Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caldo Verde

I made the best soup on Tuesday. The smell alone in my house that afternoon and evening was enough to knock your socks off. Nothing beats a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day or night. I thought you might like to try your hand at making this soup. Here's the description and recipe I wrote a couple of years ago.

Last week when I was sick, I found a neat cooking website that had a recipe and video demonstration for a Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup, the national soup of Portugal. I remember eating this when I lived there, but it wasn't my favorite thing. I copied the recipe down and thought I would try it again, as it did look good to me now.

The Portuguese are experts at soup making. Lunch is always soup and many dinners start out with a variation on a standard recipe. Soup makes a very economical, satisfying meal. Eating a hot bowl of soup on these cold winter days is indeed a pleasurable experience.

Now, I think it's really interesting how on Saturday when I went to my Portuguese friend Mane's home, she just so happened to have a little "package" of ingredients for this soup, Caldo Verde, as it's called, waiting in her fridge to give to me. Hurray! She got some Churrizo sausage at Sam's Club and had finely shredded some kale. So Sunday evening I was all ready to make this special soup. It turned out beautifully, was very easy, and I was surprised at how much we all liked it. (I think it was even better today when I had it for lunch. That's often the case with soups.)

The kale I used must be a different kind than what is used in Portugal. I think it was a little milder. I'm sure you could also substitute spinach as well if that's what you have and if you want a more delicate, less pronounced flavor. (Listen, don't be afraid of the "greens" in your soup. It's good~trust me!)

All Portuguese soups are based on these ingredients: good olive oil, garlic, onions, potatoes, and sometimes carrots. The soup's thick consistency comes from the pureed vegetables, so it is a very healthy way to have a "creamed" soup without the added milk or cream. The churrizo sausage is very garlicky and is available at most stores. (If you can't find it, try something else like I did on Tuesday that's garlicky. It will still be good.) It is somewhat spicy and a little goes a long way for great flavor. I think this soup would also be nice if you added some white beans to it. Very hearty indeed.

Here's the recipe. Soup making is not an exact science. It's okay to add a little more or less of the ingredients, or add something that you think will be nice. If you think it needs more liquid, go ahead and do what you think. Have confidence and experiment. Enjoy!

1 1/2 c. chorrizo sausage (crumbled or diced, cooked and drained.)
3 russet potatoes (I used reds and added a few more. I left the skins on, too.)
5 c. kale, finely shredded and chopped
1 quart chicken stock (or beef stock)
3 c. water
kosher salt, pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until soft. Add the potatoes and saute as well. Add the broth in now. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until potatoes are very soft. Mash potatoes until your soup is still chunky. (I used an immersion blender). Add 3 cups of water, cooked sausage, and kale. Season to taste. Cook for 15 more minutes. Drizzle a little more olive oil in your pot. Serve hot and with a good, crusty loaf of bread. This is critical! This will taste even better the next day for lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Home on a plate. thanks for bringing us some when I wasn't feeling so well. The kids loved it! It smeel divine! I thought that angel nurture and cultive their gifts and then offer and blessed others with them! You are an angel in so many ways!