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Callaloo

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Callaloo is a famed soup of the Caribbean that is made with greens from aroid plants indigenous to that of the world. Since callaloo greens are difficult to find outside of the Islands, a good substitute is Swiss chard, kale, or spinach, or, as in this recipe, a combination of all three. There are many variations of this soup, some of which call for pureeing the soup before adding the crabmeat and coconut milk, but I prefer the different textures.

Serves6 to 8

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, high fiber, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecreamy, herby, hot & spicy, meaty, savory

Type of Dishsoup

Ingredients

  • ½ pound red Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed
  • ½ pound kale, stems and ribs removed
  • ½ pound young spinach, stems removed
  • 3 ounces salt pork, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 whole scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ pound boiled or baked ham, cut into chunks
  • 6½ cups Basic Chicken Broth
  • Vegetable oil (optional)
  • ½ pound okra, stems removed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper (habanero chile) or 5 red Thai peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ pound fresh cooked crabmeat
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 4 cups boiled white rice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash the Swiss chard, kale, and spinach under running water. Dry on paper towels. Coarsely shred and set aside.

  2. Fry the salt pork in a 4- or 6-quart heavy soup pot for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and thyme. Sauté over medium-high heat until the pork is browned and crisp and the garlic and onion are soft and translucent, but not browned.

  3. Drain off and reserve any fat that may be left on the bottom of the pot. Add the Swiss chard, kale, spinach, scallions, and ham to the pot and lightly sauté 2 or 3 minutes. Pour in the broth, bring to almost a boil, lower the heat, and gently simmer, partially covered, 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, reheat the reserved fat in a nonstick skillet. It might be necessary to add a little extra vegetable oil. Sauté the okra and peppers, just until the okra is lightly browned and the peppers become aromatic. Scrape into the simmering soup, then add the crabmeat and coconut milk.

  5. Simmer 10 minutes, or until the okra is soft and the crab is heated through.

  6. Season with salt to taste and serve in a heated tureen or soup bowls, with Tabasco on the side if desired.

  7. If you prefer, add boiled rice to the tureen or ½ cup of rice to each bowl before adding the soup.

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I am looking for low-carb recipes and this one fit the bill perfectly. This was good but I made several changes. Here is what I did: no chard was available at the grocery store so I used mustard greens (they looked beautiful). No salt pork, so substituted bacon and omitted the scallions (somehow left them off my list) and lastly used only one jalapeño instead of chilies as we don't like super spicey food. My husband really liked it and I like that all the ingredients were fresh except the crab. I would make this dish again and I love the name.

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