Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale and Chorizo Soup)

This classic Portuguese soup is usually made entirely with water (I prefer half chicken stock), potatoes cooked so long that they are almost mashed (I prefer more texture), potatoes cooked so long that they are almost mashed (I prefer more texture), chorizo served wither separately or at the end, and a kind of cabbage not available in the United States. I have mixed it up a bit but the essence remains the same. I have stayed true to tradition only with the kale: It should be cut in very thin strips. Roll each leaf so that it forms a cylinder, then cut through to form ribbon-like strips.

When you look at the ingredients of this rich and garlicky soup it’s hard to imagine that it tastes as good as it does. In fact, before I cooked it I looked at just about every existing recipe to make sure that I had it right. (It is true that some recipes use garlic, some onions, and some other vegetables, but most leave them all out; The result is an absolutely wonderful soup) It improves overnight so have patience; the wait it worth it.

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale and Chorizo Soup)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: About 10 cups
  • 8 to 10 ounces chorizo, diced or halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ to 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ½ bunch kale, thick stems discarded, leaves very thinly sliced (about 4 to 5 cups)
  1. Place a stockpot over medium heat and, when it is hot, add the chorizo and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, water, and stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until the potatoes fall apart, about 25 minutes. Add the kale and cook for 5 minutes. Using a whisk, gently mash down half the potatoes, to break them into smaller chunks.
  2. Serve immediately, or transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days.