Callaloo leaf soup with crab recipe

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As the most well known of the Caribbean soups, callaloo is found throughout the Caribbean and in many variations.

  • Yield: 14 portions (8 ounces/portion)


  • 1 oz Peanut Oil
  • 2 lbs Whole Crabs, cleaned and cut into segments to yield claw and body sections (shrimp can be substituted or added as part of crab amount)
  • 6 oz Salt Pork or Bacon, diced small
  • 4 oz Celery, diced small
  • 8 oz Yellow Onion, diced small
  • ½ oz Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 10 oz Okra, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 Scotch Bonnet Chiles, pricked with a fork (substitute 2 habanero or 4 serrano chiles, if needed)
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves, minced
  • 2 qts Water
  • 1 lb Callaloo Leaves, tough center ribs removed and rolled and cut into ½-inch sections (you may substitute dasheen leaves or spinach, if callaloo is unavailable)
  • 2 oz Lime Juice
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
How to Make It
  1. In a pot large enough to hold all of the ingredients, add the peanut oil and heat over a medium flame until hot. Add crab sections and sauté until crab shells turn red and brown slightly from the heat, turning frequently to prevent burning and removing from the pot once colored.
  2. Once all of the crab has been colored and removed from the pot, set it aside and add the diced salt pork or bacon; panfry over a medium-low flame until the fat has been rendered and it is well caramelized.
  3. Strain out excess bacon fat, leaving just enough to sweat the vegetables (1–2 Tbsp).
  4. Add celery, onions, and garlic; sweat them in the bacon fat until the onions become soft and translucent, taking care not to color the vegetables by controlling the heat as needed.
  5. Add the okra, Scotch bonnet chili, thyme, and water; bring mixture to a simmer over a high flame, turning heat down once the mixture reaches a simmer.
  6. Add the callaloo leaves to the pot, and gently simmer until the leaves become just tender (this will take about 10–15 minutes). (The soup can be puréed at this point, if desired just remember to take out the chili before you do so!)
  7. Remove the Scotch bonnet chili, and add the crab sections and lime juice. Simmer for an additional 3–4 minutes.
  8. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

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