and mix. 

Slowly pour in milk while mixing with your other hand to form dough into a ball (the dough should be soft and pliable). Dust a clean surface with flour and knead dough a few times. 

Place dough in the baking dish, spread out and level with your hand. Pour 1 tbsp milk over top of dough and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve as a complement to soups and stews, or as a snack serve warm with butter, guava or mango jam. 

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