Cold Weather Comfort “Green Soup”

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In this month’s Gourmet (its last issue!) was a recipe for Portuguese Caldo Verde (the literal translation is “green soup”). Since autumn is falling away to winter, I’ve been feeling the gravitational pull towards comfort foods, meat and potato-type meals, more strongly.

I thought this would be the perfect cold weather comfort soup to make this week.

A typical Caldo Verde consists of kale, potatoes, onions, garlic, and sausages. There are variations where cabbage is substituted and some recipes use tomatoes that color the broth red. The recipe below is true and true to the core–ok, well, not really. I’ve “bastardized” it with my own two-cents mixing and meddling. The soup is usually finished with a drizzle of olive oil and served with crusty bread. I skipped the oil (something about the idea of “oily” soup is unsettling to me) and added butter beans for bulk so that I can bring it to work for lunch without having to forage for bread. Also, instead of Linguica, I used Kielbasa (Chourico works too) since I live near a Polish market that has beautiful smoked and fresh Kielbasas.

Portuguese Caldo Verde

Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

1 lb. smoked Portuguese sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 medium onions, chopped

3 gloves garlic, minced

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 quarts chicken stock

3 c. water

2 lbs. kale, de-stemmed and de-ribbed, leaves chopped

Olive Oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Hot sauce (Siracha or Piri-Piri)

Special Equipment: 7 ½ quart Dutch oven or heavy pot

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in pot over medium-high until it shimmers, add sausage, stirring often, to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl, set aside. Add 2 Tbsp. oil, add onions, garlic, and season with salt and pepper, stirring often until brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, stock, water, 1 Tbsp. salt, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add kale and butter beans, simmer uncovered until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in sausage and cook until heated through, 1 minute. Season wtih salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot sauce, and enjoy!
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