Caldo Verde (Portugal)

Caldo Verde (green soup) is a broth of potato, garlic and kale with linguiça sausage.  It is eaten all over Portugal, but I think originated in Northern Portugal.  So simple to make and completely delicious with the potato thickened, garlicky broth and a slight smokiness from the sausage, it is also a very filling but healthy meal.

It is commonly eaten with a bread made from cornmeal (pão de milho) of which I will post a recipe for, however here I made an American style cornbread as I didn’t read up on it first haha!

From what I can understand there are conflicting views on how this soup can be made, from some saying it is an exact method (for example when blending only one piece of sausage must be added, with the remainder divided into each bowl to serve) to others saying each family has their own tradition and the recipe can be adapted to please.  There is also some speculation about whether it’s kale or collard greens, only agreeing that whatever it is must be extremely finely sliced.  All I can say is it is not the curly kale we know in the UK, more like young spring greens or chard, either of which you can use.  To slice it remove the toughest part of the stalks, stack a few leaves together and roll tightly lengthways into a cigar shape, then slice across into 1-2mm ribbons.

Well, I went with the majority and only added a little of the sausage to blend and as I am in Portugal I used a package of already sliced greens labelled ‘caldo verde’ as the only other option was a light green spring cabbage so that solved that dilemma.  Anyway, the result was delicious.  Here is how to make it….

(makes a generous portion for two)

1 medium white onion, finely sliced

two large handfuls of very finely sliced kale/greens/chard

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

3 medium white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 pints water or vegetable stock

6″ piece of linguiça sausage (about 125g)

salt and pepper to taste

cornbread to serve

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Slice the sausage into 1cm slices and fry in a little olive oil until some of the fat is rendered out.  Remove from the pan and fry the onion over a low heat in the fat until soft, then add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the potatoes and stock or water and simmer until the potato is soft.  Add about a quarter of the fried sausage, then blend.  You should be left with a slightly thicken broth.

Add your shredded greens and simmer for a couple of minutes until soft but don’t over cook as it’ll lose its lovely green colour.

Serve in bowls topped with the rest of the sausage slices and a drizzle of olive oil, with a good chunk of cornbread on the side.

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