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).
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.