Caribbean Side-Soupcallaloo soup

Callaloo Soup
(Serves 4)

Sent in by Cathy Bibbs-Cornell:

We ate this often while vacationing in Dominica (doh-mi-nee-kuh) in the south-eastern Caribbean. I'd never heard of Callaloo before, and when we questioned the cook, she said it was made from the very young leaves of the Daishin plant—the root of which is known as the Taro root. Of course there is no Callaloo or Daishin here in Cleveland! But spinach makes a decent substitute. This is surely as nutritious as it is delicious!.

1 lb spinach leaves
1 large celery stalk with leaves (chopped)
3 chives or green onions (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 sweet pepper (chopped)
2 T butter
1/2 lb. okra (sliced)
1/4 tsp. teaspoon thyme
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 T sherry or rum
4 C chicken or fish stock
1 C coconut milk (unsweetened)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the celery, onions, garlic and sweet pepper in butter until tender. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until all the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in a blender in small batches, until smooth and free of lumps. Serve!

Thanks Cathy—the recipe looks terrific! And thanks for the explanation of callaloo / daishin.

To our readers: Also check out Cathy's recipe for Curacço Stew.

| See more Caribbean recipes |

Tips & Glossary

Caribbean cuisine is an exquisite blend of African, Asian, European, and Carib Indian (the area's original inhabitants) foods. Dishes are highly seasoned, either with a dry rub or marinade —or both. Below are some typical ingredients found in Caribbean food.

Callaloo: young leaves of either the taro root plant or amaranth; used widely in Caribbean cooking. Spinach can be used as a substitute.

Spices: Allspice, bay leaves, black pepper, chives, chili peppers, cilantro, cinnamon, coconut, curry powder, escallion, garlic, ginger, lime, mace, nutmeg, onion, oregano, sugar, thyme, orange, tomato paste, vanilla, cayenne (red) pepper.

Jerk: Jamaican cooking method in which meat is rubbed, prior to grilling, with a blend of seasonings, often firey hot.

Jerk is also the name of the seasoning (from Spanish charqui, or dried meat). You can buy jerk in most grocery stores (even McCormick makes it), or can make and store your own.

• 1 T each—onion powder, garlic powder, dried chives, brown sugar; 2 tsp. each— (ground) allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon; 1 tsp. each—sage. thyme, salt, black pepper, cayenne (or more to taste). Mix thoroughly and store in a tightly covered jar.

There are thousands of versions; figure out what flavors you like most and add or subtract accordingly.

Typical meats: goat, pork, chicken, and some beef (though beef has tended to be expensive).

Fish: varieties that abound in surrounding waters, some familiar to us—grouper, cod, tilapia, blue marlin; others not so—200 species of jack, chip-chips (tiny clams), casadura (primitive armored catfish).

Native plant foods:
• ackee—peach-looking fruit with pulp like scrambled eggs
• annatto (achiote) seed
red coloring or flavoring agent w/ slightly sweet peppery taste.
• cassava root (taro root)
• malanaga root
• scotch bonnet peppers
• breadfruit—fruit used like a potato in salads, stews, even whipped.
• passion fruit

More familiar foods:
bananas and plantains, okra, yams, papaya, mangoes, coconut, yams, sweet potatoes, rice, beans, corn and cornmeal.


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