CALLALOO (Caribbean taro soup, for six)


2 pounds callaloo leaves (taro leaves may be hard to come by, but spinach or Swiss chard are good substitutes)

¾ pound fresh okra, sliced

¾ pound ham, diced

2 fresh hot jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped

½ teaspoon thyme

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

6 scallions, both green and white parts, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 quart vegetable or chicken stock

optional:   ½ cup coconut milk and/or ½ pound crabmeat, picked over very carefully for cartilage

  1. Put all of the ingredients except the coconut milk and crabmeat into a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  1. Puree the callaloo in a food processor and add the optional coconut milk . Heat briefly.  Divide the crabmeat among 6 soup bowls, ladle the soup over and serve immediately.

NOTE:  Callaloo has many variations and possible additions.  Fresh fish fillets are sometimes added, as are riz creole (white rice) and morue grille (grilled or broiled salt cod).


adapted from Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz, The Complete Book of Caribbean Cooking

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