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Marge Whitmore of Leesburg, Virginia, recommends substituting andouille sausage for hard-to-find linguica and adding 2 15-ounce cans of drained and rinsed white kidney beans 5 minutes before adding the greens.

Portuguese Green Soup:
the Real Thing...and a Fancy Version

(Caldo Verde)

Delicate, beautiful, and restorative. How do I know? It was my 50th birthday soup: after waking up to a pouring rain in Castelo da Vide, horribly sick from goat stew, daughter Meg and I made the long, twisting drive to Evora; at day's end, she insisted on buying me birthday dinner in our tiny hotel dining room. Caldo Verde--it was just what the doctor should have ordered. Serve this recipe hot as a first course to 6 people.


Maria do Carmo Torres of Lisboa, Portugal, has been kind enough to contribute the following recipe, in the true spirit of Caldo Verde being a soup of the people:
  • Make a light broth with potatoes, as light as possible.
  • Take dark green cabbage, or kale--in Portugal called "couve galega"--roll the leaves tightly and sliced them as thinly as possible. Scald briefly so they are brilliant green. The cabbage should be abundant to give body to the broth.
  • When ready to serve, add the scalded cabbage to the broth with a little olive oil and let it boil for about 5 minutes, so the olive oil can cook.
  • Serve with slices of the smallest Portuguese pork sausage you can find--each region in Portugal has its own, most of them spiced with paprika (colorau)
Maria, who when not working loves to cook, listen to music and opera, go to the movies, and read (and who admits to being "owned" by a she-cat), says: "this kind of soup is to be eaten in winter. You can see that it serves as a poor peasants' food, with all ingredients coming from the kitchen garden. Along with the caldo, you can also serve corn bread (broa). Bom apetite--have a good meal!"

* * *

  • 1 onion, minced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 6 oz. dry, garlicky sausage (linguica, chorizo, even pepperoni), sliced paper thin
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 lb. collards, kale, or turnip greens, washed, trimmed, rolled up and sliced into extra fine shreds (in a pinch, slightly defrost frozen kale and finely shred it with a sharp knife)
In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in 3 Tablespoons of oil for about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and saute, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Add water, cover, and boil gently over medium heat for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are mushy. Meanwhile, fry the sausage in a skillet over low heat for about 10 minutes, until most of the fat has drained out. Drain well and reserve.

When the potatoes are soft, remove from the heat and either mash them in the pan with a masher or puree them--then add the sausage, salt, and pepper. Return to medium heat, cover, and simmer for 5 more minutes.

When ready to serve, add the shreds of greens and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes--until they are tender and the color of jade. Mix in the last Tablespoon of oil, taste for seasoning, and ladle into large flat soup plates.