Introduction: Caldo Verde (AKA Peasant Soup)

It's winter time in New England which means it's time to start making soup to shake off the winter cold. I'm a little lazy during the week, so I'm prepping a big pot of soup on a Sunday afternoon so I can have a bowl every night when I come home from work.

Coming from a Portuguese background one of my favorite soups is Caldo Verde, also known as Peasant Soup. It's a delicious soup full of the warm flavors of Portuguese Chourico, garlic, and olive oil. If you like Zuppa Tuscana, you can look at this as the Portuguese version of it.

The best part of it all is that it's called Peasant Soup for a reason. It only costs $5 to make a big pot of soup, yielding 12 portions. That's only $0.41 a serving! Campbell's ain't got nothing on me, yo!

Step 1: Ingredients

I bought 1 pound of chourico at the grocery store but only used 1/2 a pound of it. I wish I had a real Portuguese meat market around me to get authentic chunky chourico but the grocery store stuff will do. (This is different the Mexican/Spanish chorizo. I don't know how well it would substitute, but if you try it please let me know how it turns out)

  • About 2 pounds of potatoes (I used Russets but growing up my mom always used whatever was cheapest)
  • 1/2 pound of kale
  • A couple cloves of garlic
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (not pictured)

Step 2: Chop Everything

This soup goes quick so I would recommend prepping all your ingredients first. Cut your chourico into coins, the potatoes into cubes, and chop up the kale (mine came pre-chopped and washed since it was on sale). The only other thing you need to do is smash the garlic and peel off the skin.

Step 3: Sautee

Put your soup pot on a burner and bring it up to medium high heat. Once it's up to temp add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and then toss in your chourico. Sautee the chourico for a couple minutes and make sure to stir it. You're only looking to brown it a little bit and also render out some of it's flavorful oil.

Once it's browned up, remove the chourico from the pot and set it to the side. Now, throw your garlic into the pot and let it flavor the oil. Don't burn the garlic!

Step 4: Deglaze and Potatoes

Once the garlic has softened a little and flavored the oil, pour in a couple cups of water and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Make sure to scrape up all of those little chunks of flavor!

Once the pan is deglazed you can add your potatoes and fill the pot with water. Bring the pot up to a boil and then let it simmer.

Step 5: Puree

Once the potatoes have simmered to the point of being fork tender and crumbling it's time to puree the potatoes. I use an immersion blender for this step, but if you don't have one you can blend them in a processor/blender or mash them up -- whatever you do, don't just mash them up with your bare hands- that's not a good time.

Step 6: Finishing It Up

Add the kale to the pot along with a bouillon cube and let it come back up to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Now that the kale is tender, add the chourico back to the pot and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste your broth and season with salt to taste.

Step 7: Serve

Serve it up! This soup goes great with a nice hunk of crusty bread on the side.

Enjoy and please tell me how you like it!

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