The fried sage is strictly optional/extra credit here. While it does add a huge flavor boost and a delicate crunch (not to mention the presentation value), this dish is still delicious without...
After three days of torrential downpour, the road to town nearly washed away yesterday. Finally, last night, temperatures dropped to snow-making lows. Unfortunately, the rain stopped. Arggh! After getting our fire place in working order and splitting a bunch of logs, we were ready to have a nice, wintry day or two of mucking about around the hearth, writing blogs, and catching up on Downton Abbey. All of the rain, cold weather, and slippery stairs must pay off at some point!
Our only consolation: the awesome batch of soup we whipped up. A staple in my father’s winter kitchen and ours, Caldo Verde—a hearty, bright-flavored soup made up of shredded greens, onions, garlic, potatoes, sausage, lemon juice, and good stock—is a snap to make and guaranteed to banish any errant chills from your evening. Five minutes of prep, five minutes of sautéing, twenty minutes to simmer. We have spent twice as much time making soups that don’t taste nearly as good. The potatoes get roughed up near the end, which lends the broth just the right amount of thickness.
Though it is traditional to use Portuguese linguiça, a mildly smoked and spiced fresh sausage, we have used kielbasa, Cajun boudin, andouille, even Spanish chorizo (though any cured sausage will make for a very assertive soup!). Any stock or broth will do, any green too. If you decide on a milder sausage, I recommend mustard greens for the added zip. Of course, good crusty bread warmed in the oven should be within reach.
Heat in a large soup pot over medium-low heat:
11⁄2 tablespoons olive or other vegetable oil
Add and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups Poultry Stock, Chicken Broth, or other light stock or broth (buy it, or make some in under an hour)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Using a potato masher, lightly mash the potatoes in the pot. Heat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat:
(1⁄2 teaspoon vegetable oil)
Add and cook, stirring, until browned:
6 ounces Portuguese linguiça, chorizo, or other smoked sausage, thinly sliced
Add to the pot. Pour 1 cup of the soup into the skillet, scrape up the browned bits, and return the liquid and browned bits to the soup. Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in:
4 cups shredded kale, chard, or collard leaves (from a 6- to 8-ounce bunch), washed and dried
Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice