Caldo Verde, meaning “green broth” in Portuguese, is a traditional soup in Portugal made with potatoes, kale or collard greens, smoked sausage and olive oil. This delicious Caldo Verde recipe is simple to prepare and made in just one pot.
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 Northern 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 traditional Portuguese green 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 smoked sausage 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 sausage and kale 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, you'll have just the thing to mend your aching head.
Serve as an appetizer or as a main with some crusty bread alongside. And if you end up with leftovers, lucky you! It's even better the next day.
How To Make Caldo Verde
Step 1: Brown sausage then remove from pan, along with all but a couple tablespoons of the oil.
Step 2: Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is translucent.
Step 3: Add potatoes and water; bring to boil and then simmer until potatoes are tender.
Step 4: Add kale and simmer until tender.
Step 5: Stir in browned sausage and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve each bowl topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Caldo Verde Recipe Video
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces smoked sausage cut into ¼-inch rounds, (recipe note #1)
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 12 large garlic cloves coarsely chopped
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes diced
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt or more, or 3-4 teaspoons kosher salt
- ⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more
- 1 bunch kale chopped
- extra virgin olive oil to finish
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat until hot. Add the olive oil and the sausage rounds; cook and stir until sausage is browned. Remove sausage from pan.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of olive oil from pan (or add more olive oil if you have particularly lean sausage); add onion and garlic; 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 (recipe note #2), potatoes, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Mash some of the potatoes to add texture to the soup (recipe note #3).
- Add kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Return browned sausage to soup and stir. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
- Linguica (a type of Portuguese sausage) or Spanish Chorizo sausage are both great in this soup. If you can't find one of those, kielbasa is also an option.
- I love the clean flavor of this soup with a water base - it really allows the earthy kale to shine. That said, you can use chicken broth or chicken stock in place of water if you like.
- For extra creaminess, puree some of the potatoes and kale right in the pot with an immersion blender or transfer to a standard blender.