vaguely portuguese kale, chorizo, potato soup recipe // caldo verde

if there were one disclaimer that i put before all my recipes, it would be this: i don’t claim authenticity, just deliciousness.

and i feel like i should make that especially clear before getting into this soup, which has become one of our go-to winter weather recipes because it’s so easy, comes together pretty quickly, is chock full of the superfood and supervegetable kale, and has one of my husband’s most favorite edible items ever — chorizo.

this soup is my interpretation of caldo verde, a dish that i’ve never actually tasted in its “true” form. [one day i will eat dora’s mom’s caldo verde and probably get schooled, but until that day, i’ll just keep doing me.] from what i understand, caldo verde is a traditional portuguese dish usually made with linguica sausage and a multitude of thin slices of some kind of hearty leafy green you can’t find in the united states. it’s sort of like the portuguese spinoff of italian wedding soup, and supposedly, the tradition holds that only one slice of sausage goes into each bowl (which is crap, if you ask me).

caldo verde chorizo kale potato soup

so i guess you could call my dish the lazy american’s version of caldo verde. it throws together smoky coins of chorizo with onions, chunks of potato and sliced kale. homemade croutons made of leftover crusty bread are an optional addition of crunch that contrasts well with the softness of the soup.

vaguely portuguese kale, chorizo, potato soup (aka my caldo verde)

makes 1 enormous potful, which can yield about 6 full servings

ingredients you need:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb dried Spanish chorizo cut into 1/4 inch coins (note: not to be confused with fresh Mexican chorizo, the dry version is usually hard, dark red, and skinny, sort of like a salami. the fresh version tends to be fat, soft, and raw. stick to the dried version in this case. i usually find it near the deli counter. check out wikipedia for a more thorough dissection of the different kinds of chorizo.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb kale, sliced into small bite-size pieces (cheater’s note: i like to use bagged, pre-washed, pre-cut kale… the pieces end up being on the big side, but i like not having to pull out the big cutting board and colander. if you start with whole kale leaves, just be sure to remove the hard stems)
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3-4 small potatoes (or 2 large ones), sliced into 1/4 inch-thick half-moons
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or water, with your favorite bouillon)

garlic onion chorizo

what you do:

heat up the olive oil in a big pot over medium heat. add the sliced chorizo and onion and cook until the onions get soft. add the garlic and stir until fragrant, just about a minute. you’ll notice the chorizo start to release its oils and turn the onions orange… this is a good thing.

saute onions and chorizo

throw in the potatoes and pour in the broth. turn up the heat to high until it comes to a boil.

add the cut up kale — it might look like a tight fit at first — and stir it into the broth.

chorizo potato kale soup

let it come to a boil again, then cover the pot and turn down the heat to low. let it simmer 30 minutes to an hour.

it’s good to eat when the potatoes start to break and crumble around the edges and the greens get all wilty and soft. season with salt, to taste, when it’s done. you can serve this immediately or make this a day ahead.

if you’re feeling shmancy, top each bowl with a handful of homemade croutons.

homemade croutons

  • cut up crusty bread into chunky cubes. (it’s best if it’s actually starting to get dry and stale…but not moldy. in this case, i used 1/4 of a loaf of leftover thick-crusted multigrain bread.)
  • pour a couple swirls of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • place a single layer of the cubed bread in the pan and cook, tossing the pan every few minutes, until the cubes are browned.
  • sprinkle lightly with salt and garlic powder

caldo verde chorizo kale potato soup


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