Caldo Verde

When life presents you with too much kale, the sensible thing to do is to make a nice piping hot pot of Portuguese kale soup!  Since we had a hard frost recently I thought it was time to head down to our field and harvest some sweetened up leaves. Since we are not able to sell any of our “flood-affected” produce, we have been viewing our farm as our own personal giant green grocer, there is much kale to be had, and that means lots of kale soup in my future!  I can think of worse things.  This soup is so great – it’s got a lot of flavors I love, spicy chorizo, garlic, and a saltiness that accentuates the verdant flavor of the kale; it tastes exactly like Autumn, if autumn had a flavor. Treat yourself to more vitamins that you’ve had in a long time from a single dish, and cozy up with a bowl of caldo verde and some crusty buttered bread!

Caldo Verde, serves 4

  • 1# lacinato kale, mid-ribs removed and leaves chiffonaded
  • ½# Spanish dry-cured chorizo, or linguiça sausage, about 1 package
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 pound peeled, cubed russet potatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat stock pot on medium heat with 1 T. olive oil, until it shimmers.
Add chorizo to oil and saute until it has released some of its
red oil into the olive oil, and become fragrant.
Using a slotted spoon, remove chorizo and set aside.

Add remaining 1 T. olive oil to pan (yes, add oil to the oil)
and saute the onions and garlic until transluscent.
Add ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper at this time.

Add chopped potatoes to oily onions and garlic, stir to coat.
Add chicken stock and bring up to boiling.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.

Using a potato masher, mash approximately half the potatoes in the pan,
creating a creamy look to the soup.
Leave half the potatoes chunky.

Add chiffonaded kale to the pot, and stir to coat.
This will take 2 batches since the kale has so much volume.
Add water and chorizo to the pot (reserving a few chunks to
top when serving), and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until you can’t stand it anymore.
Season to taste – it will need salt.

Serve topped with a few chunks reserved chorizo for crunchiness,
and with some hot crusty bread and butter for happiness.
Really nice with a pinot noir. Enjoy!

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