Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging #83

Rinku from Cooking in Westchester is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I'll be taking a look at Kale.


Kale is a member of the Brassica Oleracea family and its use dates back to the fourth century BC. It's well known for its anti-oxidant properties and is a good source of Vitamins A, C and K along with Vitamins B6 & E, Folate, Niacin, Pantotheic acid, Riboflavin and Thiamine. It also contains Calcium, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium and Zinc.

The dish I'm making this week has its origins in Portugal - their classic soup called Caldo Verde (Green Soup). There seems to be quite a few variations but at its heart is a base of onions, garlic and potatoes cooked in anything from water to a pork bone stock. Once the potatoes have softened, they are either pureed or roughly mashed before the finely shredded Kale leaf is added.

The soup is so named due to the vibrant green colour of the Kale as it cooks. Once served it's topped with crispy sausage such as Chorizo and eaten with crusty bread.

As the weather begins to cool here, it makes an ideal warming lunch.


Potato and Kale Soup
[Serves 4]

1 large red onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
700 grams potatoes, cut into cubes
150 grams kale, leaves only, shredded
1 chorizo, diced
salt and freshly ground white pepper

Heat olive oil and a small knob of butter in a large pot over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the onion and garlic and sauté slowly so as to soften the onion but not burn the garlic. This should take about 5 minutes but do keep watch and stir often to ensure it doesn't brown too quickly.

Add the cubed potatoes and stir through - cook for a few minutes before covering with water (or stock). Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are soft and starting to fall apart.

While this is happening, slowly sauté the diced chorizo so it renders its fat and becomes wonderfully crisp, then set it aside.

With a potato masher or the back of a spoon roughly smash the potatoes in the pot - chunky or smooth, it's up to you. I've left some larger pieces of potato in this version as a point of contrast.

Keeping the soup on the heat, I add about a third of the cooked chorizo to the pot along with all the shredded Kale. Stir this well and let it continue to simmer until the Kale has softened. At this stage, taste and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. When seasoning, do take in consideration the spice levels of the sausage you are using.

When cooked, pour into bowls and top with a generous quantity of chorizo.


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  1. oh wow...that does look delicious...I might just make it this week even though its supposedly spring here and summer is just "around the corner"...although from the dropping temperatures, its rather hard to believe that

  2. beautiful colors, that chorizo is eye popping. kale is such a great ingredient.

  3. Oh goodness this sounds like a wonderful combination of flavours! Perfect dish for the colder weather too and what a lovely photo. Can I ask if you buy your chorizo anywhere in particular?

  4. Haalo, an excellent soup for winter! I am in soup mood, too...

    I have troubles finding Kale lately (the local grocery mysteriously stops carrying it!).. May I know where I can get this lovely veg?

  5. I am confessing here that I haven't ever cooked or eaten kale. I don't know why not. All winter I looked at it in the store but didn't buy any. I can just tell it would taste good though, and the combination here sounds great.

  6. Hallo,

    Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful soup. I need to try it really soon.


  7. Thanks Nabeela - i hope weather improves for you.

    Thanks Sara - i don't use kale that often but i should use it more.

    Thanks Truffle - it was very sad earlier this year when my favourite chorizo maker closed up shop so I've had to look for a replacement - this is quite a nice one, when you cook it, it oozes out that lovely paprika coloured oil and you can get it in spicy or mild - it's from Delicatess in Prahran Market. If you are close to Casa Iberica in Fitzroy that's a great place to find Spanish goods.

    Thanks Anh - usually I can find Cavolo Nero in the organic shops in Prahran Market - this one is from Ripe The Organic Grocer, they also have lovely rainbow chard and Cavolo Nero.

    Hi Kalyn - i think silverbeet would be a good substitute as it tends to hold it's shape whereas spinach just wilts to nothing.

    Thanks Rinku!

  8. Haalo, thanks for the tips. :)

  9. Along with Francesinhas and Arroz de marisco, Caldo verde is one of the meals I miss the most when at home (well, when I'm not in Portugal). Your version looks very appetising. indeed. I do enjoy a bit of texture in soups, it's a shame the majority of caldo verde you'd come across in Portugal is very smooth. I've never seen chorizo in my bowl before, but I can imagine it would bring something rather wonderful to the soup. Great photo too (as if I need to mention)

  10. Anytime Anh!

    Thanks Trig - to be safe I'd just call this soup Caldo Verdesque, I'm sure the versions change from village to village.

  11. Kale is one of the parts of our feijoada, Haalo - we love it here!

    Caldo verde is very common here too, at least in the South and South-east.

    Your soup looks delicious and perfect for the weather here in São Paulo!

  12. The last and actually the first time I bought Kale was a month ago and I had no idea what to do with it. I hope I had your recipe before. But it's never too late for a good soup.

  13. Thanks Patricia - feijoada is such a classic dish, I'm sure yours must be delicious!

    Thanks Rose - soup is probably one of the best comfort foods out there.


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