With an abundance of fresh Callaloo (aka spinach or chorai bhagi) in my garden last summer and with the many requests for a version of the classic Jamaican Callaloo With Saltfish (salted cod) without the saltifsh, I’ve been playing around with a few variations. I’m a HUGE fan of salted cod and NOT a fan of turkey, but I had to admit that this recipe was simply delicious. You may also use ground beef, chicken or pork if you so desire.. with similar results.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic (diced or crushed)
1 small onion
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (sliced)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
4 sprigs thyme
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 grape tomato
juice 1/2 lemon (I used red wine vinegar)
Important! If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Prep the Jamaican Callaloo and set aside. Basically I only used the leaves and not the stems as I would normally do. I washed them thoroughly, then rolled into a sort of cigar shape and sliced about 1 centimeter thick ribbons (watch the video below). I must stress that you wash the leaves really well and it won’t hurt to give the chopped leaves a second wash. Do drain.
Since ground turkey is very lean, I add the oil to a heavy pan and tossed in the turkey on a low/medium flame. The idea is to break it up (I used a wooden spoon) as it’s cooks through. It would be near impossible to give this any color. Took about 10-15 minutes to get it fully cooked and broken up into tiny pieces.
I then turned the heat down to low and added the onion, garlic, black pepper, scotch bonnet (no seeds and do remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling such peppers), parsley, thyme and allspice. Mix well and cook on low for 3-5 minutes.
It’s now time to start adding the prepared Jamaican Callaloo (Chorai bhagi) to the pot. As you do, try to mix well. It may seem like too much for the pot but it will wilt as it cooks down. BTW the heat should be back up to medium at this point. Top with the salt and cover to sort of steam cook.
Remember to stir it every 4-5 minutes.. it will spring its own natural juices. After about 25 minutes it will be fully cooked. Remove the lid to burn off any remaining liquid (I didn’t have any) and adjust the salt to your own liking. Now top with the tomato, give it a stir and cover the pot – turn off the stove. Allow the residual heat to soften the tomato. At this point is also where I’d normally go in with some fresh lemon or lime juice. I didn’t have any so red wine vinegar went in instead. This helps to prevent any sort of itch one can get at the back of the tongue with Callaloo at times.
If you wanted to add a bit of creamed coconut or coconut milk while it steamed cooked, that will add a lovely flavor to the entire dish. So there you go, Jamaican Callaloo with Turkey.. yea traditionalists will be shaking their heads at this point – until they give it a try.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2