kind of verde February 11, 2009

So far during Soup Week, I've posted some soups that while they are easy…they have some ingredients that may require a special trip to the grocery store or a little additional cash in the weekly grocery run. The beautiful thing about soup is that you can make it with whatever you have on hand in your house. It doesn't have to be fancy and expensive to provide warmth, comfort and nutrition.

For the middle of the week recipe, I'm pairing it down to a mashed up version of a Portuguese soup called Caldo Verde. The literal translation is "green broth", which comes from the handful of collards added to the soup right before serving. The steaming hot broth cooks the greens without rendering them mushy or overcooked. I came across the recipe for it online but wanted to use somethings I had in the kitchen from a recent trip to the farmers market.

The base of the soup is so simple and hearty. A potato-thickened broth that I added some of my own flavoring and seasonings to. While not the traditional recipe – believe it or not the original recipe is more streamlined than this – it holds true to the rustic nature of this classic. Rather than use collard greens, which would be great and certainly the norm, I used some turnip greens. I tend to not cook turnip greens because I've been scarred by years of old school Southern cooking that leaves them…well…a texture that should not be found in nature and cooked till there's nothing left of them. In this case, the chiffonade is placed in the bottom of the bowl and left al dente and delicious in the soup. The entire recipe comes together for less than $10 depending on the cost of your stock and veggies.

Kind of Caldo Verde – serves 4 to 6

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 small cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into even cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. whole coriander, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red chili flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 small batch turnip greens or other dark greens, center ribs removed and cut into ribbons

-  Heat the olive oil in a medium to large stockpot. Add shallots and saute for 4 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute – do not brown the garlic. Combine cut-up potatoes and saute for 10 minutes or until they start to cook slightly. Pour in the stock, water, coriander, red chili flakes and bay leaf . Allow potatoes to cook an additional 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.
– While the potatoes are cooking, rinse and pat dry your turnips. Making sure the tough center rib is removed, roll the leaves into cigar-shaped bundles and thinly cut into shreds. Set aside.
– Remove the bay leaf. You can either puree the broth with an immersion blender or puree it in batches in a food processor or blender, remembering to use caution when blending hot liquids. Taste the broth and salt and pepper, to taste.
– To serve, add a generous handful of the sliced greens to the bottom of your soup bowl. Ladle the hot soup over the greens and serve immediately.


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