How Do You Do, Callaloo?


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I spent some time working in the British Virgin Islands, and had the pleasure of working with a man we called “Pont”. Pont was in charge of making soups and such on Peter Island, and one of his many specialities was Callaloo soup. Once a month he would whip up a batch, and I would secretly snatch a litre or two to bring home with me to enjoy in the comfort of my home; sitting on my deck on the ocean (yes, you read correctly; I LIVED on the ocean!). A few years later while shopping at the Halifax Farmers’ Market, I came across a farmer (Hutton Family Farm) that grew callaloo, and I immediately bought some and ran home to try and re-create Pont’s spicy and silky soup. If you cannot find callaloo, you can substitute spinach or kale. FYI…I also like to douse my finished soup with some Matouk’s Hot Sauce to give me that extra ring of fire.

Callaloo Soup

  • 1 onion; chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; chopped
  • 1 1″ piece ginger; minced
  • 1 sweet potato; peeled and diced
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper or 2 Jalapenos; minced
  • 6 slices smoked bacon or 1 nice piece of salted pork
  • 4 cups callaloo or spinach/kale; chopped with stems
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 limes; juiced
  • 1 cup chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups okra

In a heavy bottomed pot, saute the onion with the garlic in a bit of olive oil, bacon, hot peppers and ginger. Add the sweet potato and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices and cook for another minute. Add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Add the chopped callaloo and okra. Cook for 15 minutes and add the lime juice, fresh coriander and season to taste. Cook until the sweet potatoes are soft and put in a blender and puree. Please be careful when blending hot liquids (instructions here). Season to taste and add more hot sauce if you can handle it!

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3 Responses to “How Do You Do, Callaloo?”

  1. Jordan Mooers Says:
    March 30th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Cooked this one on the weekend. Used kale and some mixed greens. Great recipe. Tasted like the soup we ate in Bequia in February.

  2. Annette Says:
    January 4th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Darn! I could have used this callaloo advice when I received it in my CSA foodbox this summer! I wound up just cooking it with onions, garlic and tomato…but I’ve had it in Trinidad and it tasted much more magical and soup-y…I will be saving this recipe for next time.
    Thanks :)

  3. Renee Says:
    January 4th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    You’re welcome. You can also substitute spinach or kale for it too.

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