Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup of potatoes, greens, and spicy chorizo. Roughly translated, Caldo Verde means “green broth,” and it’s a great opportunity to incorporate some tougher greens into your kitchen routine. I used kale for this batch, since the cabbage traditionally used is hard to locate outside of Portugal. You could easily substitute collard, mustard, or braising greens if you have those handy.
Spanish chorizo is a dry-cured pork sausage, and is quite a difference beast from the fresh, Mexican-style chorizo we’re more familiar with in these parts. I’m partial to Palacios brand chorizo; it’s nitrate and nitrite free, advertised as “all-natural,” tastes great on its own, and I can generally find it for a decent price around town. You can find both the mild and the spicy variations of Palacios here in Denton at the Cupboard for 8.99 (I prefer the spicy). I tend not to use the entire package for one batch of soup. Try the leftovers as a topping for pizza or a gourmet addition to a cheese board along side some gouda, aged cheddar, and a spicy Rioja. If you can’t get your hands on any dry-cured chorizo, a Portuguese Linguica will work just as well.
Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)
3 tbs olive oil
½ pound Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
2 medium onions, diced
2 tsp salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups good quality chicken stock
2 cups water
2-3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 hearty bunch kale, collard, or mustard greens
2 teaspoons vinegar of choice
Extra olive oil and pepper to finish
- Heat 3 tbs olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot until it shines. Add the sausage and brown slightly on both sides. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the onions, garlic, and salt to the pot of hot oil and decrease the heat to medium low. Stir frequently until the onions get translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth, water, and potatoes, increase the heat to medium high, and bring to a strong simmer. Cook until potatoes have lost their crunch, but are still firm (roughly 10-15 minutes).
- If desired, remove 1 cup cooked potatoes and some broth and puree in the blender or food processor (or mash with a fork) before reincorporating into the pot.
- Remove the large woody stems from the kale and chop roughly into 1 inch pieces. Add to the pot and cook until the greens wilt (about 5 minutes).
- Add vinegar and reserved chorizo, season with extra salt and pepper to your liking.
- Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of olive oil.