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Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

The dark green cabbage traditionally used in this Portuguese "green" soup is not widely available beyond Portugal's borders, but kale or collard greens make a good substitute. A crusty corn bread called broa often accompanies the soup, although a good American corn bread is also nice for sopping up any bits remaining in the bowl. Don't forget the final flourish of olive oil. It will perfume the soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. chorizo, linguiça or kielbasa sausages
  • 3/4 lb. kale or collard greens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 or 4 potatoes, 1 to 1 1/4 lb. total, peeled and
      thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 6 to 7 cups water or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for serving

Directions:

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Prick the sausages with a fork and add to the boiling water. Boil for about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the sausages to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, slice them. (You may discard the sausage-flavored water or reserve it for making the soup.)

Rinse and drain the greens, then remove any tough stems. Working in batches, stack the leaves, roll up the stack like a cigar, and cut crosswise into very, very thin strips. Set aside.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the potatoes and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the water and 2 tsp. salt, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.

Scoop out about 2 cups of the potatoes and mash well with a potato masher or fork. Return them to the pan, add the sliced sausages and simmer until the sausages are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Add the greens, stir well and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook; the greens should be bright green and slightly crunchy. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle each serving evenly with extra-virgin olive oil. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Soup for Supper, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1998).