Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Close to Callaloo...Close to Heaven!

I arrived home this evening amidst a rainstorm so furious that I couldn't see the road in front of me. The ferocity of the downpour was quite unbelieveable and I really feared I would get home to find My Beloved manning the mop and bucket, squeegee-ing the basement dry. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth...although I had to do a 'double take' when I saw what he was up to......

...making Callaloo!

Always one for trying new and perhaps exotic dishes, My Beloved found a recipe called 'Close to Callaloo' in Robin Robertson's Vegan Fire and Spice. When he discovered that callaloo is not only the vegetable (of the green leafy variety) but also the name of the dish itself, he just had to try it. Widely used in Caribbean cuisine, callaloo sports multiple broad, darkish green leaves along a main stem and, when roughly chopped and set on simmer, it wilts like spinach, thickening and adding flavour to the dish. This is what it looks like:

The creaminess comes from the addition, right at the very end, of unsweetened coconut milk which really tempers the soup. It's thick and hearty and perfect when you really can't face another summer salad. Yes yes, vegans can get tired of salad too, right?

So we enjoyed it this evening with a fresh crusty sourdough bread and some homemade hummus and watched the rainstorm outside.

Here's the recipe - and if you like it, go out and buy the book!

You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 hot chile, minced
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 bunch callaloo, roughly chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped
3 cups veg stock
1 can (13oz) unsweetened coconut milk
salt/pepper to taste

Here's what you do:

Heat the oil in a large pot and then add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, bell pepper and chile. Cook 10 mins until softened. Drain the tomatoes and add them to the pan along with the callaloo and swiss chard. Bring to gentle boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft (use the sweet potatoes as a guide - if they are done, everything is done!).

Add the coconut milk and salt/pepper and warm through. Serve with crusty bread to your sweetie.


Just one more way to enjoy your green leafies....

Stay Vegan, Friends! :)

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