Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Caldo Verde - Portuguese Kale & Potato Soup

Round the corner from the office where I worked for a year in Lisbon was a cafe where we bought lunch.  There was a pretty limited menu but if we had time we'd sit down and eat.  And in the winter the main options were simply but filling Caldo Verde or Sopa de Grao (chickpea soup).

Caldo Verde literally means 'hot green', and it certainly is a warming simple soup on a cold soup.  And made in 20 minutes for a matter of pence. 

1 medium floury potato
A handful (about 10) of leafy kale stalks
1 large clove of garlic
1/4 tsp hot paprika
300ml recently boiled water
Salt to season
1 tbsp olive oil

Traditional Caldo Verde is a chunky texture of cubed potato and finely shredded kale.  I, however, liquidise a lot of my soups and this is no exception.  Stopping to think about this,  I have to admit I liquidise almost out of habit, but with this soup in particular I think it adds to the flavour as there is no stock base and stops you dripping boiling hot soup down your front from a sliver of kale.  Oh and if you are sticking to tradition, it should be served with a wafer thin fried slice of chorizo on top.  But I opted for paprika from the cupboard instead,

Roughly chop the potato and garlic.  There is no need to peel the potato if liquidising.

In a saucepan, gently fry the onion and garlic whilst you strip the kale from it's stems.  When stripped, add the kale to the frying onion and garlic together with the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on.  If not liquidising, finely sliver the kale by rolling it up like a cigar and slicing it thinly.

After 20 minutes, liquidise (or not) and add a large pinch of salt to taste.

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