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.

Braised Hearty Greens 2 Ways

November 19, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We loved cooked bitter greens here on the Savory side of Sweet & Savory Kitchens!  Randy grew up with them in Texas – his grandmother always made turnip greens.  I learned about “greens” and how to cook them in Chicago from my friends whose families were from the South.   Some people like to make a pot of greens with one type; I typically make a mix, although if I cook only one, it will be collard greens.  From left to right in the picture are mustard, collard and turnip greens.  The Hmong farmers in Minnesota  (immigrants from Laos after the Vietnamese War) grow the most astounding greens!  Greens are a big part of  Hmong cooking, even though they are of different types than those brought from Africa.  In the South, greens are usually cooked with a smoked or cured meat.  I carry on that tradition, but I also make a vegetarian version of greens which just might be overtaking the ones with meat as our favorite!   And either way, they absolutely must be served with cornbread.  There might be other things on the table, but Southern greens without cornbread . . . well, they just aren’t greens!

This is probably one of those things like chili – there are as many ways to cook greens as there are greens’ cooks!  Here’s my take, but this is definitely something you can modify to your taste.

The Pot Liquor

The basis for really delicious greens is the savory liquid in which they are cooked.  Start with 1 medium onion diced, and 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.  Place a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add a thin coating of vegetable oil and heat until it shimmers.  Add the onion and saute till soft, then add the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until fragrant.  If making with meat, add 1 andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half-moons, at the same time as the onion.  If making vegetarian, add 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, rinsed, seeded and sliced (shown) at the same time as the garlic.  In both ways, add about 2 inches of water to the bottom of the pan.  Simmer for 30 minutes to concentrate the flavors.  You can do this a day or two ahead of cooking the greens.

Preparing and Cooking the Greens

You will want 3 or 4 (or more!) bunches (called “messes” in the South) of greens.  I always start with collard greens as the base and add either mustard or turnip greens (or both!).  Place them in a sink-full of water, then drain.  Do this 1-2 more times to get all the dirt and grit off the greens.  Once you’ve washed the greens, remove the leafy part from the tough stems and discard the stems.  I do this by tearing the greens by hand into about 2-inch X 2-inch pieces.   Many people cut the stems out and slice the leaves, as is described in Francis Lam’s recent article on Sauteed Greens.  Place the greens into the pot with the pot liquor at a boil.  You will have to do this a little at a time because your pot probably won’t hold the entire amount at once.  They will cook down in a minute or two when you can add more greens.

Once you’ve added all your greens and they have cooked down, add a little more water.   I always throw in a couple of dried chile peppers, unless I’ve used the chipotles.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 – 90 minutes to desired doneness.  We do not like our greens boiled down to a mush, so I start tasting at the 45 minute mark.  Check every so often to see if you need to add more water – nothing worse than burnt greens!  If the turnips greens have some nice little turnips on the ends, I’ll peel and dice those and add to the pot with turnip greens.

Cooked greens are something that freeze well.  We always make many batches in the fall when greens are at their peak and then freeze to enjoy all winter.  Pictured are two packs ready for the freezer – the one on the left is vegetarian with turnips and the one on the right is made with andouille sausage.  It’s wonderful when New Year’s Day rolls around and we don’t actually have to cook greens from scratch!