trini-callaloo
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Callaloo is deeply rooted in the history of the Caribbean, with origins tracing back to the 16th century, when enslaved Africans used local plant life and ready aromatics to create a masterful meal out of seemingly nothing. In Trinidad and Tobago, where I was raised, callaloo is so significant, it’s considered the twin Islands’ national dish—even without an official governmental designation. Callaloo has many variations throughout the Caribbean and its diaspora, but the one I grew up with uses taro leaves, okra, pumpkin, coconut milk, onions, garlic, and Scotch bonnet peppers. My version uses my mother’s recipe as a starting place, with a few adjustments. Because taro can be difficult to source in the States, I like to use a mix of spinach and collard greens—the latter serving as a nod to the South (my current home) and its rich Black culinary traditions. And when pumpkin isn’t available, I’m happy to sub with butternut squash, which makes for a strong, delicious proxy.

Read more about Brigid’s recipe and how she learned to love the dish here.

Ingredients

4 – 6 Servings

2

Tbsp. vegetable oil

1

small onion, finely chopped

6

garlic cloves, finely chopped

4

scallions, chopped

1

large bunch cilantro, finely chopped

2

Tbsp. thyme leaves

1

bunch collard greens, thick stems trimmed, thinly sliced

4

cups baby spinach

8

large okra, stems removed, thinly sliced

2

habanero chiles, 1 finely chopped, 1 whole

2

cups 1″ pieces peeled butternut squash

1

13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk

1

tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more

Kosher salt

Steamed rice or baked macaroni pie (for serving)

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