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Callaloo Soup

This soup is popular in the Caribbean. Callaloo refers to amaranth leaves—a nutty, slightly bitter green. Since these leaves are not common in the United States, you can substitute spinach. You will find this hearty soup, redolent with vegetables, garnished with ham and crab, and thickened with okra, will transport you to the islands with its flavor.

Callaloo Soup

Ingredients

Ham hock:

  • 1 ham hock or shank
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in half
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in half
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 clove garlic

Soup:

  • 3 T (45 g) butter
  • ¼ C (35 g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1¼ tsp (4 g) garlic, crushed
  • ¾ tsp (2 g) thyme leaves, chopped
  • ¾ C (70 g) okra, sliced crosswise 3/8 inch (1 cm)
  • 8 oz (226 g) spinach, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Crab:

  • 2 T (30 g) butter
  • ¼ C (35 g) onion, finely chopped
  • 1¼ tsp (4 g) garlic, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp (2 g) thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 T (10 g) red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 6 oz (175 g) lump crabmeat
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • 2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil
  • ⅓ C (50 g) red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely sliced

Directions

Ham Hock: cover hock with water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil; add next six ingredients and simmer 45 minutes or until tender, skimming any foam. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. Strain, reserving 1¾ C (425 ml) of cooking liquid for soup. Pick ham from bone [yield approx. ⅓ C (87 g)]; reserve.

Soup: Place butter in a large saucepan over medium low; add onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes or until soft. Stir in thyme and okra; cook 3 minutes. Add reserved ham cooking liquid and spinach, stirring to combine. Cover; cook until tender, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Working in batches, transfer to a blender and process until smooth and thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep hot until serving.

Crab: Place butter in a large skillet over medium low heat; add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes. Stir in crabmeat, lemon zest and reserved ham and cook, stirring frequently, 4 minutes. Remove from heat; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish: Place olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.

Assembly: Place some crab and ham on the bottom of shallow soup bowls; pour soup around. Garnish with red bell pepper.

  • Prep time: 12 minutes.
  • Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes.
  • Makes 8 servings.