Portuguese Caldo Verde

My mother-in-law taught me to love soup. Every meal at her house started with a soup. Some were just a simple broth with perhaps some pasta and a few veggies. Some were quite substantial. Growing up my grandmother only made beef and vegetable soup. Therefore, having such a variety of soups to sample was eye opening for me. Zelinda started for me a lifelong quest called soup.

One of my favorite soups is Caldo Verde. This is the national soup of Portugal and everyone has their own way of making it. She made hers by boiling a potato and an onion, with a clove stuck into it, in water to cover. A very generous amount of olive oil and a little salt were added. When the potato and onion were soft the clove was removed from the onion. She would put everything into a blender and puree until smooth. The greens came next. She would take collard greens and strip out the stem. The Portuguese have a little device which they use to then take the leaves and slice them into threads. The greens were added to the puree and cooked until tender. Additional water was added if the soup was too thick. She served it with slices of fresh bread and butter as a starter for the meal.

I love the way she made it but I had to make it my own. Here is my recipe and I hope you enjoy it.

These are the ingredients for the Portuguese Caldo Verde. The recipe will follow at the very end.
I used 1 1/2 large onions, chopped, along with 1/2 cup of olive oil and cooked on medium heat until the onions were becoming translucent.
Peel and grate 1/2 pound of potatoes. Add to the pot along with the onions and olive oil.
Add to the pot 8 to 10 bouillon cubes, three quarts water, two cans of cannellini beans and bring to a gentle boil.
I like to slice the Chorizo sausage very thinly so that everyone gets little bits of it with each spoonful. The paprika in the sausage colors the oil accumulated on the surface. These sausages add a wonderful flavor to the soup. You can make the soup with or without but it is really best if you use the Chorizo.
Add your collards or kale along with the sausage to the pot and continue to cook at a slow simmer.
Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. This allows time for all of the flavors to blend and the soup becomes very delicious.
Serve it with buttered bread and sweet tea, yummy.

Portuguese Caldo Verde

  • 1 pound kale or collard greens (or a 12 to 16 oz. bag of frozen kale or collards)
  • 1/3 lb. dried navy beans, soaked in water overnight and drained, (or 2 to 3 15.5 oz cans of cannellini beans, undrained)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, sliced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 quarts of chicken stock (or 8 to 10 bouillon cubes and 3 quarts of water)
  • 1/2 lb Chorizo sausage or Kielbasa sausage (we like the Chorizo sausage best)
  • 1/2 pound potatoes peeled and grated

Remove the large ribs from the kale or collards and slice the vegetable into very thin strips, as thin as possible. Place in a bowl of cold water for one hour. Drain well. (You can also use the collards or kale that are frozen. Use a 12 to 16 oz bag and save yourself the slicing and soaking.) In an 8-quart soup pot saute the onions in the olive oil. Add the kale, chicken stock or bouillon cubes and water, and the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, covered. Taste for salt and pepper before serving.

You can use more of your food stores to make this soup. I always have dehydrated grated potatoes in my food stores which I use to make hash brown potatoes. Instead of grating potatoes you can grab a few hands full of those to add to the soup. Dehydrated kale or collards can also be used. The Chorizo is a dried sausage from Spain which doesn’t require refrigeration (even though I do keep mine in the fridge). This is a good food storage item as long as you keep it in a cool, dark, dry place. I have had it last for years in a bin in my refrigerator. It doesn’t take much of this sausage to add great flavor to anything, especially soup.

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