Portuguese Caldo Verde
Story: This creamy potato-based soup, popular all throughout Portugal, was voted one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy. Usually it is made with a preserved Portuguese sausage Chourico, but we are cheating and using Andouille (a Spanish sausage we use in the Gumbo, because that is what we have!!) How the kale is cut is super important—long very thin strips, almost like a chiffonade or julienne (also made with Collard Greens). It is very popular at parties and celebrations—especially New Year’s Eve (but we had a lot of contenders for that week). Caldo Verde (translation: green broth) originated in Minho, in the north of the country, where potatoes were grown dating all the way back to 1760. Farmers created this hearty potato-based soup to warm up travelers. As potatoes became more widespread during the 19th century, so did this soup—it likely traveled with its primary ingredient. It’s hearty comfort food, familiar and comforting to Portuguese people all over the world, redolent of home.
1 1/2 cup XVOO
4 lbs Andouille sausage (what we use for gumbo), cut into ¼” medallions
6 onions, diced
¾ cup salt
24 garlic cloves, sliced very thin
34 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 quarts water
6 quarts chicken stock
6 pounds kale, stemmed and sliced AS LONG AS THIN AS POSSIBLE. THIS IS A THING.
2 TB Black Pepper
Heat oil in large pot over medium, then add sausage and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage to sheet tray. Add onions to hot fat, season with half the salt, and cook until soft and translucent. About 25 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 5-10 minutes.
Add water, stock and potatoes, and the remainder of the salt. Cook partially covered until the potatoes are very tender—about 30-45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Now puree the soup—this may be a good time to reinvest in immersion blenders. But for now gotta do it in blenders—BLEND until nicely pureed and smooth. Do not over blend the potatoes or you will create a horrible sticky gluey thing by overworking the starches.
Return pureed soup to pot, heat, and add black pepper, the reserved sausage and chopped kale and heat for just a couple minutes until just soft and sausage is warmed through. Add more stock/water if the soup is wallpaper paste thick.
Chopped parsley and a whirl of extra virgin olive oil.