On a cold, windy evening a meal that just fills your belly isn’t good enough. You need something which will warm it and leave you feeling radiant. Soups usually fill that need for me. I love soups because they are a great way to marry ingredients and stretch what may otherwise seem like meager pickings.
This recipe for Caldo Verde I found in a Good Housekeeping cookbook. I needed a recipe that used the potatoes I had in the cupboard and the beautiful kale I’d pulled out of my garden (which despite the freezing cold is still thriving). Anthony Bourdain on his Travel Channel show No Reservations tried a soup very similar to this when he visited Portugal. Simple, hearty and delicious.
Caldo Verde as per the recipe is great for someone who likes creamy soups, but is on a low fat diet or is lactose intolerant. The onion and garlic give it a lot of flavor and the potatoes make it creamy. According to my 2 year old when she tasted the soup said, “Oh man, so good.”
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (12 oz. approx), diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
8 potatoes, cleaned and diced
2 – 14 oz cans of chicken broth (3 1/2 cups of homemade chicken broth)
3 cups of water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 lb. kale, very thinly sliced (stems and large veins removed), I like to cross cut mine into very small pieces to make it easier for little mouths to handle
Heat the olive oil in a 5 qt. dutch oven (or similar sized pot) over medium heat. Once hot add the onion and garlic. Sautee until golden. Add the diced potatoes, broth, water, salt and pepper and increase the heat. Heat to boiling then reduce to medium and allow to simmer until the potatoes are tender, approx. 15-20 minutes. Lightly mash the potatoes in the broth to make it creamy, yet leaving the potatoes chunky in the soup. Add the sliced kale and allow to cook until tender 8 to 10 minutes.
This soup is so full of flavor you barely notice it is lacking meat. Serve it with cheese of your liking and a piece of warm, crusty bread. If you are a total carnivore 😉 you can sprinkle some cooked crumbled bacon, crumbled spicy sausage or diced ham to the soup just before serving. Conversely, for the vegetarians and vegans out there, just switch out the chicken broth for your favorite vegetable broth.