veggiesapiens (veggiesapiens) wrote in vegancooking,

Potatoes 'n' Greens Soup (“Caldo verde”)

Potatoes 'n' Greens Soup (“Caldo verde”)

This is the “national soup” of Portugal and also extremely popular in Brazil. The name means “Green Broth”.

It’s basically just potatoes and chopped greens (“couve” in Portuguese).

This is extremely simple to make, and sounds like it would be nothing special, but somehow it winds up being a great “comfort food”.
Try it – you’ll like it.

For a big pot o' soup –

- Half a dozen or eight medium to big potatoes
- A bunch or two of fresh greens (collard greens or “couve” greens – see comments below)

- Cloves of garlic, chopped (if desired)
- An onion or two, chopped medium-fine (if desired)
- Olive oil for sauteing (if you’re using garlic or onions)
- Salt as desired

Peel and boil (or boil and peel) potatoes. (Or don’t peel them if you don’t want to -- I don’t, but everybody thinks my version is a little odd.) Mash with a masher or put through a ricer.

Shred greens – the usual recommendation is to shred “very thinly”. Discard any parts of the stalks that are very coarse. Couve leaves can be six or eight inches wide and a foot long. Brazilians stack the leaves, roll up like a newspaper, and slice like you’re slicing a cucumber. I find that you also need to also cut the shreds into shorter pieces, since shreds six inches long aren’t very graceful to eat. (You’ll wind up looking like this :-) - ).

In a big soup pot

Sautee garlic and/or onion. Add the greens and a splash of water, cover and cook over medium flame for a few minutes until they’re wilted. The greens are going to cook down in volume, but they start out being pretty voluminous – you may have to add in batches.

Add a couple more cups of water, stir in the mashed potatoes, then add and stir in enough water to make “a pot of soup”. A dash of black pepper if you like. Simmer over a low flame for half an hour or as necessary until thickened and greens are cooked. (You can leave it simmering over a low flame all day.) Salt to taste.

Traditionally, people drizzle a little olive oil onto theirs at the table.

Good hot, good cold, good lukewarm, good the next day (store in the fridge).

- A note on the greens -

In Portugal and Brazil, the greens are something called “couve”, which I have seen translated as both “kale” and “collards”. As I understand it, it’s a member of the Acephala Group of the species Brassica oleracea, which includes kale and collards, and it is basically a matter of opinion which member of the group is which.

Brazilian couve looks like the large, oval “Collard Greens” on the right in this photo, and doesn’t have any spicy or bitter taste. The leaves are as big as your hand, or bigger. (The “conventional” kale that I’ve eaten might be too bitter to work in this recipe.)

I’ve also seen recipes for Caldo Verde using cabbage as the “greens”.

I’d also be willing to make this with Asian greens, and I’d think that spinach would also work well.

* (Caution: Traditional versions of Caldo Verde are apt to include non-veggie ingredients - Ask before you eat.) *

- x-posted -
Tags: ethnic food-brazilian, ethnic food-portuguese, greens-collards, greens-kale, soups-greens, soups-potato, vegetables-potatoes
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