Caldo Verde - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

A soup similar to this was posted by a bunch of people on Pinterest recently, which I made and liked a lot. Then Aunt Suzy emailed me this recipe, which was very similar but looked better. Instead of using cream to make it a creamy soup, you puree some of the potatoes, which I like better. I waited a few weeks to try this one out so that we didn’t over do the potato-greens-sausage soup around here, and I’m so glad I got around to making this! It is fantastic…blows the other soup out of the soup pot. Ha! And my husband, Jason, raved about it as well, claiming it to have the “best broth ever.” He’s really good about complimenting my cooking, but this was more emotion than he usually shows about food. So I put this one in the “win” column and will be definitely making it again!

I think that you can switch out different kinds of greens/sausage/potatoes to suit your likes. I made it with spicy Italian sausage because that’s what I had on hand, instead of the chorizo. Next time I’ll make it with the chorizo probably, but the spicy Italian was still good. I prefer Yukon gold potatoes, but russet would be fine, too. And as for the greens, I would stick with tougher, bitter greens like collard, or any type of kale. I don’t think spinach or chard would hold up as well. The main thing that made this soup stand out to me was the process of taking out part of the potatoes and pureeing them to make the broth thick and creamy.

Aunt Suzy says..

As Margaux mentioned, our initial foray into the greens/potato/sausage soup arena was a recipe we saw on Pinterest that we both made exactly according to the recipe, me with chicken and Margaux with pork sausage.  Then my guy Randy shared this recipe with us from Cook’s Illustrated, which we tried shortly thereafter. I’ve made the Pinterest one with regular kale and unpeeled russets and another time with Lacinato kale, unpeeled Yukon Golds and fully cooked Italian sausage from Trader Joe’s. And then I’ve made this recipe exactly as specified.  All are really good, but I think this one is the winner.  Pureeing some of the potatoes with olive oil creates an emulsion that makes for a very silky texture without dairy. Today, I’ve made one of our favorite stewsand Randy asked me if it included sausage – hehe, guess we’ve had enough sausage around here for a while.

Caldo Verde
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients

¼ cup EV olive oil

12 ounces Spanish-style chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (fully cooked, not fresh Mexican)

1 medium onion, chopped fine

4 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

4 cups chicken stock or broth

4 cups water

1 pound collard greens, stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, optional

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion. Cook for a few minutes till translucent. Add the garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, another 3 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, and water; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove 3/4 cup solids and 3/4 cup broth to a bowl or measuring cup.  Set aside. Add collard greens to pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in chorizo and continue to simmer until greens are tender, 8 to 10 minutes longer.

Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil to solids/broth mixture that was set aside. Place in blender jar (or use immersion blender) and process until very smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat and stir pureed soup mixture and vinegar, if using, into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (Soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Cook’s Notes: If you live near a Whole Foods, Amylu Chicken Chorizo in a 9-ounce package works really well with this and the 9-ounces seemed like enough.  You can try with or without the vinegar. AS didn’t use it and Margaux did.

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Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe in Bon Appetit caught my eye for a number of reasons.  I love, love, love cooked bitter greens for one, as you know if you read this blog regularly!  I imagined that it would be delicious as it’s a cousin to another stew recipe we’ve posted with white beans and Swiss chard.  I’ve also been looking for things to do with the smoked paprika I have on the shelf, and I just ordered something called Pirate’s Bite, a combination of dried hot peppers, spices and salt (from The Spice and Tea Exchange).  Lastly, I’ve vowed to eat a vegetarian diet for a few of weeks after coming off a couple of months of rich food.  So this dish fit the bill in a number of ways!  And like the stew with chard, it is a snap to make.

2-3 bunches of mixed winter greens (collard, mustard or kale)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, small dice

2-4 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice (or one large)

2 cups liquid (water or vegetable stock)

2 14-ounce cans cooked cannellini or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes or 2-3 grinds of Pirate’s Bite (optional for heat)

Grated hard cheese for serving (such as Parmigiano, aged Manchego or Pecorino Romano), optional

Prepare the greens by washing thoroughly, removing the tough inner stems and coarsely chopping in 2-inch pieces.  I used a combination of all 3 greens – 1 bunch each – which added up to about 25 cups!  Don’t be alarmed by this amount since they cook down dramatically. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with the olive oil and heat to medium-high.  Add the onion and saute till soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more.  Add the smoked paprika and saute for about a minute.  Add the tomatoes, their juices and the liquid.  Stir in the greens a little at a time until wilted.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the greens are tender but not mushy.

Add the beans and chili flakes or Pirate’s Bite.  Add more liquid if you want a brothier stew.  Stir to blend and heat through.  Serve in bowls and pass the cheese.  (I thought this was delicious without the cheese, but try for yourself and decide.) Addendum Oct 9, 2011:  I’m busy stocking my freezer this year for the winter and think this is a good candidate.  I have frozen a couple of batches of this recipe without the beans, with the idea that I will add them when reheating.