Caldo Verde – Portuguese Kale Soup
Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup with kale, potatoes, and a little chouriço on top. It’s a classic comfort food that makes a delicious weeknight dinner.
I’m really excited to share this Caldo Verde recipe with you 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 this simple dish. It’s served at big events, and on holidays, and you can find it on most Portuguese restaurant menus.
This Portuguese kale soup uses good Portuguese olive oil (my mom says Portuguese olive oil is the best and I couldn’t agree more!), thinly sliced kale, creamy potatoes that thicken the dish, and it’s finished off with a couple of slices of smokey Portuguese chouriço before it is served.
Like my Portuguese Rissóis de Camarão, Queijadas de Leite, and Salada de Grao de Bico, this is a traditional Portuguese recipe passed down to me by my mom and aunts and I’m so happy to share it with you!
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Ingredients You’ll Need
- Potatoes – I suggest a russet or yukon gold potato for this recipe. Do not use red potatoes as they have different flavor.
- Onion – Yellow onions are my preference but you can also use white onions for this.
- Garlic – I’m all about the garlic and I often add extra to mine. Start with what’s listed in the recipe but feel free to add more to taste.
- Olive oil – As I said before I think Portuguese olive oil is the best but of course you can use any type of extra virgin olive oil for this dish.
- Kale – I should note here that I’ve also heard of this soup 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.
- Salt & Pepper – Every good dish needs a little salt and pepper. I like to use kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Chouriço – Portuguese chouriço is a fully cooked smoked sausage that is hard like a salami and can be sliced up and added to a charcuterie board or added to dishes to give them a little extra spice. It is sometimes referred to as linguiça and is often call chorizo here in the USA. Don’t confuse it with Mexican chorizo which is an uncooked ground sausage that sometimes comes in links. If you need to make a substitution the closest thing is a Spanish chorizo which is also smoked.
Step 1 – Create the soup base. Start 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. Bring everything in the pot to a boil and add olive oil (Portuguese olive oil is best!), salt and pepper and then leave it all on to boil until the potatoes are tender.
Step 2 – Prepare the kale. First, thinly sliced some kale. 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.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the kale to it boiling for approximately 5 minutes. Once the kale has cooked drain it really well, give it a good squeeze to remove excess water, and set it to the side.
Step 3 – Prepare the chouriço. Cut the sausage into thin slices then cook. 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.
Step 4 – Mash the potatoes. The boiling potatoes are ready once they are fork tender, the same consistency you’d look for if you were making mashed potatoes. Once the potatoes are tender you use an immersion blender to puree the potatoes right in the pot they were cooked in.
If you don’t have an immersion blender (stick blender) don’t worry you can use a fork or potato masher to mash everything up really well. Many people leave the potatoes in their soup a little chunky but I make mine the way my mom does and she purees it until the soup is pretty smooth.
Step 5 – Serve. Ladle 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. If you’re making a big batch (I always do!) you can add all of the kale and chouriço to the main pot as well.
How to Make It Ahead of Time
This is a great dish to make ahead of time and store for dinners throughout the week or month. Soups freeze really well and this one is no exception.
- Double the recipe for a really big batch and then let it cool completely.
- Portion the cooled soup into single portion containers or several large containers. Make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion as it freezes.
- Place in the freezer and store for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to serve it take it out of the freezer a day or two before you want to use it and place it in the refrigerator to thaw.
To heat it up pour it into a pot and heat over medium heat until it is warmed through. Make sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
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Caldo Verde – Portuguese Kale Soup
- 3 pounds Potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 9 ounces Onion, diced
- 2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
- ⅔ cups Portuguese Olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Salt, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- 12 ounces Kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
- 10 ounces Portuguese 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.