Caldo Verde: Portuguese Bean and Kale Soup

Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde, Portuguese bean and kale soup, translates to “green broth.” It is the Portuguese counterpart to Italian Zuppa Toscana. The ingredients include cured pork sausage such as chorizo or linguica, bitter greens such as collard greens or kale, and potatoes.  Portuguese bean and kale soup is a hearty comfort food historically made in homes all over the world beyond Portugal where there are large communities of Portuguese migrants.

Many variations of this popular Portuguese soup exists thanks to passed down regional recipes that are now family cooking traditions. Some families use kale, while others use collard or mustard greens to add a bit of bitter to the soup. Most recipes include Portuguese cured sausage with a strong garlic flavor called Chouriço. I used a local smoked pork sausage.

To make caldo verde, onions and garlic are first sautéed in a deep pot in olive oil.  Then sliced potatoes and kale or other bitter greens are added to the mix. The stock and sherry are added and then the soup is cooked until the potatoes are tender. If you do not have dry sherry, you can use a dry white wine.

The caldo verde is seasoned with salt and pepper and smoked paprika. Make sure that you use smoked paprika rather than regular paprika. A little lemon zest will add to the acidic ingredients which will result in emphasizing all of the flavors.

The precooked or canned beans and the sausage are added at the end. The soup also calls for a touch of cream to be added at the end. This ingredient is optional.

In Portugal the soup is served with a Portuguese corn bread or rye bread for dipping. Caldo verde is typically consumed during Portuguese celebrations, such as weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations. The soup is sometimes consumed before a main course meal or as a late supper and is traditionally served in a tigela, a traditional earthenware bowl.



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