Soups The Book

112. Portugese Kale Soup with Chorizo (Caldo Verde) p.109

The recipe on epicurious calls this Tuscan kale soup. Tuscany and Portugal aren’t next door to one another, and their food traditions aren’t all that similar, but I’m willing to forgive The Book. In exchange I’ll ask you to forgive me for not using kale at all. Normally my grocery store is overflowing with kale to be bought up by chic urban moms, who only wear clothes by designers who don’t go past size four. This season’s infatuation with the skinny jean must have caused a run on kale, and left none for me. I had my heart set on this soup, and decided I didn’t feel bad at all about subbing in rapini. They’re not particularly close cousins in the plant world, but they’re both bitter greens, and both great in soup.

I still can’t get over how delicious this soup was. There’s absolutely nothing to it, you start by softening some onions in olive oil, then add sliced potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Water is added, and the potatoes are left to cook. Meanwhile the chorizo is browned up in a pan. When the potatoes are done they’re mashed a bit, and the chorizo and “kale” are added in. It’s left to cook for a few more minutes, and that’s it. A huge amount of the flavour comes from the chorizo, so make sure to buy the good stuff.

Montreal has a thriving Portuguese community, and the chouriço sausage that is traditionally used in this dish is practically easier to find than the Spanish chorizo. I had to go out of my way to get the non-traditional ingredient, which The Book called for in an attempt to make my life easier. Sometimes this project is weird.

The flavours here were just perfect, with the rapini and sausage dominating. The spiciness and richness of the chorizo contrasted with the clean bitter flavours of the rapini. The potatoes thickened the soup and added a lovely earthy undertone. It was a very restrained dish, with clean individual flavours that just worked. I ate a gigantic bowl without stopping to breathe, and went back for seconds. I’m not normally a huge soup person, but I can’t wait to make this one again.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

6 replies on “112. Portugese Kale Soup with Chorizo (Caldo Verde) p.109”

Ah, I love reading your recipe reviews… there’s always some little side note that just really tickles me. (Today: the mental image of skinny moms searching for just the right kale…)

Your review was so glowing (and my love of chorizo so large) that I went straight out to buy the ingredients to make this. I concur that it is super-delicious. Thanks!

I popped my kale cherry on this one, actually. My Provigo when I lived in Montreal was pretty atrocious for leafy greens so I tended to avoid recipes that included them unless it was a special occasion (or I subbed spinach, which Provigo had reliably).

But the kale worked well. It retained a nice crunch and the flavour was pretty subtle, so I got to taste more of the chorizo that I love so much. On the other hand, Adrienne isn’t crazy about rapini, so if I’d used that I wouldn’t have to be fighting her for the leftovers…

The image of your kale cherry has been bothering me all day. I look forward to trying it out with the kale.

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