Caldo Verde

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

Caldo Verde (green broth) is a national dish in Portugal. Its main ingredient is a flat-leaf kale, like lacinato kale, a familiar sight in many Portuguese vegetable gardens. Collard greens or savoy cabbage are good substitutes. Use the dark, older leaves, their texture and taste resemble the Portuguese kale.

Originally from the Minho region in the north, a humble dish which made it to the fine restaurants. It can be a one-course meal for lunch or a light choice for the evening. Traditionalists eat Caldo Verde after the main course, following age-old custom. The original version is also called Sopa de Pobre (poor man’s soup): kale, potatoes, water, salt, pepper and two slices of Salpicão Português (a sausage hard to obtain outside of Portugal). It is served with slices of broa, a dark local cornbread. My recipe, the gourmet version, uses chicken stock and plenty more slices of Portuguese chorizo.

Ingredients:

It is important to shred the kale as thinly as possible in order to achieve the distinctive texture.

US MeasuresMetric
  • 6 cups loosely packed kale, collard greens or savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup Portuguese Chorizo, sliced into 3/8-inch rounds (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil for sautéing onions
  • 1 medium size onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) to garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on the soup
  • 400 g loosely packed kale, collard greens or savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 460 g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 95 g Portuguese Chorizo, sliced into 1 cm rounds (optional)
  • 590 ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil for sautéing onions
  • 1 medium size onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) to garnish
  • extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on the soup

Preparation:

In a saucepan, bring enough water to a boil to cover the potatoes. Cook them for about 8-10 minutes or until they are almost soft. Using a slotted spoon remove half of the potatoes and set them aside.  Continue cooking the other half until they are very soft, falling apart. Drain and set aside.

In a deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften up about 5 minutes. Add garlic, smoked paprika and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add diced potatoes, chorizos rounds and mix it gently. Add warm chicken stock and the coarsely mashed potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil. Taste for salt and pepper. Add the shredded kale or savoy cabbage and cook all over low heat until kale is “al dente” about 5 minutes longer.

Sprinkle with cilantro (coriander leaves), add a drop of extra virgin olive oil on top and serve with a hearty bread on the side.

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