time: 35-40 mins cooking + 5 mins prep
a small ham hock, cooked and shredded, reserving the bone
60g okra, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
3 sprigs thyme
1.5 tsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped parsley
400ml coconut milk
200ml vegetable stock
a scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper
salt and pepper
1. On a medium heat, in a large saucepan, add a generous glug of vegetable oil and the chopped onion. Soften the onion for about 5 minutes, but don't brown them.
2. Add the spinach, okra, garlic, herbs, coconut milk, stock, ham hock bone, a small handful of the ham hock and the scotch bonnet pepper. Season with a little salt and pepper. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Then turn heat right down, cover the pan and simmer for about 30 mins.
3. Carefully remove the bone, the woody stalk of the thyme and the scotch bonnet pepper, keeping the latter, if you want to add more spice.
4. Using a hand-blender, carefully blitz the callaloo until it is uniformly green, but still with a little texture. (If you don't have a hand-blender, blend in a free-standing blender).
5. Stir through three-quarters of the shredded ham hock. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed. If like me, you want more spice, chop up the scotch bonnet pepper, discarding the seeds. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. (I have had several painful experiences that I would not wish upon anyone...) (You can also incorporate the following cooked and shredded proteins at this stage: crabmeat, chicken, lobster, for a little added pizazz).
6. Serve in bowls, garnishing with the remaining shredded ham hock (or indeed with any incorporated protein as above) and sprinkle as much chopped scotch bonnet as you like. You can also serve the callaloo over rice, if you fancy a heavier meal.