As some of you may know, I am Portuguese. Both my parents were born on the beautiful green island of São Miguel, the largest island of the Portuguese Azores archipelago.
I haven’t added any Portuguese cuisine to the blog yet, so I thought I would start with this super easy traditional soup. Caldo Verde translates to ‘green broth’ and is a staple recipe among the Portuguese. There are only a few ingredients, making it a great recipe to try out. Because this dish is so popular, you will find many different variations. This soup is always a crowd pleaser and I have yet to meet someone who didn’t like it. Its beauty is in its simplicity, but it boasts a delicious creamy taste that warms the belly and the heart.
The 3 main ingredients are potatoes, collard greens and chouriço, a Portuguese dry sausage. These days you can easily come across chouriço sausage at your local or specialty grocer. I got mine from a Portuguese store in Ottawa. You may also come across Spanish ‘chorizo’ which has a different flavour profile, but I am sure could work as a substitute.
The key to this dish is to slice everything very thin. For the collard greens, separate the leaves and remove the stem. Then with a sharp knife slice the collards into razor thin shreds. Here is a photo below to help you get an idea. To keep with the theme, also slice the chouriço into fairly thin rounds.
One of the things that’s great is that you can purée the soup straight in the pot if you have a hand blender. I hope you enjoy this simple traditional Portuguese soup!
7-10 medium yellow potatoes (approx. 3lbs), peeled and cut into cubes
2 cups of thinly sliced collard greens
1 cup of thinly sliced chouriço sausage
6 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of filtered water
2 tbsp of olive oil + more for drizzling
In a large pot, add 2 tbsp of olive oil. On low heat add the onion quarters and stir until fragrant for a few minutes.
Add in the chicken stock, water, and potatoes. You can also add in a couple 1-inch chunks of chouriço for flavour. I don’t like to add too much to keep the integrity of the flavour. Season the stock with salt, this will vary depending on what type of stock you use.
Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are cooked, 20-25 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, boil a separate pot of water. Season with salt. Add the collards greens and cook until it is a vibrant green, about 5- 7 minutes. Strain and set aside. Traditionally, you don’t cook the collards in the soup because it can overcook the collards and it changes the flavour profile of the soup.
Once the potatoes are cooked, remove 2 cups of the liquid and set aside. If you added in a couple chunks of chouriço remove them as well.
With an immersion blender, blend the potatoes, onion and stock together until a puree forms. Gradually add back enough of the stock until the soup has a slightly thick texture. Some people prefer a thicker soup while others prefer a thinner soup. It will also thicken once it cools.
Taste test and add salt, simmer on low and add in the collards and slices of chouriço.
Ladle into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve.