Portuguese Caldo Verde Soup

I just fell victim to yet another “Cook’s Illustrated Moment.” I get these every now and then when I’m flipping through my latest issue of the magazine and see some recipe that really speaks to me. Well, screams at me, actually. Pretty loud, even, although the neighbors haven’t yet called about the noise. These are the moments when I am reeled in by a tasty sounding dish and very quickly realize that I absolutely must make it. Right away.

While I have recently modified the technique I use here, I’m still pretty much following the original Cook’s Illustrated ingredient list. After traveling to Portugal and sampling this soup on a number of occasions, I discovered that I loved the thick, creamy consistency of their version. My adapted recipe reproduces that luscious, silky texture to make this soup better than ever!

I’m even including my Instant Pot version, which tastes just as great but with less time and effort!

Portuguese Caldo Verde Soup
Modified from Cook’s Illustrated, November/December 2013

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 to 10 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼” to ½” slices
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
2 pounds potatoes (use Yukon Gold, russet, or a combination), peeled and cut into ½” pieces
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 pound collard greens, stems removed, cut into 1” pieces

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on each side, about 5 minutes. Remove the chorizo from the pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, broth and water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Use an immersion blender (or a blender, working in batches) to to puree most — or even all — of the potatoes.

Add the collard greens to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, another 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve with a hearty, crusty bread. Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Instant Pot Instructions
Add oil to insert, press Saute and heat oil until shimmering. Add chorizo and brown, as directed above. Remove chorizo; add onion, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes and saute a minute or so. Add broth, water and potatoes and pressure cook on High for 6 minutes. 

Do a Quick Pressure Release and puree until smooth. Add greens and chorizo, press Saute and simmer 10 minutes or until greens and chorizo are tender.

Step by Step Details

Most of the ingredients are pretty easy to find in any supermarket, but the Spanish chorizo might require a visit to a more upscale grocery store, a Spanish foods store or an online site such as La Tienda, The Spanish Table or Jose Andres Foods.

Start by slicing, dicing and measuring everything you’ll need for the first part of the recipe. You can cut the greens later, while the potatoes are cooking.

You can use either Yukon Gold (or another “gold” type) potato or russet/Idaho potatoes, or a combination of the two. Russets contain more starch and will break down and become grainy, but since you’re pureeing it all later, that doesn’t really matter here.

Heat the oil until shimmering and lightly brown the chorizo slices on each side, about 5 minutes. The oil will almost immediately turn red-orange from the spices in the chorizo. This is a good and very tasty phenomenon.

Set the browned chorizo aside; reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, broth and water to the pot. You can use all broth or all water, but I like using a 50/50 blend.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are simmering, prepare the collard greens. To remove the ribs, cut each leaf in half alongside the rib; discard the ribs.

If you promise to be extra super careful, you can try cutting the greens the way I did. I stacked all the half-leaves in a pile, rolled them up into a tube, then cut across the tube into 1” strips. (This is the same technique I use for slicing basil into strips.) Just watch your thumb and that knife. Trust me (see Bloopers Photo #4).

Then coarsely chop the strips into 1” pieces.

After the potatoes have softened, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.

The more you puree the potatoes, the creamier the soup will be. I usually leave a few small pieces of potato. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend the mixture in batches, carefully (it’s hot!), with a blender.

Add the collard greens to the blended mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.

The greens will darken as they soften. Add the chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, another 8 to 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hearty, crusty bread for mopping the bowl clean.

Freeze any leftover soup or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Enjoy!


5 thoughts on “Portuguese Caldo Verde Soup

  1. I did! I made it again last night and did the puree with my immersion blender instead. It was a little more runny, but I may not have measured my broth:potato:oil ratios quite as closely. It still got it thick and smooth, though, with easier cleanup.

    Like

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