At first glance, the deep emerald hue of caldo verde (literally, “green soup”) suggests a culinary delight meant for the purely herbivorous diner. But the vibrant green color of Portugal’s national dish belies a fusion of savory chouriço (smoked sausage infused with dried red peppers), potatoes, and garlic that add a depth of flavor to the abundant leafy kale responsible for the soup’s distinct coloring. The combination of simple ingredients makes caldo verde a comfort food with an abundant potpourri of earthy aromatics, delightful textures, and savory flavors. You’ll find the eye-catching soup in almost every restaurant in Portugal, and for good reason: It’s delicious. And now, you can have a taste of Portugal in your own home with the help of the following recipe for traditional caldo verde.
Caldo Verde (Green Soup)
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
10 oz. chouriço
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
8 cups cold water
1 lb. kale, rinsed and julienned
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in potatoes, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring constantly.
- Pour in water, bring to a boil, and let boil gently for 20 minutes, until potatoes are mushy.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook sausage until it has released most of its fat (10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- Mash potatoes or puree the potato mixture with a blender or food processor. Stir the sausage, salt, and pepper into the soup, and return to medium heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Just before serving, stir kale into soup and simmer for 5 minutes until kale is tender and jade green. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and serve immediately.
Sample this hearty soup—and other Iberian specialties—on our Spain & Portugal in Depth vacation.