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Callaloo Is a Caribbean Gumbo

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If you don't have callaloo, spinach will work fine in this recipe.

“Callaloo is essentially a Caribbean gumbo,” said food historian Jessica Harris at the Culinary Institute of America’s Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium. It can vary across the Caribbean because the green known as callaloo varies from island to island.

Throughout the Caribbean it is served as a soup, but in Guadaloupe, it becomes a main dish served over rice and topped with flakes of salt cod, she said.


2 pounds fresh crabmeat
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 scallions, including tops, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided use
2 sprigs fresh thyme, crumbled or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 pound fresh spinach, cleaned and stemmed or callaloo greens
1 pound okra, topped, tailed and cut into rounds
7 cups water
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet, pricked with a fork
Juice of 3 limes

Brown the crabmeat in the oil with the scallions, 1 teaspoon of the garlic and the thyme. In a stockpot, brown the diced bacon. Wilt the spinach in the rendered bacon fat. Add the okra, cover with water and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. When done, add the crabmeat, remaining garlic and habanero. Continue to cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, add the lime juice, whisk it thoroughly and serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

From Clara Lesueur, Chez Clara, Guadeloupe

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