Caldo Verde – Portuguese Potato and Kale Soup
Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup recipe made with potatoes and kale with a little chouriço on top.
I’m really excited about today’s Caldo Verde recipe because it is one of my favorite Portuguese soups. You know how Americans associate chicken noodle soup with warm and cozy comfort food? Well that’s how Portuguese people feel about Caldo Verde. It’s served at big events, and on holidays, and you can find it on most Portuguese restaurant menus. Caldo Verde is made with potatoes, good Portuguese olive oil (my mom says Portuguese olive oil is the best and I couldn’t agree more!), and thinly sliced kale that is dropped into the soup along with a couple of slices of smokey Portuguese chouriço before it is served. Seriously guys, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
My mom makes the best Caldo Verde soup so I had her come over one afternoon so I could watch her make it. She started by adding peeled and cut potatoes, chopped onions, and garlic to a large stock pot and covering them with 3.5 quarts of cold water. She brought everything in the pot to a boil and added Portuguese olive oil, salt and pepper then she left it all on to boil until the potatoes were tender.
While the potatoes cooked she brought a small pot of water to a boil and thinly sliced some kale. I should note here that I’ve also heard of Caldo Verde being made with turnip greens. We have always used kale. Kale comes in different varieties and we use lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale. It has flatter leaves than curly leaf kale but you can use either variety. It is really important to remove the stems and very thinly slice the kale. It’s so much more tender that way and easy to scoop up in a spoon as you enjoy your soup. Once the kale has cooked, it only takes about 5 minutes, you drain it really well and set it to the side.
Then comes the chouriço. You can boil it, which is what my mom usually does, but I like to saute it in a pan to get it a little crispy. I think the salty, smoky, bits of chouriço are my favorite part of the soup! Set the chouriço slices to the side to add to the soup at the end.
Once the potatoes are tender you use an immersion blender to puree the potatoes right in the pot they were cooked in. Some people leave it a little chunky but my mom always purees it until the soup is pretty smooth. Then you get a ladle and pour the soup into bowls adding the kale and a few pieces of chouriço ( I add more so I can get a little in each bite!!) to each bowl right before serving.
- 3 lbs. Potatoes, ,peeled and cut into large pieces
- 9 oz. Onion, ,chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, ,chopped
- ⅔ c. Portuguese Olive oil
- 2 tsp. Salt, ,more to taste
- ¼ tsp. Pepper
- 12 oz. Kale, ,stems removed and thinly sliced
- 10 oz. Chourico, ,sliced
- Place potatoes, onions, and garlic together in a large pot with 3.5 quarts cold water.
- Bring the water to a boil and add olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Continue to boil until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking bring a second, smaller, pot of water to a boil. Add thinly sliced kale and boil for 5 minutes.
- Drain kale really well and set to the side.
- In a skillet lightly saute chouriço.
- Once potatoes are tender puree until smooth.
- Ladle potato soup into bowl and add kale and 1-2 slices of chouriço before serving.
A big bowl of warm Caldo Verde brings back so many good memories for me. It is the ultimate Portuguese comfort food!
Looking for more amazing Portuguese recipes? Try these!