Sunday, January 4, 2009

CSA week five - Braised callaloo

So, like I said yesterday, I set out this afternoon to follow Jennifer's advice and sauté the callaloo but upon closer examination I found the particular sort we've got is a bit too tough for a straight sauté so a braise was called for.

It's a pretty straightforward procedure but I figured I'd give it a post since I misled you in the last post. I started by browning some pre-desalinified salt cod and some ham in bacon fat in a dutch oven.

After a couple minutes I removed them, turned down the heat a bit, and added in my aromatics. I used a typical Caribbean combination of red pepper, hot peppers (sliced jalepeños instead of a pricked scotch bonnet), scallions, garlic and thyme, plus some Caribbean-style curry powder to try to cut through my cold.

I sweated them for a couple minutes and then added the callaloo leaves. Some recipes include the stems but they didn't strike me as particularly edible. Have any of you tried them? It only took a minute to wilt the leaves down. Then I added a cup of water (or you could use chicken stock of coconut milk), turned down the heat and covered the pot.

A lot of recipes call for up to forty minutes cooking time at this point, and if you're using dasheen that's probably a good idea. But for what we've got fifteen minutes was plenty. I added the salt cod and ham back in at around ten. A lot of those same recipes add okra at this point too. Fifteen minutes probably isn't enough for okra so I'd leave it out.

I served it all over a bowl of rice with a squeeze of lime and a dash of hot sauce to finish it off. Not bad at all and a lot less of a pain than the callaloo soup I made last time I had some. I don't think this sort of callaloo is so distinctive you're stuck using Caribbean accompaniments. This method is really a pretty generic mess of greens preparation so the flavors are adjustable any which way you'd like.


kat said...

I'd have to substitute for the eggplant since Matt can't stand it

Margie said...

THe callaloo stems are some of the best part!! if they're really thick, you can peel them first. But they don't normally need it. Just cook the stem parts first, then add the leaves. This green actually turns sweet when cooked (it's pretty bitter raw).

billjac said...

That explains why my taste-test of a bit of raw stem didn't prove promising. I'll use the stems next time and see how it works out.