Have I mentioned that my niece and nephew are half Portuguese?
You hear about backpack adorned twenty-somethings traversing around Europe, but how about flying there with a friend and her infant child, buying a VW bus (which at one point lost its brakes), and using odd jobs to fund many months of adventure? The tenacity!
My sister came home with a rich experience and a handsome Portuguese man whom she would eventually marry.
Some years after they were married, they traveled back to Portugal for a seaside family visit. Our dad joined them. He came home with a rich experience, a handsome classical guitar, and a love for the classic Portuguese soup, Caldo Verde.
I’d never heard of this soup, so I asked him to send me the recipe. Here’s what arrived. Better than Christmas, to get a handwritten recipe in the mail from your dad!
Perhaps providence, I had a pound of kale, potatoes, and some locally made chorizo coming in our weekly CSA. (Forgive me Dad, but I feared that this soup would lack, well, oomph. Why I doubted I do not know, as you’ve always been a sage food guide.)
Simply said, this soup is spectacular. It’s a Portuguese classic for good reason. My dad warned not to improvise on the recipe, i.e. don’t just toss in random vegetables, pasta, beans, etc. It’s so true. Feel free to experiment with amounts, but stick to the components. Trust me.
No matter what your state of health, a steaming bowl of Caldo Verde will make you feel great. And, as you see on the recipe’s handwritten subtitle, hangover elixir is this soup’s lore. So, should you overindulge this Memorial Day weekend, you’ll have just the thing to mend your aching head.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ pound sausage, cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 12 garlic cloves, chopped
- 5 potatoes, peeled, quartered and washed
- extra virgin olive oil to finish
- Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the sausage rounds. Cook and stir until sausage is browned. Remove sausage from the pan.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan; add onion, garlic and a little salt to sweat the onions. Cook and stir until the onion is translucent and the garlic is lightly toasted (taking care not to burn it), about 5 minutes.
- Add 2 quarts water and potatoes; bring to boil.
- Lower heat, simmer until potatoes are soft. Mash potatoes in soup.
- Add kale and cook 5 minutes.
- Add sausage rounds so soup and stir.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.