Caldo Verde

22 Sep

Caldo verde is a hearty soup of Portuguese origin, and usually includes kale, potatoes, and sausage of some type.  It’s a perfect cold weather soup.  Not that it’s cold in Austin, but I love fall and sometimes get ahead of myself by making fall dishes when it’s still hot outside.  Oh well.  Kale is a great winter vegetable I wish more people ate.  It’s literally the most or second most nutrient-dense food on Earth, so be good to your body and eat kale!  I didn’t eat kale up until about 5 years ago.  It may take some getting used to, but it’s such a great vegetable and SO good for you.  Though there are several varieties of kale, my favorite is lacinato, or “dinosaur” kale.  Look at this beautiful leaf:

I used chorizo made of seitan (wheat-based “meat”) for this recipe.  I made the chorizo using a base of wheat gluten and adding chorizo spices and steaming it.  Though not hard to do, I can imagine one not wanting to make their own chorizo seitan.  Field Harvest also makes an excellent wheat-based chorizo.  If you’re a meat eater, you can obviously use an animal sausage, which is used in the traditional dish.  Or, instead of chorizo, you could substitute white beans to provide a similar level of heartiness.

Ingredients

5 or 6 medium red potatoes

1 medium white or yellow onion

2 T olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 vegetable bouillon cube (I used Rapunzel, but Better Than Bouillon organic veggie bouillon is also really good) plus about 5-6 cups of water (you can just add the water with no bouillon too–I do this frequently with soups)

1 tsp thyme

1 bunch of kale

2 links of seitan chorizo or 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Red wine vinegar

Hot sauce

Preparation

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Meanwhile, chop the onion, potatoes, and garlic.  Once the pan is hot enough, add the onions.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, and add the garlic, potatoes, and thyme.  Stir to mix, and then add the water and bouillon.  Turn on high to bring to a boil.  As the potato/onion/garlic mixture heats to a boil, get out a skillet and heat a few tablespoons of oil to brown the chorizo.

Once the potatoes come to a boil, turn the heat down to medium/medium low, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.  While the soup cooks and you keep and eye on the chorizo, wash your kale and chop it into strips.  Once the potatoes are cooked, add the kale, stirring the soup the incorporate the kale.  Only cook for 1 or 2 minutes.  Remove the soup from the stove, adding the salt and pepper.  Mix in the chorizo, and serve with a splash of red (or white) wine vinegar and a bit of hot sauce if you like.

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