Portuguese Soup

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale, Chorizo & Potato Soup)

It’s Soup Season here in the wintry Cape, which of course means it’s once again time for Caldo Verde! Though not really a soup-person per se, this Portuguese classic nevertheless remains a perennial winter favourite of mine.

Made with just a few key ingredients, Caldo Verde nevertheless makes for a surprisingly satisfying meal. Indeed, hearty and nutritious this humble dish is everything a rustic soup needs to be, making it the perfect antidote to winter’s chilly bite; and, when the mood takes me, I can eat bowls of the stuff for many a dark day on end.

Literally meaning “Green Soup”, Caldo Verde is very much about the kale.

Though wondrously healthy, kale isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the soup’s other flavours definitely do help mitigate these contentious greens, making Caldo Verde a great way to add some kale to your diet. The key is to cut the leaves into thin strips before shredding them as finely as possible. It is important to take your time doing so, lest you want to end up with a tangle of kale, and not the spoonable soup you should be aiming for.

Admittedly, I do have a bit of a phobia of thin watery soups, and on paper Caldo Verde should be exactly that. But thickened with potato, and blitzed with a blender, nothing could be further from the truth. Caldo Verde actually has a surprisingly comforting viscosity and weight to it. To further enrich the soup, I also like to add a couple of strips of pork fat into the mix before blending. Of course this is entirely optional, but it gives the soup a satisfying mouthfeel it could otherwise lack.

Using a good quality chorizo is also a must, as most of the soup’s flavour comes from the spices rendered from the sausage. To that end it is essential to use cooking/soft chorizo as the smoked version will not yield as much flavour when sautéd. Along with the addition of the pork fat, I also like to blend half the chorizo along with the potatoes. Some recipes frown upon doing so, but I prefer the additional flavour it adds to the dish.

For more soup recipes from the Muddled Pantry, please click here.

Click here for the recipe