Caldo Verde is one of those traditional rustic soups that combines inexpensive, accessible ingredients to produce a truly hearty meal. It's one of our favourite uses for kale, collard greens, and even Swiss chard leaves. Any thick-leaf vegetable can be added. This recipe can be scaled up to feed a larger crowd by simply increasing the quantity of kale and stock.
This recipe produces two entree sized servings and pairs beautifully with buttered crusty bread. Any spicy artisanal sausage or dried chorizo can be used, but Portuguese Linguica is traditional. For a vegetarian version, just switch this with some firm tofu, a touch more garlic, and perhaps 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour & 15 minutes
1 Tbsp olive oil
200g (7 oz) Linguica sausage, chopped (see top note)
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1L (4 cups) chicken stock (or water)
1 bunch of kale leaves, trimmed, chopped, washed and dried
1 tsp kosher salt (see bottom note)
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Sautée the chopped sausage first and allow it to render out some of its fat. Use a slotted spoon and remove the cooked sausage to a bowl. Add the diced onions to the hot oil and reduce heat to medium. Fry until translucent before adding the garlic. Mix in the potato slices, and allow them to heat a bit in the oil. Add the stock (or water) and raise the heat to bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot with its lid, and allow the potatoes to cook at a low boil for 15 minutes, until just tender. Use a potato masher to break up the partially cooked potatoes, then add the sausage and all the prepared kale leaves. Return to the boil and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
Kale leaves cook down, reducing in size somewhat. Depending on the volume of kale used, more stock (or water) might be called for to obtain a hearty soup rather than a thick stew. Taste for salt before adding any. Depending on the salt content in the sausage and stock, no additional salt may be needed.