Jamaican Callaloo (aka spinach, Chorai Bhagi) is a regular in my garden every year, so it’s only normal to see many recipes featuring this ‘greens’ we adore in the Caribbean. In this version we’ll put another loved Caribbean ingredient to use to add additional flavor and give the dish a true comforting appeal. Salted Pigtails! Feel free to use smoked turkey if you don’t mess with pork.
Jamaican Callaloo (about 3 lbs)
1 1/2 lbs salted pigtails (prepared)
1/2 large onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (sliced)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (no seeds)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 lemon juice (optional)
1/4 cup water
Important: If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary requirements.
Trim and wash the callaloo – basically you keep all the leaves (which are not tarnished) and the tender stems. For the stems you’ll want to remove the sort of skin on them so they cook faster and be much more tender. Discard the blemished leaves, flowers and tough stems.
Roll the leaves and chop into 1 cm ribbons. If you decide to use the tender stems, chop those into 1 cm pieces.
For the salted pigtails you will need to pre-cook first. Cut into 1 – 2 inch pieces (get your butcher to do this as they can be tough), wash with lemon juice and water. Then place in a pot covered with water and boil on a simmer for 45-50 mins on until they are tender and most of that salt (it’s cured in) is removed. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.
In a wide pan on a medium flame, add the olive oil and scotch bonnet pepper followed by the onion and garlic, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Add the black pepper and prepared salted pig tails. Continue cooking on low heat for 5 minutes.
Turn the heat to medium, then start adding the prepared callaloo followed by the coconut cream. It will pile up, but it will wilt with the lid on the pan. Toss in the water to assist it in steaming.
After 8 minutes remove the lid and stir. Continue cooking with the lid off now for 20-25 minutes or until all the liquid is gone.
Top with the tomato (optional) and squeeze on some lemon juice to brighten the flavor and in my case.. it prevents an itch at the back of my throat I usually get with greens.
I didn’t add any salt as the remaining salt in the pig tails was enough for my liking. But do taste and adjust.
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