Caldo Verde, A Portuguese Kale Soup is a healthy, hearty and delicious tasting dish. While kale has become a trendy green, touted in recent years because of its many health benefits, families in Portugal have eaten this green for hundreds of years. Caldo Verde is served not only as a simple meal at kitchen tables but also at catered weddings held in elegant surroundings and is regarded by many to be the national dish of Portugal.
As is typical with many traditional dishes, Caldo Verde, which translates to “green broth”, has many variations. In its simplest form, this soup is made with collards which are known as “couve” or kale, potatoes, olive oil, salt and water. In heartier versions, it is cooked with stock and Portuguese sausage such as linguica or chourico. The sausage can be added to the soup or served sliced on the side of the dish.
Caldo Verde, Portuguese Kale Soup
- 1/2 lb. Portuguese chourico or linguica sausage
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil plus additional 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 c. cubed potatoes (2 large)
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 2 c. water
- 3/4 tsp. salt or to taste
- 3/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. or more red pepper flakes
- 4 c. finely chopped kale (thick stems removed)
Cut the sausage in half and set one half aside. Cut the other half into bite size pieces. In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat and brown the sausage pieces. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the additional 2 Tbsp. of oil to the pot, add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, broth, water and seasonings along with the large piece of sausage to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Remove the large piece of sausage to a plate. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1/4 inch slices and keep warm. Blend the soup with a stick blender until smooth. If too thick, thin with a little broth or water. Add the chopped kale and the bite size pieces of sausage to the soup and cook until the kale is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to over cook the kale to retain its bright green color. Taste the soup, adjusting the seasonings, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and place a couple of sausage slices on top and serve.
After enjoying this wonderful soup, I can understand why everyone in Portugal loves Caldo Verde and consider it their national dish. A steaming bowl of this flavorful and hearty soup is perfect for a damp or cold day. Adding the fact that this nourishing soup is made with kale, known for being high in fiber, calcium, and antioxidants and low in calories, I could eat this healthy soup every day. It is a complete meal in a bowl. The only thing you need is a piece of crusty bread to wipe the bowl clean.
While I made this soup with sausage and chicken broth, Caldo Verde can easily be prepared as a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free soup by making easy adjustments. Enjoy!