Caldo verde with chorizo croutons

Mar.13.11 § 4 Comments

Caldo verde is a traditional Portuguese recipe. I had never had it before making this soup. I happened upon the recipe while browsing some cookbooks before going to the farmers market. I picked this soup because I knew the ingredients would be easy to find at the market, and because the main focus of the soup is my favorite ingredient: greens.

I used a combination of recipes to come up with this one which stays true to Thomas Jefferson’s way of eating, using meat as a condiment. I read that chorizo is not always used in this supposed peasant dish native to Portugal, and that when it is, the meat is doled out sparingly. I also read that it is typically made with dry cured sausage rather than fresh. So while I was at the market, I picked up some locally sourced, locally produced dried chorizo to garnish my soup of local greens and potatoes. If you don’t eat meat, just use soyrizo, which is easy enough to find at any supermarket. The smoky, spicy flavorings are essential to the dish. It’s a warming soup to hold us over through the spring, because while the sun has finally started shining the chill in the wind has not yet gone.

Ingredients

About 1/4 lb dried chorizo, thickly sliced (about 6 slices)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

6 cups broth or water

About 1 pound greens, I used collards, finely shredded

2 lbs potatoes, washed and cubed (I left the skin on for nutrition)

4 pinches of paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large, heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, fry the chorizo in the olive oil so it releases its flavoring, about five minutes. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and let cool on a plate or in a small bowl. Remove all but about a tablespoon of the flavored olive oil from the pot, reserving as a garnish for the soup.

Add the onion to the pot and cook for about five to seven minutes until softened. Add garlic and paprika, toss until garlic is fragrant, then add the broth. Toss in the potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes until soft enough to crush against the side of the pot. For a thicker soup, crush about half the potatoes against the side of the pot. Turn soup down to a simmer.

While the potatoes are boiling, chop the fried chorizo into small square chunks.

Finally, add the finely cut greens to the pot of soup and cover, simmering for only about two more minutes until the greens are very bright. Turn off the heat.

Serve heaping bowls of greens and potatoes with broth garnished with a small handful of chorizo chunks and a drizzle of the chorizo olive oil.

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