Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Caldo verde

You may wonder why I'm posting a soup recipe in July during a heat-wave. Well, if your workplace is anything like mine, it's friggin' freezing within the building year round, so soups and stews are perfectly consumable for lunch.

I budget time into every Sunday to make something for breakfasts (muffins, scones, bars, etc) and at least a few days worth of lunches. Not five days worth, since you've got to live a little, usually three or four. I'm not gonna lie - it can be seriously painful trying to come up with something I think I'll be willing to eat at least 3 days in a row, but I'm slowly developing a good rotation. It's easy to make "good" food decisions when you're starving if your healthy tasty little lunch is right in front of you. As a bonus, it also saves a ridiculous amount of money.

My requirements for lunch are simple: healthy (meaning, balanced - carb, vegetable, and protein all representing), it's got to keep well (no soggy sandwiches), and it has to taste good when I put it in my face. That's it. Often for lunches I make nutritional compromises I wouldn't if I were making it for dinner, since I'm going to be eating it for several meals. In this recipe for example, I used smoked turkey sausage instead of linguica or chorizo in a traditional Portuguese caldo verde and subbed a yam in for one of the potatoes. Of course, neither of these "compromises" make it less tasty, in my opinion - just non-traditional.

Of course, I don't want to cash my whole Sunday working in the kitchen, so the simplicity of preparing soup is a definite boon. Spend ten minutes chopping things, get everything into the pot in some sort of reasonable order, then flop back onto the couch with your wienerdogs to rewind what you missed of Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?. Ah, Sunday.

8 ounces smoked sausage (or linguica, chorizo, whatever sausage you like), diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
~ 6 cups chicken stock (always low sodium, homemade if you have it - my freezer stockpile is getting low, will be time to make a new batch soon)
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 large yam (pumpkin or winter squash would be good too), peeled and diced
1 or 2 bunches dark leafy greens (I used one purchased bunch of kale and a harvest from my ever-prolific Swiss chard), ripped to bite size pieces

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed (lidded) pot, then begin to brown your sausage. Once it's all caramelized, add your onion and garlic and allow to sweat for a few minutes (if you're using an oilier sausage, I'd drain it before I added the onion and garlic). Then add your paprika, let toast for a minute or two, and dump in your chicken stock, potato, and yam. Mmm. I love yams. Yams are awesome. I digress. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover, and allow to bubble softly away until the tubers are cooked, about half an hour. You can't really over-cook them, they just kind of melt and make the broth creamy and thick. At this point, start folding your greens into the soup. Let them wilt all the way in, adjust your liquid level if necessary with additional stock or water, and voila. You are done.

Serves 6. I found one serving a little light for lunch, so I sliced and toasted a baguette for dunking and now it's perfect.


  1. Mega dittos ;D Friggid basement needs warm food in July! This one looks fantastic ~ I'm definitely giving it a try! <3/miss you!

  2. Oh... and our (clearly understocked) Cost Plus does not have any variety of Gunslinger :/ So sad for me! :)

  3. I think yams are awesome also! This looks delish!

  4. My mom has the best sweet potato casserole in the world. Actually, you've had it at one of our basement potlucks!
    Miss you toooo. Stupid Cost Plus! I'll check mine next time I go by to see if they have full sized bottles.