caldo verde, Polish-style

Caldo verde — the thick Portuguese soup made with sausage, kale and potatoes — is one of my favorite comfort foods. I’m a kale fiend in general, but it works especially well in this hearty dish that’s almost more like a stew. 

It’s unseasonably warm here in Chicago right now and despite the warm temps yesterday, I found myself set on making caldo verde.

Traditionally the soup is made with linguica, also known as chourico. This spicy sausage is similar to Spanish-style chorizo. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either at the grocery store yesterday and my local meat market is closed on Sundays. Spanish chorizo is smoked and is firmer ; it’s more common here to find the soft Mexican-style chorizo given the large Mexican population here. After wandering aimlessly around the store for awhile and debating whether or not to just put off my soup-making for another day, I decided to try using kielbasa. It’s not exactly the same, but hey, a Polish girl’s gotta do what she can.

I used this recipe from Food&Wine magazine with a few alterations. The recipe called for 1 pound of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes. I used two Russets instead. I also used some organic potato buds to thicken it up a bit, because my blender is currently in storage and I wanted more of a puree. This was probably a little bit too much potato – I’d do more kale instead next time. 

I’ve heard a lot of chefs say that potato buds/flakes are one of their handy little cheats and I definitely agree. I keep them around for occasions like this – they also make a good gluten-free crust/breading for meat or fish. 

I recently made a pot of chicken stock that I froze in an ice cube tray so I threw in a few of the stock cubes as well, to add some extra flavor, along with a few shakes of hot sauce.

The dish turned out surprisingly good, but very filling. I had enough for two helpings last night, lunch today and a portion for the freezer.

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One Response to caldo verde, Polish-style

  1. Looks yummy. My mom also made caldo when I was growing up, but it was more of a chicken-based soup with a clear broth and cabbage, corn cobs and rice. I am also used to the crumbled Mexican-style chorizo, and was very confused the first time I ordered chorizo from El Loco in Albany. I actually made about a million pounds of chorizo with my dad over Christmas.

    I do like kale, so I may have to look into this crazy Portuguese version of caldo.

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