caldo verde: portuguese pork, potato and kale soup

caldo verde
(Portuguese pork, potato and kale soup)
I feel as if I am working with a northern-accented voiceover at the moment: "Day 35 in the Marmaduke Scarlet house. Rachel is in the kitchen making soup again." You get the picture. I am continuing to make soup for my friend Chris. Things seem to be going quite well; Chris seems healthy and he certainly hasn't lost his appetite; well at least not for soup.

Initially I had started my soup kitchen by asking Chris what he wanted to eat. But I quickly learned that Chris is a man of simple tastes. Once he has found something he likes, he likes to stick with it. Much as I appreciated his enjoyment of my seafood chowder and borscht, I was getting bored with making them. I wanted to explore more soups, using different vegetables,

And here's another thing - Chris also has some funny prejudices against certain vegetables, which while he is happy to eat them as say an accompaniment to Sunday lunch, he doesn't think belong in a soup, such as carrots or kale. See what I mean? It's very odd.

I am determined to change his mind about vegetables in soup. Actually I am just not going to tell him and see if he notices . . . or complains.

He doesn't.

This very simple, homely Portuguese soup is packed full of potatoes and kale, with just a little pork, which adds another layer of flavour to the slow simmer. This is simple, peasant food at its best.

Normally I would have used chorizo, but on my first attempt, I actually used a fat, meaty pork chop that needed using. I cut off the fat, rendered this down and used it to fry the onions. Then I diced the meat together with a small rasher of thick-cut bacon and fried it until cooked through before adding it to the soup with a pinch of cumin and some extra smoked paprika. But normally I would go with spiced sausage such as chorizo. Whichever you chose, this soup is another perfect Winter warmer.

This is a soup which would work perfectly with other members of the cruciferous or brassica families. Check out Rupert's fabulous cauliflower version with piri-piri infused oil at his Casa Rosada blog. Full of good ideas!

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 x English onions (about 200g), finely chopped
3-4 x garlic cloves, very finely chopped
4-5 x large potatoes, peeled and diced
300g kale (or savoy cabbage or cavolo nero), finely shredded
1 litre water or stock (plus extra if needed)
a splash of sherry (optional)
1 x bay leaf
half tsp smoked paprika, or to taste (optional)
150g chorizo or linguica, diced or thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Gently fry the onions with a good pinch of salt in about 1 tablespoon of oil over a low to medium heat for 10 minutes, until beginning to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Add water or stock, with the bay leaf and with a splash of sherry and a good pinch of smoked paprika (if using). Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked. It doesn't matter if they disintegrate!
  4. In a separate pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Quickly fry the diced chorizo for a few minutes, until it begins to colour and releases some of its fat and spices. Tip all of this into the soup (including any fat and crusty bits - it all adds extra flavour). Make sure that this is all well-combined before checking the seasoning. Then add the finely shredded kale. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with a little extra olive oil drizzled over and thick chunks of crusty bread.


o cozinheiro este algarve said...

good hearty peasant food.Thank you so much for the mention.

Anonymous said...

Made this the other night and it was a huge hit. All mt menfolk requested that I cook it again - and soon!

Francesto tonqurrr

Anonymous said...

(I'm not really illiterate, by the way.)