It’s been a week since we got back from Brazil, but it feels like two in terms of baby naps. Sleep training a second time has been rough on Cecilia and on me, but it can be done… right? Tell me it is going to be ok??
On top of that I had a lingering cold, there was work being done on the exterior of our house and this was an ugly, rainy and cold week – I’m almost ready to move to Brazil. Or I may be looking for excuses… Luckily today is my birthday and I get an excuse to pamper myself (with my baby). Can I have the whole weekend?
I desperately need comfort food, and the type that transports me to Brazil (since I’ve never been to Portugal – yet!). So nothing better than caldo verde. This Portuguese classic is simple, nutritious and hearty, the type that warms the soul. Last time I had it was late at night when I was super pregnant, tired and cold, and the comfort was forever engraved in my mind like good food does.
Serve it with a crusty bread or croutons or, better yet, with corn bread. I have my mind set on my friend Jennifer’s super moist Southern style cornbread… (Jen, are you reading this?). Soon.
CALDO VERDE – PORTUGUESE GREEN SOUP
2 tablespoons of olive oil + more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium gold potatoes, diced
6 cups (1,5 liters) of water or half water and half stock of your choice (I used vegetable stock)
1/2 pound (250 grams) of Portuguese chouriço or another type of smoked sausage
1/2 pound/bunch of collard greens (about 8 leaves), deveined and thinly sliced*
salt and pepper to taste (1 used 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
Slice sausages in thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick). In a large pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté sausage slices until slightly brown (about 8 minutes). With a slotted spoon, remove sausages and reserve.
In the same pot, heat the other tablespoon of oil, add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add water/stock, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
Purée the soup in 2 or 3 batches, holding the lid closed with a kitchen towel after removing the lid’s center insert (or you may have an explosion of hot soup!). Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper and bring it back to a boil. Add sausage slices and collard greens, lower the heat and cook for 2 minutes. Divide the caldo verde into individual bowls, drizzle each portion with olive oil and serve hot.
*To slice the collard greens in thin slices: rinse leaves under running water and pat dry. Fold each leaf lengthwise at the stem and cut stalks away using the tip of the knife, or tearing them by hand. Stack leaves on top of each other and roll them together tightly. Using a cutting board and a sharp knife, slice the leaves as thinly as possible.
I like to leave my collard greens in long strings and roll them with a fork onto the spoon like spaghetti if needed. You can avoid that by cutting all the sliced collard greens in half once.
Portuguese sausage is slightly firmer and spicier, a perfect combination for the collard greens and potatoes. I find Portuguese sausage at the local farmer’s market. In this recipe I used smoked polska kielbasa (Polish sausage) to test it and we really liked the result, too.