Posh Caldo Verde (rich kale broth soup with chorizo and chilli About 15 years ago, I helped a friend of mine sell veg from his nursery. Shifting vegetables back then, especially unusual ones, was hard work. Kale, despite its wonderful taste and indigenousness, was alien to most people ('kale? what's it like?' 'well it's sort of like chard' 'what's chard?'). Then we tried selling it by the Italian name, cavolo nero, and we couldn't shift enough of it. It was then that a customer first mentioned caldo verde to me. Traditionally this was a humble soup for farm workers. Nowadays, cuts of meat or sausage (usually chorizo) are added to the soup to give it a little oomph, but ideally it should be nothing more than garlic, potatoes and kale. With the bone broth however, I think it turns in to a real show stopper. It can also be a handy way to use up any other veg you have lying around. It's really quite simple, and ready to eat in under an hour. Kale is what really makes the dish, you'll find shredded kale in most shops these days, but ideally you want what the Portuguese use, a thick black kale which is super tasty. For chorizo, an authentic Iberian sausage is best, but if not a regular supermarket one will do- when cooked in the soup I find even the naffest chorizo turns tender and tasty.
Serves: 4 people
Time: 50-60 minutes
* indicates optional ingredients
400g kale cut into strips with the thickest parts of the stalk taken out
1 large onion sliced into small pieces
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed under a knife and cut finely
600g of potatoes cut into small cubes (a potato good for mashing- desiree or maris piper)
Half a teaspoon of paprika
Salt and pep
Small amount of crushed chili or chilli flakes, just to add a little heat (optional)
100-150 grams of chorizo (optional)- rather than cut it into coins I prefer to tear it off into pieces, especially if you're using a cheaper one, as I find thicker cuts can make a nasty squeaking sound on your teeth when you bite into them
Chopped parsley (optional)
Any other veg cut into small pieces- green beans, broccoli, carrots, chard, brassicas etc (optional)
In a large pan, fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes till soft and slightly translucent. Add any other veg you may have, and fry for a few minutes till soft.
For the chorizo, I prefer to fry in a separate pan first, just lightly so some of the oil comes out, then add to the pan without the oil. If you're going to eat a dangerous carcinogen you might as well try and make it a little healthier! If you have no care for bowels just add the chorizo straight in and fry the veg in all that lovely chorizo oil.
Fry this again for a few minutes and add the paprika and chili. Now add the water and stir in the chicken broth. Cook for ten minutes then drop in the kale and season to bring out the flavours.
Cook on a low heat for another 20-30 minutes, if it starts getting too thick add a little water, but don't water it down too much, you want the stock to be as rich as possible (the beauty of the bone broth is you don't need to cook it for as long as it has already done all the hard work for you).
Once it has finished and turned into a lovely rich stock, bash the potatoes around a bit so little bits of potato swirl around in the soup which gives it a slightly creamy richer texture. Add a handful of chopped parsley (optional) and season a little more if required.
Enjoy with some crusty bread and a lovely bottle of vino and a side of mates.