Here’s a family legend: My grandmother, Angela, ate kale soup every day. If so, it may account for her longevity. She lived to be in her 90s and strong nearly to the end.
Kale soup or caldo verde is a Portuguese staple. It’s not haute cuisine, but the food of working people.
Yes, I know kale has become the darling of high-end restaurants these days. But my family has been eating the green, cooked to smithereens in a tasty soup, well, forever.
My mother, Algerina, made a huge pot of kale soup during the winter, which we ate for days (refrigerated between servings, of course). Because it contained white beans and potatoes, the broth got thicker every meal it was served.
I made kale soup for my family and taught my husband, Hank, how to make it.
I grow kale in my garden at our home in Northern New Mexico because it is a healthy green and to make caldo verde. Kale can withstand the cold, which actually tenderizes it. It is almost November, and I have two patches of kale — curly green and an Italian variety I bought on a whim — going strong.
I have shared this recipe with two community cookbooks and now I give it to you. Like any soup recipe, you can change the ingredients to your liking. I’ve even made it vegetarian. ¡Bom appetite!
Kale Soup or Caldo Verde
Serves 6-8 people
1 pound kale, washed carefully, chopped
2 quarts soup stock
6 ounces chourico pork, turkey or chicken sausage (any spicy sausage), thickly sliced
3 large potatos, cut in chunks
1 can white beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until they are translucent. Add the soup stock, kale, potatoes, sausage, and the can of beans. Bring to a boil, lower, and then simmer an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with minced cilantro. Serve with chunks of good bread.
Optional: Add browned stewing beef; half pound should do it. Or a half cabbage cut into wedges.