If all of Portuguese cuisine is this easy to cook, it may find a permanent convert in us!
Caldo verde (green broth) is healthy and perfect for the practical cook. The two of us are usually strapped for time…what with our uncertain gym routine, our addiction to (often) bad television, our brave attempts to read more than one book a year, the weekly upkeep of our prentiousness with the mandatory viewing of atleast one film that requires subtitles, our late-night ramblings about life-love-and-other-sundries…and oh that thing that we call work. So, if we are not whipping out Lean Cuisine for dinner and instead find ourselves actually turning on the stovetop, its a veritable Julia Child moment for us. So, yes, Caldo Verde is damn near brilliant in how well it works for us!
The Portuguese love their Kale. Kale finds its way into their soups, stews, sea-food and meat-dishes. Most recipes call for Kale to be torn instead of chopped. But Caldo Verde requires the kale to be finely chopped. Chiffonade, the art of cutting leafy vegetables into long strips, requires a delicate hand. Just roll the kale leaves into a cigar shaped bundle and then run the knife in thin diagonal stripes to get fine grass-like chopped kale. It’s even easier than I made it sound. Honestly, if I can do it…
The soup is essentially a broth made with pureed onion and potatoes, to which we add the kale and is then topped off, traditionally, with a single slice of linguiça. Linguiça (Portuguese sausage) is easily available in supermarkets. But it can also be substituted with Portuguese chouriço. We recommend that you pick the hot and spicy versions of these sausages. They lend a very welcome kick to the blandness of the broth. And also, feel free to add more than one slice of the sausage to your soup. I daresay the soup requires it.
So, go forth…be lazy! Make some caldo verde. The soup is so healthy and diet-friendly (just cut back on the potatoes like we did,) that you are perfectly entitled to skip the gym the next day. God knows…we did!
Caldo Verde Recipe (serves 2)
Onion – 1 small, chopped
Potato – 1 medium, peeled and chopped
Kale – half a bunch
Linguiça – 1 link sliced into thin rounds
Water – 3 cups
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Add the potato and the onion to the water and bring to a boil. Once cooked (about 10 mins), wait for the mixture to cool down before pureeing in a blender. Add some kale to the pureed broth and cook for about 5 mins till the kale wilts. Add salt as needed and drizzle a lit bit of the olive oil. Serve with a single (or as in our case, many) slice of sausage.