Caldo Verde: Portuguese kale soup

Caldo Verde
Pao com choriço

Literally meaning, “green soup,” this famous homestyle soup is made with potatoes, sausage, and strung with kale like confetti. Because I found the particular Portuguese sausage “linguica” hard to find, I substituted choriço instead. (Choriço is not the same as Mexican chorizo. Portuguese choriço is dried and fully cooked like dried salami, Mexican chorizo is sold raw and needs to be cooked.) The result was similar enough to make me think I was back in Lisbon.

The first time I had this soup was at a humble spot that was famous for Pao com choriço, the famous sausage buns we had the beach in Sintra. They served this soup with the meat buns. The complete “meal” we ordered came with coffee and a cream dessert, similar to a creme brulee (Portuguese absolute love their cream and eggs). It was a carb fest for sure! I was happy to try this soup and it serves as a meal in itself. The blend of vegetables and choriço make it healthy enough and unctuous enough to please both veg lovers and meat lovers of the group.

This is a soup that is even better the next day. I would recommend it on a cold night. A rich, meaty soup will bring you back to life…by laying you down to bed to rest and re-energize.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 large Russet potatoes, or 6 small yukon gold, peeled, cut into large chunks
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) water or chicken stock
  • 6 oz. choriço, thinly sliced (available at Whole Foods or European markets)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb. kale (dino variety best), rinsed and sliced thin


1. In a medium pot, brown the choriço with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. This should take a couple minutes. Then, set aside to drain on a plate. Remove the oil if you want, but I like to keep it for flavor.

2. Put the onions and garlic directly into the oil and saute for a couple minutes. Then, add the potatoes. Stir, for a couple seconds. Then, add the water. Only add enough water to cover the potatoes by an inch. Reserve remaining water to the side if not needed. Bring water to a boil. Then, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are very tender.

3. In a blender or with an immersion blender, blend the boiled potatoes, onions, and garlic working in batching. Leave a little space to release steam. Add a little of the reserved water if soup is too thick.

4. Place back into the pot and season with salt. Bring to a low simmer. Add the kale and simmer for a couple minutes, or until wilted.

5. Serve soup into bowls with a few slices of choriço on top and a drizzle of remaining olive oil.

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