Kale again, I know. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist. I’ve been dating this soup since October, when a cousin who had recently visited Portugal brought me a magazine featuring a recipe for “caldo verde”.
I wonder what my mom would say here. As far as I remember, she used to make soup at least once a week and we would complain every single time. I learned soup could be tasteful and more than a bunch of vegetables cooked together in beef stock a bit later in my life.
Caldo verde, for instance, was introduced to me by my mother-in-law and I could not believe this heavenly dish had not been part of my childhood memories; it would have made so much sense!!
Did you know Brazilians have a big affection for kale? It’s one of many Portuguese heritages alive on our everyday meals. Kale, a different kind but very similar in flavor, used to be part of everybody’s garden – when people used to have a garden, of course. I remember parsley, green onions and kale were the ubiquitous trinity of any backyard. And the chitchat about how somebody’s kale had not grown well or had got some kind of pest could take long at the table.
So, I don’t understand why “caldo verde” didn’t exist to me until my twenties. But we met, and that’s important now. It was a bit forgotten, I confess; but I knew I was getting a warning when I saw the recipe on the magazine. Finally, it fairly made its way to my “virtual recipe notebook”.
In summary, this soup is a combination of potato and kale, served with sliced Portuguese chorizo. But we love to add a special kind of Italian sausage in our Brazilian version. Here I used Spanish chorizo and loved the spices it added to the dish.
Funny right? A Brazilian girl cooking her version of Portuguese “caldo verde” with Spanish chorizo in North American territory. I just feel like playing Chinese Whispers in the kitchen. Specially because I didn’t follow the magazine recipe at all; actually, I took it as a base, as a starting point and ended adding more potatoes, less water, Spanish chorizo as I told you and lots, lots of garlic. So, it is basically a new recipe.
And I added to that a recipe of kale crisp from here. I cut it in smaller pieces and the baking time was short. I highly recommend, it’s a beautiful garnish and extra texture to your soup.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and cook onion and garlic over medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes.
Add potatoes, cook for extra 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add water, salt, pepper and bring to a boil.
Let the potatoes cook under low heat for about 20 minutes or until tender. At this point I just grab a large potato masher or a fork and smash roughly part of the potatoes, leaving some small chunks intact. It’s a tip from my mother in law, the mashed potatoes will thick the soup and you will still have some texture at the same time. Delicious!!
Add sliced chorizo and let it cook for 4 minutes.
Add thin sliced kale, stir, turn off the heat and serve immediately. And that’s important; you can make almost everything ahead; just wait until the last minute to add the kale.
Garnish and serve.
Have a warm winter everyone!