Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale and Sausage Soup)

28 May


A few weeks ago, a reader suggested I try my hand at Caldo Verde (“green broth”), a traditional Portuguese soup that is often considered their national dish. It was the perfect recommendation – the soup’s use of simple, satisfying ingredients, plus the addition of slightly-spicy sausage, make it an ideal late spring / early summer meal.

Initially, the soup’s use of kale might seem out of place for a country that is geographically closer to Africa than the rest of Europe. But when you take into context the fact that the soup originates from Portugal’s northern Minho region, which was once under Roman and Celtic occupation and still retains some of that influence today, the culinary presence of a hearty cabbage like collard greens (or kale like in this recipe) makes sense. One of my favorite aspects of this dish is that it’s a perfect pauper’s meal: combine some very basic and always-available ingredients (water, onion, potatoes, cabbage) and add other items if and when they are available (broth, sausage).


Serves four

16oz chorizo or linguica sausage, sliced
1 medium onion, blended
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb kale or collard greens, shredded, stems removed
4 cups each chicken broth and water
salt and pepper to taste

Warm a stock pot or dutch oven on med/low heat, then add the sliced sausage. Brown on both sides, in batches if needed, adding a little olive oil if the sausage sticks to the pot. Once it is browned, set it aside.

Add the blended onion to the pot, and sauté until aromatic, about five minutes. Be sure to gently scrape up the bottom so the browned bits of sausage mix with the onions.

Once the onions are aromatic, add the potatoes, broth, and water. Raise the heat to medium and boil the potatoes until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are soft, blend them with an immersion blender, or mash with a potato masher.

Also, while the potatoes boil, cut up your kale and set it aside.

To finish the soup, add the shredded kale and simmer for one minute, then taste it, adding salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each). Pour the soup into bowls and serve with the sausage. Some people like to drizzle olive oil into the soup, and I think that’s just fine.

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19 Responses to “Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale and Sausage Soup)”

  1. Margo May 28, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    My sister-in-law is from Portugal and I’m always looking for authentic recipes to make when she’s here. Thank you!

  2. Ondina Maria May 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi Russ, what a great recipe from my country and region: I’m from Porto and caldo verde is a soup that we can eat all year around. The only difference I see in yours is that the kale is not chopped very finely – here we basically slice it in very thin strands, like if you were finely julienning the kale (we call it couve-segada). But apart from that is looks wonderful and very close to our recipe. Caldo verde is a must at these time of the year, when we start celebrating the several “popular saints” like St. John or St. Peter, and we normally eat the soup together with chargrilled sardines and green peppers, broa de milho (the portuguese corn bread) or broa de Avintes (a very dense and moist bread typical from the Avintes village, in the outskirts of Porto.

    • Russ Crandall May 30, 2013 at 6:13 am #

      Thanks for sharing! I’ll try it out with more thinly-sliced kale next time :)

  3. ErinK May 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    This looks delicious, and I think my husband would love it. This is probably a silly question, and I’ve tried to google the answer with no results, but what is a “blended onion”? Is is just an onion put through the blender, or is it cooked first, and then put through a blender? Thanks so much!

    • Russ Crandall May 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      Hi Erin, yes, a “blended onion” is my own little quirk in that I prefer to cook with onions that are run through a blender first – similar to onion pastes used prominently in South Asia. I like the texture and it saves me some tears! :)

  4. 76sanfermo May 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    I remember this soup since I visited Portugal some years ago…
    Just delicious,and thanks to your recipe I’ll try il at home!

  5. Cheryl May 30, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve had this visiting Portuguese friends for lunch. I really like the kale, a hearty touch to a soup.

  6. Calliope June 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    I am wondering about your ‘blended onions’ Can you tell me more? are they raw and blended? in a blender? with an immersion blender? cooked first then blended?

    • Calliope June 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      haha i just read the answer, sorry for repeat question cuz im blind LOL

  7. Storm Traveler June 11, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    Hello! Curious if you or others have any suggestions if potatoes are not tolerated.

    Also, bachelor cook wondering about cost -effective & worried about plastics’ potential estrogenic compounds–which blender do you use?

  8. MARCO-DAVID | FOOD July 2, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    Awesome recipe! Brings back many childhood memories for me! Thanks for posting and great blog!

  9. Fei-fei August 29, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    This is the first recipe I’ve tried from your website and I loved it. I may need to buy an immersion blender in the future if I plan on making soup again. I have many of your other recipes bookmarked and I’m looking forward to trying them out as well.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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