Caldo Verde is somewhat similar to a soup I made awhile back called Caldo Gallego. Both hail from similar parts of Europe and are decidedly inexpensive, peasants soups. Both feature dried chorizo prominently, which leaks its richly red oil into the soup's broth for color and flavor. Yet one—the Gallego—I loved. This one, not nearly as much. What was the problem?
Usually recipes from River Cottage are reliable, but this one disappointed me. Since making it, I've started reading more about Caldo Verde and realized that kale or turnip greens, or something equally wintry and hardy, is an essential element to the dish. My recipe called for cabbage, which failed to impart not only the appropriate flavor, but also the green color that gives it its name. Green cabbage is not actually verde once cooked, which led to the yellow soup I ended up with.
It still tasted good—nothing with pieces of chorizo could be bad—but it wasn't the sort of result you'd call a national dish. I'm still on the lookout for a good recipe. Next time I'll probably try the version from Leite's Culinaria.
About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stick celery, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- Half a medium green cabbage (about 1 pound), cored and sliced very thinly
- 4 to 6 thick pieces of dried chorizo sausage
In a large pot or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, along with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the potatoes along with 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Transfer the soup to blender to puree, or use a stick blender or a food mill. Add the cabbage to the soup and simmer until tender. Taste for seasoning.
Ladle into bowls, top with sliced chorizo and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve.