janet @ the taste space

Brazilian Potato-Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo (Caldo Verde)

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on November 12, 2010 at 6:01 AM

My cooking escapades have brought me to the emergency department twice. Both times for cutting myself deep enough such that it wouldn’t stop bleeding. If your cut doesn’t stop bleeding with pressure after 15 minutes, you need to get yourself some help.

The first time I cut myself, three years ago, was when I made a similar potato-kale soup. I was chopping my potatoes, sliced and then stacked, when the top one slipped out from underneath and I ended up chopping my finger instead. Sharp knives don’t cut you, dull knives do! And sadly my dull blade made me use a bit too much force. I was in the middle of making a soup, so I put on a makeshift pressure bandage and finished cooking. Thankfully the soup was so easy to make, I could do it single-handed. I was still bleeding nearly an hour later, so begrudgingly, I hiked over to the urgent care center where I got a few stitches.

I thought I learned my lesson about dull blades, so when my parents visited next, I used their sharpener to get some smoking sharp steel.

However, last year, I ended up in emergency yet again. Secondary to dull blades chopping rhubarb for a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Rhubarb can be tough sometimes!  I kept bleeding after 15 minutes, and this time I didn’t bother to finish making my pie before trekking over to the emergency department. I popped my pie dough and filling into the fridge and sat patiently for 4 hours for some glue to heal my cut.

When I returned, I discovered the secret to crispy pie crusts: chilling that dough. This was the same tried-and-true  “Never Fail” pie crust recipe from the back of a Crisco container my mom uses, but she even conceded how much better the crust was this time. So light and flaky.

Three strikes and you’re out, right? Two times, no more!

I knew what my problem was. I love my knives dearly, but since I use them so often I need to keep them sharp.

I figured I would splurge and buy myself a good knife sharpener, the one recommended by America’s Test Kitchens. It may cost $150, but if it saves me another trip to the emergency department, it would be worth it.

I am pleased to report that since then, I have been cut-free. I even tackled this potato kale soup without incident.

But back to this soup: it is a healthy, hearty soup adapted from Viva Vegan.  Caldo verdo literally translates to green soup and kale is a center star in this soup. The potato mashes down into a creamy base and there is a subtlety of flavour from the thyme and oregano. This soup is Portuguese in nature, and Portugese cuisine is very prominent in Brazil as well. It would be a nice, simple soup without the chorizo, but it is downright tasty with the chorizo.  And yes, this soup is still vegan! I used homemade chorizo sausages for a definite flavour boost (recipe here).

This is my submission to this month’s Regional Recipes, featuring dishes from Brazil and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

Brazilian Potato-Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo (Caldo Verde)

2 lbs waxy potatoes (white potatoes contrast nicely with the green from the kale)
3 onions (about 1 lb), diced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2-3/4 lb kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (the recipe calls for 1/2 lb kale, but I used 3/4 lb since I wanted to use up the last of my bunch)
white wine vinegar, to taste
2 tsp olive oil
6 vegan chorizo sausages

1. Clean and remove any eyes from the potatoes, then chop into bite-sized chunks. In a large soup pot, combine the potatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, oregano and water/stock. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to low. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are extremely tender and easy to mash.

2. Turn off the heat and use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break up and lightly mash the potato chunks; leave some chunks intact. Turn on the heat to medium again. Stir in a handful of kale, allowing it to wilt. Adding by handful until all the kale has been added into the soup. Stir and cook until the kale is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add white wine vinegar to taste.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Slice the vegan chorizo sausage in half lengthwise then then into bite-sized pieces. Saute the chorizo until lightly brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.

4. Serve soup with a few pieces of sizzling chorizo on top.

Serves 6+

  1. Homemade vegan sausage? Im looking forward to that one.
    I have some kale in the fridge (and potatoes, and sweet potatoes) deciding which recipe to try!

  2. I’d never ventured very far into Portuguese cuisine until I met my partner, whose family is from the Azores. Caldo verde is now one of my very favourite soups of all (along with the newly discovered sopa Alentejana, from the Alentejo region of Portugal — it’s a good way to use up all your stale bread), and it’s amazing to me that every version tastes so different given the very simple line-up of ingredients. My partner’s mother made hers this summer when the family was up at the cottage for a long weekend, and I love how she chiffondaes her greens into the thinnest, most delicate strips you’ve ever seen. It’s what makes her caldo verde so very special.

    I like your addition of a splash of vinegar — it’s the secret finishing touch in so many soups and stews! I can’t bear the thought of beet borscht without a little splash of red wine vinegar.

    This is wonderful dish that I think should be in everyone’s repertoire, so thanks for sharing it.

  3. WOww, thats a comforting and very inviting bowl of delicious soup..

  4. I love caldo verde! We went on vacation to lisbon last year and I saw that soup on every manu. I was so curious, I had to veganize it as soon as we came home.

  5. […] added them to the Brazilian Potato-Kale Soup and it definitely brought it to the next level. I fishing out the chorizo for each bite. It was […]

  6. I love the smokiness of chorizo and can’t wait to see how you made a vegan version! Much healthier than non-veg chorizo I’m sure. I’ve never cut myself seriously enough to have to go to the hospital but I always have a cooking-related cut or burn somewhere on my body. Even if they’re minor.

    So excited that you’re coming to NYC! If you have time, we should totally meet up! I’ll email you a list of some restaurants that I love. Thanks for such a great Regional Recipes entry!

  7. Loving the soup–kale and potato is a favorite combo and the fact that you made your own vegan chorizo is fantastic. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays! 😉

  8. Oh wow! The pictures look amazing, and reading that recipe is making my mouth water! I have never cooked with Kale before, I read about it in a blog called “capturing happiness” which got me interested … I think I have found a recipe to satiate my curiosity, thanks for the post Saveur!

  9. You are on a roll! I have basically been bookmarking every post you’ve put up this month. All vegan, all soooo delicious! Trader Joe’s carries a vegan chorizo that isn’t made from wheat gluten, so I can even make this gluten-free!! I love kale and as winter approaches it is definitely time to start making soup, so this is a perfectly timed recipe.

    • I am so glad to hear you like the food selection this month. I am loving the vegan dishes, too. If you try them, definitely drop by to tell me they tasted! 🙂

  10. […] I saw this recipe from Saveur I started craving soup. I looked around a bit and also found this one.  Tuscan […]

  11. This looks great… actually all the recipes on your blog do– both wholesome comfort food, and adventurous! 🙂

  12. Hey chica! So sorry about missing this! The linky thing is acting up so I added it myself. Hopefully it will go a lot smoother next time!

  13. Mmm this soup sounds yummy. I like the addition of the chorizo (which at first I thought was some sort of roasted sweet potato.) Happy to hear you survived this soup without getting cut! I need to keep my knife sharp too. I always forget to sharpen it.

  14. […] to buy some kale. I was pining the HUGE $2 bundles of kale. Last year, with one bundle I made Brazilian Potato-Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo (Caldo Verde), Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry, African Pineapple Kale Peanut Stew AND  Cranberry Bean […]

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