I’m fairly average in my eating habits, or patterns I suppose. Over the holidays I do tend to over indulge in sweets, eat larger portions at meals, and drink more than I know I should. No wonder so many people make new years resolutions about dieting and exercise. It’s smack dab in the middle of the most overindulgent time of the year! Of course we’re going to feel less than optimal, physically and mentally. The guilt! The shame! But also… the deliciousness! My resolution? Well, I resolved to make more time for my friends and to feed myself well. Sometimes, I just get so busy and its easier to forego meals for a quick cup of coffee and piece of bread… But this year, I’m determined to properly fuel my body. So three days into the new year and with that lazy post-holiday haze lifting I’m getting organized and feeling more energized… ready to tackle the mountain of projects that lies ahead in 2018. Time to do some menu planning! This week we’re starting off with Caldo Verde, a Portuguese collard and potato soup.
Caldo Verde, which translates to “green broth” is a very well-known traditional dish of Portugal, and it’s one of the earlier markers of Europeans cooking with potato! The soup usually consists of a chicken or vegetable broth, collards or kale, potato, leek, and a type of sausage depending on the region and availability. The seasonings are beautifully simple- salt, pepper, maybe some garlic or onion. It’s gluten free and can easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting sausage, using vegetable stock, and adjusting the spices for a more interesting flavor profile. I’ve made variations of this recipe for years and the one I’m going to share with you today is my family’s favorite for winter. The addition of beans give it a bit more heft and it’s more richly flavored overall. This recipe definitely strays from the original in a few ways, so we’ll call this Caldo Verde à minha moda- my way.
Recipe: Caldo Verde da Tessa
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil, divided
12oz linguiça, chourico or other spicy pork sausage, sliced*
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of black pepper
4 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and large diced**
8 cups/ 2 qt chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch kale, lacinato or other curly green variety, de-stemmed and chopped (you could also use thinly sliced collard greens)
15oz can of canellini or other white bean, drained and rinsed
- In a heavy bottom soup pot or cast iron dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if you need to, arrange the sausage in a single layer and brown both sides, then remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium, add the remaining oil or butter to the pot and saute the onion until translucent. Now add the garlic, paprika, salt, and black pepper and cook about two minutes.
- Add potatoes, browned sausage, and stock to the pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, potatoes should be nearly tender.
- Add chopped kale and beans and cook about 10 minutes, then cover and remove from heat.
That’s it! So simple. The soup is now ready to eat, but I like to let it rest for a few minutes to let the flavors come together a bit more. This soup is delicious right off the bat but it gets even better the next day. If you’re doing a vegetarian version I recommend adding more spices like garlic powder to the mix. Serve this with a side of crusty bread and for an extra decadent treat, try sprinkling some freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top.
*If you can’t find natural/humanely raised linguiça (I’ve never been able to find this in a typical grocery store), sub it with a related type like andouille or other smoky/ spicy pork sausage or omit altogether.
**Traditionally, this soup has blended potato. I prefer them in chunks, but you could mash some or all of these up if you prefer.