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Recipes Soup Caldo Verde
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Written by Zen Baker   
Monday, 03 March 2008 00:00

caldo verde

A weekend trip to the farmer's market yielded a beautiful bunch of organic collard greens and some fresh handmade chorizo sausage; the perfect inspiration for Caldo Verde, Portuguese greens soup. I grew up eating this soup, made wonderfully by my Portuguese aunt.

Caldo Verde has become the symbol of Portuguese cuisine and is usually served at festivities. The flavor is complex and balanced. The fresh greens are complimented nicely by the rich flavor of chorizo and brightened by the fresh lemon juice added late in preparation to retain its liveliness. Traditionally served before an entree, our version becomes a complete meal through the addition of white beans and amaranth.

Amaranth, the super-grain of the Aztecs, is rich in protein and is not deficient in lysine as many grains are. It is also remarkably high in calcium, magnesium, and iron. In spite of its rich nutritional content amaranth is not widely consumed, probably because it has a somewhat gelatinous texture when cooked alone. This quality makes it ideal when added to a hearty soup or stew as it will thicken a broth without altering the flavor. It is mostly imperceptible, while adding significant nutritional value.

This recipe creates a hearty home-style soup that you will find yourself longing for. It is delicious old world comfort food, with a contemporary nutritional twist.

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Greens Soup)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces sausage, preferably Portuguese linguiça, or chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pound collard greens or kale, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon slices to garnish (optional)

Preparation:

  1. In a large stock pot, heat 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 8 minutes. Do not allow to brown.
  2. Add 7 cups of water, chicken broth, potatoes, amaranth, kosher salt, and black pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. While potatoes are simmering, in a medium pot heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over a medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned.
  4. At the end of the 20 minute simmer of the soup, mash the potatoes in the pot. Add the cooked sausage and white beans to the soup pot.
  5. Pour 1 cup of the soup liquid into the sausage pot to loosen the browned bits. Return the soup liquid to the soup pot.
  6. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes. Add the collard greens and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp lemon juice.
  7. Optionally garnish with lemon slices.

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