On a cold day, this soup will bring happy tears to your eyes and warm you to your socks.
I had read that Caldo Verde, a traditional Portuguese soup, was the considered by some to be the comfort soup of all comfort soups and, on this unusually chilly Florida day, it did not disappoint.
Traditionally, Caldo Verde is prepared with true Portuguese sausage called chouriço or linguiça and kale. Since I have never followed a recipe, (or for that matter any agenda one hundred percent), and as I don’t live near a Portuguese butcher, I decided to use the sausages available to me in my local store. I also went for spinach over kale, because I thought it would appeal to my peeps.
I used both a smoked Polish sausage and a house-made Italian from Publix. I think the smoke factor matters here, but if you have liquid smoke, you could add a few drops of this.
When you create your version of Caldo Verde, try it with the traditional kale (removing the stems) or collard greens (again, sans stems), or a combination of these and/or spinach.
This soup turned out to be dreamy warm, hearty, filling and delicious!
It was a meal in itself.
PORTUGUESE CALDO VERDE, My Way
Into a pot full of salted, boiling water (about 4 cups), add:
- 3 large, russet potatoes, chopped into big chunks
- 1 large, white sweet potato, chopped into big chunks (this is non traditional)
- 1 cube of chicken stock flavor
- Pinch of salt & pepper to taste
Boil for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, into a heavy pot or Dutch oven, sauté together:
- 3 slices of smoked bacon
- 6 sliced or quartered large links of Portuguese or hot Italian sausage (or you can use Andouille, or any smokey, spicy sausage)
- 3 Large teeth of garlic, minced
- 1 Medium onion
Sauté until the fat is rendered from the bacon and sausage and the onions and garlic are clear. You’ll notice the sausages are beginning to brown or caramelize. Now just set all this aside.
Do not toss the fat/oils!
Return to your pot of potatoes and with your favorite hand tool, smash them roughly, enough so that they are both creamy and chunky. Do not change the water! Just take your potato smasher and mash it all up until you see both creamy and chunky.
Place your pot of potato mixture on medium low and add all the sausage, bacon, onion and garlic mix to this,
Now, slice up 3 cups of baby spinach OR kale OR collard greens and add to the pot.
Cook another 10 to 15 minutes and serve with grilled, buttered bread.