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Adjust Servings:
20 oz coconut milk I used light
20 oz leafy greens I used a blend of collard greens and spinach
12 oz can corned beef

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Samoa: Palusami





    Today we may be setting a record for the recipe with the fewest ingredients, as this dish is made with just three: leafy greens, coconut milk and corned beef.   I’ve always equated corned beef with Ireland, but this recipe is from Samoa – a tiny island nation in the South Pacific made up of two main islands: Upolu, home to most of Samoa’s population, and Savai’i, the larger of the two. In Samoa, corned beef is called pisupo which is the generic word for canned food.  Growing up in the United States I rarely experienced canned meats outside of fish and chicken, but fresh meat is hard to get on the island so corned beef has become fairly common.  If you’re buying corned beef for the first time, make sure you look for corned beef rather than corned beef hash, as the latter is mostly potato – we made this mistake, and it resulted in a last minute store run.

    This dish would traditionally be made with taro, which is Samoa’s primary export.  Taro leaves are nearly impossible to find here so spinach is a common substitute among Samoan-Americans.  Also, I’ve read taro leaves are poisonous raw.  I used a combination of baby spinach leftover from the juice cleanse I was doing last week and collard greens from my Hungry Harvest box.  From what I’ve seen and read, the starchier collard greens are actually more similar to taro than spinach, which cooks down to a softer consistency.  The young taro leaves, coconut milk and meat would traditionally be wrapped inside of older taro leaves and cooked in little bundles in an umu, which is a cooking pit or ground oven traditionally used to cook food in the pacific.  Today, many communities still have umus that are typically used on Sundays as a special treat, or for large functions and special celebrations.

    Although I was originally a bit put off by canned corn beef (it looks – and kind of tastes – like cat food), it was actually quite good cooked into this dish.  It reminded me a lot of Southern collards cooked with ham or bacon.  The salt and fat from the meat infused the entire dish without a need to add anything additional.  With only three ingredients, this dish is simple and affordable and actually fairly nutritious.  I served it over barley, which while not traditional was a tasty texture contrast to the stewed leaves.

    Recipe Source: All Recipes



    Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 9x13" baking dish, make a layer of leafy greens; sprinkle with corned beef. Repeat layers with remaining greens and beef. Don't worry about how full the dish - greens will shrink as they cook.


    Pour both cans of coconut milk over the dish, pressing the leaves down with a spoon. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.


    Bake for 45 minutes, or until greens are completely wilted and the sauce is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. I served over barley.


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