Ultimate TV Dinner: Caldo Verde (Portuguese “Green Soup”)

Fall finally has grabbed ahold of the Bay Area.  Goodbye to our Indian Summer and hello to days of grey dampness.  However, always being the optimist (stop laughing…) the beginning of Fall brings with it the promise of hearty home cooked meals snuggled on my sofa as I watch TV.

To me the ultimate “TV dinner” is a nice bowl of soup, crusty bread and a glass of wine.  Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to pass a cold evening…actually I can but for the sake of keeping this PG, I won’t go there.  In any case, one of my favorite soups to make  is a traditional Portuguese soup called Caldo Verde. Literally translated, “Caldo Verde” means green soup, but don’t let the name fool you.  It is a heady mixture of spicy sausage, onions and kale in a thick potato-based broth.  The upside of this soup is that it freezes beautifully, so I tend to double the recipe and freeze a batch for later.

Caldo Verde
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

– 1     tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
– 5     ounces spanish chorizo, sliced in to 1/8-inch coins
– 5     ounces linguica, sliced into 1/8-inch coins
– 1     large white onion, diced
– 4     cloves of garlic, minced
– 1     pound of potatoes (Russet or Idaho), peeled, quartered and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
– 1/2   pound of potatoes (Golden, Yukon or Creamer), peeled, quartered and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
– 3     cups chicken broth
– 2     cups vegetable broth
– 1 1/2 bunches kale, hard stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2 inch ribbons
– 1-2   teaspoons of red chili hot oil

Instructions

 1) In a heavy bottomed stock pot, warm the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add half of each sausage to the pot and spread in a single layer.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then flip sausage and cook for another 3-4 minutes until carmelized.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and set aside in a bowl.

2)  Lower heat to medium-low and add onion to the oil already in pot.  Stir to coat the onions in the sausage and olive oil.  Add garlic to mixture and let sauté until onions are translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes. 

3) Stir in potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Cover mixture with the vegetable and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

4)  Using a potato masher, smash potatoes in pot until the soup has thickened but small bits of potato remain.  Stir in kale, carmelized sausage and the remainder of the uncooked sausage and simmer for another 15 minutes until greens have wilted.  Season with salt, pepper and the red chili oil to taste. 

5) Serve immediately with hunks of crusty bread and a drizzle of olive oil.

What to Drink: I love drinking a robust Malbec with this soup as it holds up well to the spices in the soup but doesn’t overpower. 

Notes:

1) I like using a mixture of chorizo and linguica but it is fine to use just one or the other if you can’t find it in your local grocery.

2) In the same vein as the sausage, I like using a mix of the vegetable and chicken broth for the depth of flavor.  However, you can use one or the other based on your personal preference.

3) Unfortunately, there is no way around removing the stems from the kale, so please don’t skip this step.  Otherwise, you end up with mouthfuls of crunchy and bitter greenery.

4) I love the heat that the red chili oil provides as a final note, but if you prefer, you can substitute a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  You won’t get the heat but it will round out the finishing note on the soup.

5) I use two different types of potatoes because each have a different starch content.  The creamers/yukon/golden potatoes mash beautifully and help the soup thicken while the russett idaho potatoes create yummy flakes of potato that float throughout the soup.  However, any of the above potatoes will work for this soup.

So grab some groceries, open a bottle of wine and start cooking!  Have a great weekend and stay warm…..

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2 thoughts on “Ultimate TV Dinner: Caldo Verde (Portuguese “Green Soup”)

  1. Pingback: Reflections: Staying Warm During Winter… | Mirth and Motivation

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