This Portuguese kale soup, also known as green soup or caldo verde, is a traditional soup made with potatoes, chouriço sausage, and thinly sliced kale. Hearty, homey, cheap, and comforting as heck.
Loosely adapted from a recipe by John Villa | From personal collection
Caldo Verde ~ Portuguese Green Soup
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces chouriço, linguiça,or Spanish chorizo sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) coins
- 1 large Spanish onion diced
- Kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves sliced; don’t be afraid to go for a third or fourth. The Portuguese love their garlic
- 6 medium potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
- 8 cups cold water or half homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth, and half water
- 1 pound kale or collard greens stems removed, leaves cut into very, very thin slices
- Freshly ground black or white pepper
- In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chouriço and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon remove the sausage to a plate. Try to let the sausage drain well into the pot; its fat will flavor the soup.
- Dump the onions into the pot. Sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Stir in the potatoes, add the water or combination of water and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the soup gently simmers. Cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the soup cool slightly.
- When the caldo verde has cooled a little, purée it using an immersion blender. (Tradition states that one slice and only one slice of chouriço is added to each bowl although some chefs like to add half the sausage to the soup before puréeing. It’s your choice.)
- Add the kale to the soup, bring everything back to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Season with more salt, if needed, and pepper.
- Ladle the caldo verde into bowls and garnish with the remaining slices of chouriço. (The soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Simply warm over low heat before serving.)
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is a hearty, satisfying, and filling soup. It's one of the best soups I've tasted, bursting with flavor and depth. Delicious.
I prepared the full amount of greens as instructed but when I went to add it, I stopped at about halfway. If i had added it all, it would have been more of a "kale with a chorizo sauce" kind of scenario. As it was, using half, was just right. Delicious soup packed with kale. But still a soup.
I used Cavolo Nero. I added 1/4 tsp initially because I wasn't sure how salty the chorizo would taste. I tasted again after I had added the chorizo and added more salt. In total, I added 3/4 tsp maldon salt.
I cooled the soup, refrigerated overnight, and had it the next day for lunch. It was so much better than the day before. The addition of the blended chorizo and letting it rest overnight really did make this into something quite special. Next day, the whole chorizo was still whole and firm but slightly softened by the soup and added more texture, which was very enjoyable.
There was just me eating this and one bowl was enough for lunch. I have put the rest into individual Tupperware and am freezing it. That's another 7 portions so a total of 8 servings.
Kale soup? Caldo Verde? Call it what you will, this soup is hearty and homey and ready in under an hour! In spite of using a very sharp knife and my best kitchen skills, I didn't achieve the thin kale shreds the recipe called for, so the final result wasn't quite as elegant as the photo shows, but that didn't detract from the flavor of the final result.
I used a mild chorizo sausage, Yukon gold potatoes (which I didn't peel as the skins were paper thin), curly kale, and homemade chicken stock. I did add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes at the end of cooking, but I would hold off on the final seasoning until you determine how much heat and salt your sausage is adding to the mix.
Served with a salad and grilled cheese sandwiches, this made a great casual supper.
I added 1/2 the chorizo back to the soup before blending and didn't overprocess the mixture using an immersion blender. Coming across the slices of sausage and a few stray cubes of potatoes are nice little surprises.
This was fantastic. But I think much depends on the quality of your chorizo and stock. I've made it before using polish sausage or keilbasa and boxed stock and it was good but not a 10.
Originally published January 10, 2001