(Portuguese potato and kale soup)
This nourishing and nutritious soup is one of the signature dishes of Portuguese cuisine. Tinted a subtle green by finely shredded kale or collard greens, and thickened with potatoes, caldo verde is often served with spicy chouriço sausage and a slice of the thick cornmeal bread called broa.
Popular as a light meal, caldo verde originated in northern Portugal, but it is now enjoyed all around the country. Caldo verde is common at celebrations and is often eaten as the first meal after midnight on New Year's Day. It is also popular in Brazil.
4 to 6 servings
- Medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced -- 4 or 5
- Water or stock -- 6 cups
- Olive oil -- 1/3 cup
- Chouriço or other garlic sausage -- 1/2 pound
- Onion, minced -- 1
- Kale or collard greens, destemmed and thinly shredded -- 1 pound
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Add the potatoes and water or stock to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and mash the potatoes in their liquid with a potato masher, fork or wooden spoon, until they are well broken up but still a little chunky. Set aside
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the sausages and brown well on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and saute until cooked through and translucent, 4 or 5 minutes. Add the kale or collards and saute for another 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slice the sausage into 1/4-inch rounds and stir into the onions and kale, along with the potatoes, stock or water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve hot in bowls with a thick slice of crusty bread.
Caldo Verde Variations
- Vegetarian Caldo Verde: Use water or vegetable stock and eliminate the sausage.
- Add 1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic to the onions when you saute them.
- The chouriço can be cooked separately and serve on the side.