I wanted to make some Portuguese caldo verde the other day, but I didn’t have a few of the major ingredients on hand. For one, it’s hard finding Portuguese-style sausage at your neighborhood grocery (yes, Central Market often carries it, but, again, it wasn’t nearby). Also, I didn’t have kale or collard greens in the refrigerator.
What to do? Substitute, of course. I used kielbasa instead of chouriço; both are garlicky and complement the greens and potatoes well. Then I cut up strips of green cabbage instead of collards. I had new potatoes on hand, not Maine or Eastern potatoes.
The end result was slightly different from the traditional recipe, but it was still satisfying on a cold winter evening.
The following is the basic recipe I followed. Make it your own with what you have in your pantry and refrigerator.
Caldo Verde (Green Soup)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and minced fine
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
6 Maine or Eastern potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 quarts cold water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 ounces chouriço (Portuguese-style sausage) or garlicky kielbasa, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound collard greens or kale, washed, trimmed of coarse stems and veins, then sliced thin. (The easiest way is to stack 6 to 8 leaves, roll crosswise into a firm, tight roll, then slice with a very sharp knife.)
Sauté the onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy saucepan 2 to 3 minutes over moderate heat until they begin to color and turn glassy; do not brown or they will turn bitter. Add the potatoes and sauté, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes, until they begin to color also. Add the water and salt, cover and boil gently over moderate heat 20 to 25 minutes until the potatoes are mushy. Meanwhile, fry the sausage in a medium-size heavy skillet over low heat 10 to 12 minutes until most of the fat has cooked out; drain well and reserve.
[amazon-product]0688134157[/amazon-product]When the potatoes are soft, remove the pan from the stove and with a potato masher, mash the potatoes right in the pan in the soup mixture. Add the black pepper, sausage and greens and simmer uncovered 5 minutes until tender and the color of jade. Mix in the remaining tablespoon olive oil and taste the soup for salt and pepper. Ladle into large soup plates and serve as a main course accompanied by chunks of rustic bread.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Adapted from “The Food of Portugal” by Jean Anderson