No food screams more "Portuguese" than caldo verde... This soup is considered by many as the most popular staple in Portuguese cuisine. And it is oh, so simple to make!! When I am homesick, I find comfort in making familiar foods I grew up with... The main ingredients in this soup are potato and Portuguese cabbage (which we will replace with kale), but often smoked Portuguese sausage (chouriço) is added, for extra flavor. The key to this soup is cutting the kale really, really thin... If you visit any market in Portugal, you will find this cabbage already thinly julienned and sold by the kilo. I don't have access to chouriço around here, but I did find some Portuguese linguiça at my local supermarket!
Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 to 10 ounces chouriço or linguiça, sliced or thinly chopped (optional)
2 quarts water
3 to 4 cups of kale, cut into very fine julienne (remove the thicker parts of the stems and roll the leaves together to make it easier to thinly cut)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill a pot with the water, add potatoes, onion and garlic and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, purée everything (I use a hand blender right into the pot, but if you don't have one, you can use a regular blender). You want to make sure that you end up with a fairly light potato broth, so at this point you can add some water if needed. Add the kale and the chouriço, along with the olive oil and let it cook for an extra 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (sometime I will add a vegetable bouillon) and serve. I hope you will give it a try, I am sure you will enjoy it!