Callaloo Soup, or something like it
Today was another rainy day, a good day to make this recipe for soup I've been wanting to try. It's a recipe from Grenada for callaloo, a spicy green soup created by Caribbean slaves. But I don't have any callaloo, a large-leaf green. I did have some large leaf spinach, though, that a grower at the market sold me this morning. He said it would be perfect for soup.
I adjusted the recipe here and there, actually making it less spicy. Normally I love spice, but I had a hard time envisioning a creamy spinach soup that was spicy. I wanted to tone it down, get comfortable with the concept first.
Wow. What a concept! The soup was delicious, spicy and exotic tasting. I served it with a small wholemeal loaf of rye bread, which went surprisingly well, despite its incongruousness. I guess it's fusion. It may not be anything like the callaloo served in the West Indies—I took several liberties with the recipe, and thought seriously about adding some toasted pumpkin seeds I was nibbling on throughout.
The teenager enjoyed it too—she asked what was healthy about it, as if something that good might not be good for you. (Doesn't she know better than to give me an opening?) Spinach, I told her, is a good source of iron as well as calcium and folate. Then there's the onions and garlic, which are loaded with antioxidents. And the peppers clear your sinuses.
Spicy Spinach Soup (Callaloo)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 hot red chiles, minced
15 ounces coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
1 pound spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons coriander
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons soy yogurt
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, saute the onion and shallot in the vegetable oil, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, green onions, ginger, and red peppers. Saute another minute and then add the coconut milk and stock.
Stir over medium heat until stock is warm, then add spinach. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add cinnamon, coriander, and lime juice. Stir to combine.
Remove mixture to a food processor or blender and blend throughly. Return to pot and add yogurt. Stir over medium heat until combined and heated through. Serve immediately.
Makes about 3 servings. Double the liquid and spinach in the recipe if you want to make more, and adjust the spices to your taste.