This soup is dominated by the mineral-rich leafy green known as callaloo, which is similar to spinach. It has its origin with the Arawak Indians, who were the first known inhabitants of Jamaica. Over the years it’s evolved from a callaloo-based stew to more of a soup dish using a vast array of vegetables. Different recipes derive their rich flavor bases from either smoked pork, shrimp, crab or salt cod, depending on the availability of ingredients or taste preference.
NotesDon’t hesitate to use other vegetables, such as pumpkin, sweet pepper, cabbage or Irish potatoes, as replacements or additions if you have any on hand.
Makes6 to 8 servings
Total Timeunder 4 hours
One Pot MealYes
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturehot & spicy, meaty, smoky, spiced
Type of Dishhot soup
- ½ pound callaloo or spinach, chopped
- ½ pound kale, chopped
- ½ pound smoked pork, such as ham hocks
- ½ pound beef with bones, such as shin
- 10 okra, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 whole Scotch bonnet pepper (green recommended)
- 10 cups water
- 5 whole scallions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1½ teaspoons dried
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 4 slices Scotch bonnet pepper (any color)
- 1 chocho (chayote), peeled, pitted and chopped, or 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
- ½ pound yellow yam, peeled and chopped (optional)
- 2 cups fresh or canned coconut milk
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
Wash the callaloo or spinach and kale thoroughly by submerging in 2 to 3 different cold water baths. Lift the greens out first, then discard the water. Place the greens in a large soup pot (a Dutch oven is ideal) along with the pork, beef, okra, tomato, whole Scotch bonnet pepper and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and partially cover. Simmer for 1½ hours.
Remove the whole Scotch bonnet pepper. Take out the pork and beef from the pot and separate the meat from the bone and fat. Chop the meat and return it to the pot. Add the scallions, garlic, thyme, salt, black pepper, sliced Scotch bonnet pepper, chocho, yam and coconut milk. Cook for 30 minutes, adding water if needed for a proper soup consistency.
To prepare the dumplings, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add the water and blend with a wooden spoon until a ball is formed. Flour your hands and knead slightly to form a soft dough. Form it into flat round shapes (will make 8 to 10). Cook them in boiling water for 15 minutes. Serve the soup piping hot with a dumpling in each bowl.
2006 Lucinda Scala Quinn