Callaloo is the name of this traditional West Indian soup as well as of the large fan-shaped leafy greens—sometimes called dasheen leaves or taro root leaves—that are its chief component. The greens taste like a cross between spinach and cabbage.
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2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
4 slices of bacon, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound callaloo (see Note) or spinach, stemmed, leaves cut into 1/2 -inch ribbons
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons basil
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons celery leaves
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the callaloo, basil, parsley and celery leaves and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and barely tender, about 7 minutes.
Add the water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the greens are soft, about 10 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until perfectly smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and then serve in soup plates.
The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.
Callaloo leaves are available in West Indian and Asian markets.
A simple, dry white pairs well with the fresh taste of the greens.
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