My Mother is from Lisbon and came to the U.S. with my grandparents when she was a teenager. Cooking and food was a big part of my childhood. Going out to dinner was a treat and any get together was a massive feast of home cooked appetizers, entrees and desserts. My tastes and philosophies on food have been heavily impacted by my mom and my grandparents. We ate a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, a lot of fish and shellfish, a little wine, and a lot of bread. Now that my son cannot eat gluten, my family is hard at work trying to reinvent their go-to recipes. However, the emphasis on home-cooked food using fresh ingredients remains. One of my favorite dishes is Caldo Verde (English translation: Green Broth), a popular Portuguese soup that is already naturally gluten-free.
Caldo Verde is one of my comfort foods. It can be part of a meal or a meal in itself. It is easy to prepare and holds up well in the refrigerator so you can enjoy it over a few days. The base of the soup is made with potatoes and onions. The “verde” comes from kale, or more traditionally collard greens. Typically, my family has always made it with kale, even way before kale got famous. What makes it a meal and adds that something extra, is spicy linguiça sausage.
Linguiça sausage used to be difficult to find, but now I can find it at most supermarkets. Linguiça is a smoke cured pork sausage and it is used in many Portuguese dishes. I found a “natural” version using pork raised without antibiotics and minimally processed at WholeFoods.
The soup is prepared by boiling potatoes with yellow onion. Once the potatoes and onion are soft and well cooked, the whole pot can is pureed to form the base of the soup. I like to use an immersion blender right in the pot, but you can also process it in a blender. Shredded kale is then added and cooked until softened. That’s it! The soup is served warm with a few slices of linguiça and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Although it’s getting warmer and soon it won’t be exactly soup weather, I actually make this soup in the summer often. It is very light and enjoyable slightly warm and a great way to use up kale and potatoes I get from my crop share. It is also a great option for getting more greens in your diet. I hope you enjoy it!
- 2 ½ - 3 cups peeled white or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, quartered and larger segments separated
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 linguiça sausage, about 12 oz
- ½ large bunch of kale (any variety will do, but I like Tuscan or flat-leafed kale)
- extra virgin olive oil
- additional sea salt to taste
- Bring potatoes, onion, and 1 Tbsp sea salt to boil in approximately 6 cups of water in a Dutch oven or large pot.
- Simmer until potatoes and onion are soft.
- While potatoes and onion are cooking, cook Linguiça sausage in a frying pan until brown and slightly crispy on the outside.
- Slice Linguiça into ½ inch disks.
- Also while potato and onions are cooking, remove thicker stems of the kale and shred using a food processor.
- Puree the potato and onion using an immersion blender until smooth (you can also use a blender)
- Return pot to the stove and add shredded kale.
- Cook until the kale is tender.
- Add additional sea salt to taste.
- Spoon soup into a bowl. Add a few slices of linguica and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!